How Retail Signage Works: The Ultimate Guide for 2022 (2023)

retail signageis the oldest form of marketing communication.

show evidencethat in ancient times signs were a primary form of communication by merchants in areas such as Babylon, Egypt, Athens, Pompeii and Rome. Signs were used to identify a business, advertise prices, and differentiate businesses from their competitors.

If you want to run a successful retail business that attracts customers and increases sales, you need to stand out - and that usually starts with the signage.

Quality signage is a simple and effective way to increase foot traffic and communicate with your customers when designing your store.

However, if done incorrectly, signage can lead to sensory overload and even confusion. The signage in your brick-and-mortar store is just as important as the design of your website, and retail signage shouldn't be an afterthought.

This guide will walk you through the basics of business signage, different types of signage, and tips for creating signage for your business.

Table of Contents

  • What is retail signage?
  • The purpose of store signage
  • Benefits of retail signage
  • Types of retail signage
  • Best practices for your retail signage
  • Use the signage in your retail store

What is retail signage?

Business signage is any type of graphic display that conveys a message to a target audience. It is the most effective and inexpensive form of advertising for a small business. Signage includes outdoor signs, window displays, informational signage, digital signage and more.

Business signage is the first point of real-world interaction between a business and its potential customers. A sign, whether outside or inside your store, can improve brand recall and encourage people to visit your store.

CorrespondingSignage Foundation researchSignage has a significant positive impact on sales, with over 60% of businesses reporting a 10% increase in sales by adding or updating their signs.

Signs come in all shapes and sizes. Most small businesses have either a wall sign or a pole sign. Regardless, the best signs present customers with clear, concise, and on-brand messages.

Given the commercial importance of store signage, it's clear you'll want to use it in your retail store.

The purpose of store signage

There are three main purposes for using signage: advertising and marketing, attracting customers and walk-in customers, and guiding customers around the store.

advertising and marketing

Signs are often used for advertising and marketing purposes. Billboards are the most common type of sign. These large-scale outdoor displays usually get a lot of foot traffic and attention, with over82% of US consumersNotice billboards as they drive through their city.

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There are other signs used for advertising and branding such as building and vehicle wraps.

Turn store visits into sales

With Shopify's mobile POS, you can serve customers anywhere in your store and eliminate checkout lines. Use any smartphone or tablet to process returns and exchanges, accept payments, and verify customers wherever they are.

Signage plays an important role in how customers remember and perceive your brand. Attractive signs can make a lasting impression and encourage shoppers to visit your store. It helps communicate what products and services you offer and gives people an idea of ​​what to expect from your business.


Attracting customers and walk-in customers

Retail and store signs are the easiest way to attract shoppers and help them find your store. according to a 61% of US consumers failed to find a business because their sign was too small or unclearSign Research Foundation (SRF) Report

Consumers learn and assume all sorts of things about your business from the signage. Your outdoor signage works with window displays to generate curiosity and encourage customers to come inside.

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Signs also remind people that they are in the right place. If the sign is of high quality, it makes a great first impression before a customer opens the door and is greeted by your staff.

guide customers in the business

Thinking about the last time you were at a major airport, how did you manage to find your way from security to your gate? Was it easy? If so, that was the result of good “wayfinding”.

Retail signposting refers to how businesses use visual graphics, tactile surfaces and audio communication to help shoppers find what they are looking for. These signs help customers navigate your area and avoid getting lost, resulting in a better shopping experience.

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Visual Merchandisingis a core retail discipline signing support. Companies can create topicsProduct displaysto encourage visitors to enter the store, and then use signage to help customers find their way easily.

Depending on the size of your store, you can use signs to visually divide your store into components, by clothing type, brand, or category.

Learn more:The ultimate guide to retail store design

Benefits of retail signage

There are several benefits that retail signage can bring to your business.

Inexpensive marketing tool

A sign helps consumers know your business exists. Signage grabs the attention of potential customers and can help you get noticed. It's part of your branding and a fundamental way to influence your bottom line.

Outdoor signs can help shoppers find your business and promote new products. They also help a business communicate with potential customers passing through their area of ​​business. If someone also discovers your brand on social media and then finds you in real life, consistent signage can help make it easier for them to find you.

Signs can hang at about eye level or run down the side of a store front. For small businesses, signs will indicate your location if you are near many large businesses. Sometimes you can't outperform corporate retailers, but you can use a sign to establish your place and be found.

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Free Download: From Clicks to Customers: How to Measure the Marketing Success of Your Retail Business

Every marketing campaign is an investment of your time, energy and money. Do you sometimes wonder if your efforts were worth it? Read this guide and create a framework to plan, track, and measure the success of retail marketing campaigns.

