Retail signage: What to do


In the advertising world, a commonly quoted statistic is that you have only a few second to capture a customer’s attention (some say you have just two seconds; some say up to five). A common strategy that retailers use to do this is signage. Retail signage is an incredibly affordable way to advertise products and it works, if you know advertising best practices.

We’ve previously written a list of “don’ts” for retail signage, but what should you do instead? Check this list of six corresponding “do’s” to help you create signage for your business that ensures success.

Do consider location

One of the biggest key to the success of your retail signs is where you place them. Keeping your signs near areas of your store with the highest traffic ensures that they will be seen. Also important: placing your signs in brightly lit areas and at eye level for easy reading.

Do use a legible font

Using signs is a futile if customers cannot read what they say. Legibility in advertising is essential. Keeping the words on your sign large and in an easy-to-read font, such as Helvetica or Gotham. This isn’t to say you can’t have fun; fonts such as Museo and Dharma Gothic are eye catching and unusual but still easy to read.

Do keep things short and simple

Less is more is a commonly used phrase in advertising—and for good reason! Attention spans are short. Customers are more likely to read and easily comprehend a clear, concise sign rather than one with many words. Best practice for retail signage includes keeping reading time to 5 seconds or less and avoiding full sentences and unnecessary words.

Do use calls to action

The copy of a successful retail sign should follow this message formula: headline, explanatory text, call to action. Once you’ve caught the customer’s attention with your sign and explained your product, give them the instruction on what to do next. Even a phrase as simple as “Buy now!” gets the message across,

Do use color

The primary purpose of your signs, whether sale sings or not, is to catch the customer’s attention. Black text on neutral paper doesn’t stand out among your products. If you’d rather keep your sign colors neutral, try using colored text. Alternately, print black or white letters on brightly colored paper. We’ve written more about the importance of color in retail signs here.

Do speak directly to the customer

Using the words “you” or “yours” helps customers envision themselves buying and using your product. Strong, direct language not only catches their eye but begins this process of visualization.

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