How to attract more customers by adding eye-catching signs to your shopfront
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Whether your business is situated on a busy pedestrian thoroughfare or tucked away off the beaten path, the right types of retail signs and graphics draw customers in and help them find their way around once inside. Maybe you want to capture the attention of passers-by with a quirky message. Perhaps you need to promote a temporary offer. Or maybe you just need to hang directions around your space to help customers find a specific product.
A survey by FedEx found that “91 percent of small business owners agreed that readable graphics are important to drive customers to their business.”
Let’s look at the different types of signage you can employ, both inside and out, to improve the experience for customers visiting your business. And since your signage is only as good as its message, we’ll cover some handy writing tips too.
Simple tips for using signs on your shopfront
The banners, posters and signs you hang or place around your shop are often your first opportunity to engage with the buying public, and first impressions are lasting impressions. This is your chance to project the image you want the public to have of your business. People will judge the inside by how it looks on the outside, so the overall style and messaging on your shopfront will determine whether people come in for a look or continue walking past.
Define each sign’s purpose
Before ordering signage products, it’s a good idea to have a plan for each one. The purpose of an outdoor banner might be to advertise a sale, while a window decal could inform passers-by when you’re open. Creating effective messaging for each of your signs will be much easier once you define each one’s purpose.
Here are a few examples of common signage purposes:
Entice people in
People strolling past your business aren’t just pedestrians — they’re potential customers. The job of your shopfront is to attract them to step inside and take a look around. A-frame signs are a popular option as they’re two-sided and readable from both directions, while a chalkboard sign is ideal if you want to regularly update your message and add some of your own personality. Bars often decorate these with witty handwritten messages to draw people in from the street.
When designing your shopfront, it’s important to consider how easy it will be to see your business from across the street or from a moving car or bike. So, the size of text on your shopfront signs must be readable from a distance.
The contrast between the colour of the text that you use and the background, coupled with the font you choose, will determine your sign’s readability.
For example, a well-designed outdoor banner can reflect positively on your business, but be aware of the effects of glare from the sun as it affects legibility. If you plan to hang your banner in an area with lots of direct sunlight, ensure there’s plenty of contrast between the background colour and the text. It’s worth noting that pairing similar colours can decrease a sign’s readability.
Many believe that you have only 3.5 seconds to appeal to potential customers driving by your shop. The job of your signage is to capture their attention. Dark text on a white or yellow background ensures plenty of contrast.
According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, these are the five most legible colour combinations:
- Black on Yellow
- Black on White
- Yellow on Black
- White on Blue
- Green on White
Make your message stick
Consumers could potentially pass by your business up to 30 times a month if it’s near their home or workplace. Your signage is always visible, even when you’re closed, giving you the perfect opportunity to support your brand building efforts 24/7.
Window decals enable you to display practical information like hours of operation, accepted payment systems and can even be used to compel purchases or announce sales. These subtle details maintain a consistent look and feel on your graphics throughout the rest of your shop and online.
Less is definitely more when it comes to signage. While you might choose a patterned background for a business card or flyer, consider the reading distance of each product you design. When customers are reading your messages from further away, it pays to keep things simple and aim for a short message on a simple and clean background.
Signage writing tips
Now that you’ve established the purpose of each piece of signage you’re going to use, it’s time to define your messaging goals for each piece.
Here are a few ideas:
From the curb to the counter, your signs should help customers throughout their interaction with your business. Whether that’s as simple as communicating the type of products inside, e.g. women’s clothing, to directing customers to the changing rooms to try something on.
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All caps are the written equivalent of raising your voice. If you’re warning of DANGER, then it makes perfect sense to write in all caps. On the other hand, if you’re inviting someone to “Start the day with our freshly squeezed orange juice” it’s probably best to stick to sentence case to avoid sounding brash.
Be brief but include benefits
Keep the message short and sweet but offer the reader a reason to act. “Warm up cold hands with a homemade hot chocolate” is a lot more tempting than “hot chocolate sold here.”
Encourage customers to interact with you and your staff. Messages like “Ask about our gift-wrapping service” inspire conversation and create a friendly tone.
You have limited space on most signs, so try to whittle down your message to the essentials. Including a call to action and a timeframe helps instil a sense of urgency.
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And if you offer repair services, before and after images make it easy for people to visualise the benefit of using your services.
Hopefully, these tips help you define the purpose of each sign you’re going to use on your shopfront. The most important things to keep in mind are maintaining a consistent style and tone across all products, and ensuring that they’re easy for your customers to read.
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