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communication with customers

Signs are the most important elements of visual communication. Think about your last trip on the freeway: what got you from A to B? If your answer are characters (andGoogle Maps), You're right. Similarly, business signage communicates with customers and helps them get where they need to go.

In-store signs can accomplish a number of things:

  • Help people navigate through your shop
  • Help shoppers find the products they're looking for
  • Encourage impulse sales
  • Help influence shopping behavior
  • Promoting sales and promotions

When a customer buys something, they have to make a decision. You need to find out the stopping potential of your business instead of looking for other opportunities. They make these decisions based on the signage you present to them. so much that34%of shoppers associate sign quality with store and product quality, and 29% of shoppers make decisions based on information conveyed by store signs.

Well-designed and properly placed signs can help a business communicate with buyers and generate sales.

Increased sale

A sign message usually deals with (1) the brand and (2) the types and prices of the items for sale and provides the most important information a customer is looking for. Signs must effectively communicate this coveted information, which can reduce the number of customerssearch costs– the time and energy expended in searching for a product or service to purchase.

If your signs don't provide this information, they won't help customers in their search for a useful product or service. That's why60% of companiesreported average sales of 10% or more by adding or updating their signs. Additionally, digital signage can increase average purchases by 29.5%Research compiled by Mvix.

PROFITIPP:Want to measure the impact of your in-store signage on sales? Check out Shopify's retail sales reports and see how many units of an item you've sold - along with gross andnet sales– before and after the installation of the advertising sign.

types of signage

There are six key types of retail signs to consider for yoursstationary shop:

  1. digital signature
  2. Outdoor signage
  3. information signage
  4. Convincing signage
  5. ADA Compliant Signage
  6. Mats

digital signature

digital signatureis an installation that displays video or multimedia content for promotional or informational purposes. It is powered by a media player that sends content to the display. Businesses can manage the content through a content management system on-premises or in a cloud, allowing you to make changes quickly and easily.

Digital signs have an incredible recognition rate of83%, which is twice the retention rate of traditional advertising.

Tech-savvy shoppers are always looking for exciting new ways to improve their shopping experience. Hence the Australia-based design companyYou takecreated Adventure Station, an interactive touchscreen experience for retail stores to promote products and facilitate sales.

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Adventure Station - Digital ConfiguratoroutYou takeanVimeo.

The touchscreen displays a range of content including infographics, videos, 3D models, animations and more. You can customize it to include product roadmaps, social media integrations, and mobile integrations. Many digital display systems have a home base that controls all of the displays in your store.

The goal of digital signage is to showcase your best products, provide information and simplify the sales process. Because digital displays capture400%more views than static displays, this is definitely a type of sign you'll want to incorporate into your store.

Outdoor signage

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Outdoor signage is arguably the most important type of signage in brick-and-mortar retail as it gets customers to the door - the biggest hurdle to building a relationship with a potential customer. Outdoor signage is the first impression customers have of your business.

These signs need to do more than just announce who you are; You need to attract customers and make them want something from you. Effective signage can encourage people who have walked past your business many times to finally give it a try and cross your threshold.

Outdoor signage can take the form of sidewalk signs on panels, entrance signs, murals, awnings or window signs. Place signage where it will be visible to as many pedestrians and passing traffic as possible.

Outdoor signage, in particular, should have effective branding to attract the customer and help convey the experience they can expect in the facility.

information signage

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Informational signage may also be referred to as departmental, directional, organizational, or directional signage. These signs help the customer find their way around your space more easily. The easier it is for a customer to find what they came for, the more likely they are to rely on that convenience in the future.

Signposts are self-explanatory: They show customers the way. All types of information signage need to be concise and easy to read so that customers can understand the message in a split second with just a glance. Large, bold fonts in highly visible color schemes achieve this goal best.

Many retailers use a variety of information signs, including acrylic, tabletop, window, and shelf signs, to share product information. If you don't have a lot of shelf or counter space, you can useRetail sign holdersto guide shoppers through your store.

Once you start putting up information signs you will realize if your business is arranged in an orderly way with rhyme or reason. Not only will your customers benefit from this systematically, but your internal structure will also become more organized.

Convincing signage

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Persuasive signage influences consumer behavior through persuasive language or appealing imagery. These signs can advertise a specific product or special promotion. Compelling signage or displays can influence customer flow and improve interactivity with otherwise unnoticed products. Signs presenting a specific product type provide retailers with an opportunity to communicate specific details about new, seasonal or special items.

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By using compelling signage, brands can communicate more effectively with customers. These retail displays can turn an otherwise ordinary product into a popular hidden gem. Effective persuasive messaging can also create greater perceived value for products, increasing brand awareness and increasing retail sales.

Remember: while persuasive sales signs should be eye-catching and fun, they're not the main attraction. The most effective signs draw customers to the product.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant signage.

Making customers feel welcome means all customers. Accessibility via parking lots, entrances and exits, toilets, pay stations, changing rooms and elevators will make the experience for disabled customers more comfortable and enjoyable. If your location offers accessible features but doesn't advertise them, you're doing your customers a disservice.

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If your store uses a portable ramp with a doorbell or intercom, you must post a sign telling customers that they can ask an employee to bring the ramp to the door. If your store's accessible entrance is not the same as the main entrance, a sign at the main entrance must indicate where the accessible entrance is located.

All permanent indoor signs indicating bathrooms, elevators, entrances and exits must also contain braille and tactile signs in legible fonts and contrasting colors and they must be affixed at specific heights (typically 40 to 60 inches off the floor) in order to to ensure consistency and accessibility.


You may be surprised that mats can also be used as signs, but they're actually the most versatile sign out there. Mats serve not only safety and cleanliness requirements, but also advertising and informational purposes.

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How Retail Signage Works: The Ultimate Guide for 2022 (11)

You can choose to use mats for branding purposes such as promoting your logo. Mats can be used as signposts within the store, in locations where hanging signs is not practical, or to direct the customer to a product for sale. Mats also keep stores cleaner in inclement weather.

Finally, mats reduce the stress that employees put on their bodies from standing for long periods of time. Ergonomically padded mats help workers feel rejuvenated.

Best practices for your retail signage

Review: What is the purpose of retail signage? If you said to communicate with customers and encourage sales, you're right. The economic impact of signage is clear and can be described by the following framework.

ImThe economic value of on-site signageresearchers developed a framework for identifying the relationships between signage and economic impact. The left shows the elements of good signage and features that can plan a role. The right-hand side shows the possible impacts that generate economic benefits for a brand.

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If you decide to invest in signage for your business, consider the following tips:

  • Be precise.A custom sign can give you just the right message in just the right place - a concept known asdigital signature. When designing a sign, add specific details such as: B. Site-specific instructions and relevant product information.
  • keep it simpleYour sign's message needs to be clear, but one with too much information is often ignored. Use the five-second rule: if you can convey the main themes of the character in less than five seconds, it passes the muster. If it takes longer, shorten your message or use a series of characters instead of just one.
  • Write in the headline text.This should help your mission be concise and simple at the same time. Can you simplify your text? Can you take out prepositions and extra words? Effective custom signs use a message hierarchy: headline, explanatory text, and finally a call to action.
  • Create a call to action.Signs are advertising, and as any good advertiser knows, you need to get the customer to do something. This is where a call to action comes into play. An effective sign must encourage customers to take action.
  • Make it readable. Legibility is the most important element for signs of any size. Customers need to be able to read your signs to make a difference. A recent study by found that smaller signs saw a75% decreasein response compared to large counterparts.
  • Look at the lighting.LED technologies enable businesses to illuminate signs both internally and externally.Cove and softly lit light is the latest trendfor illuminating signs.

Use the signage in your retail store

Think of signage as your silent but biggest seller. Signage helps your customers find their way around your store without having to ask basic questions to the sales staff.

Much like setting standards for an employee's appearance and expectations for their behavior, the color, visibility, message, and quality of your signage also requires some development and consideration.

Signs, like employees, can be assigned tasks in the workplace ranging from sales information and wayfinding to general product information and usage.

Bring signage to your retail store today. You can create your own with a service likeVistaprintor work with a local company to build one for you. Either way, you'll soon see how signs create a better customer experience and impact your overall business.

Increase in-store footfall with Shopify

Shopify POS has built-in tools to bring more online shoppers to your store. Manage your Google Merchant Center listing without leaving your POS system, show the availability of each product in all stores, offer in-store pickup and much more.

Frequently asked questions about retail signage

What is retail signage?

Retail signage includes all the signs your retail business needs, from a store sign to billboards and any other type of signage you use to promote your business.

Why are signs important in retail?

Signs help attract the attention of potential customers. It can be used to share promotions or sales, help people find your business, and more.

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What are examples of retail signage?

An example of retail signage is the storefront logo, which tells customers which store they are going to. Another example is billboards and window displays promoting the store and its offerings.


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