Monday, July 11, 2011

Sign On for Effective Signage

An article by business consultant Rhonda Abrams nicely pointed out the importance of signage and how easy it is to overlook opportunities. She wrote about a carpet cleaning retailer who parked his truck in her driveway, a driveway which is on a busy street. What a waste it was that the truck had no signage.
     With an inexpensive magnetic sign, the carpet cleaning retailer could proclaim, “Here I am doing work for someone who selected me from the available alternatives, and here’s how to contact me to do quality work for you.”
     Yes, this would be too many words to have on signage you expect people to read as they drive or walk by your van or truck. You’ll probably want to limit the text on a vehicle to a name, tag line, website address, and phone number. Just enough to make them want to learn the rest. You’ll also want excellent contrast between background and foreground.
     That’s on the street. Inside your store, keep the signs simple enough to be read quickly, but also design the sign to make things simpler for the shopper. Researchers at Columbia University found that an important element in signage is placing product choices into categories for the shopper. Categories help us break down the decision into more manageable steps. That soothes shoppers most dramatically when they're unfamiliar with the products they're selecting from. It speeds up decision making, and time is money for both you and your customers.
     The style of signage helps define the personality of the retailer. I’m thinking about Lululemon Athletica, which describes itself as selling sell “technical yoga clothes.” Signage in their stores is in the style of neat handwriting to project creativity.
     Research at University of Colorado suggests that a handmade look might not appeal to all types of consumers, but would be attractive to shoppers who see themselves as creative or who aspire to be more creative. Findings from surveys conducted by the Boston Consulting Group indicate that women shoppers—the major target audience for Lululemon—like their creativity combined with practicality.
     Part of the personality you want to project is helpfulness. Good signage answers questions customers commonly have. This saves irritation for staff who quickly tire of being asked where the rest rooms are. It also allows shoppers to avoid needing to ask questions of sales staff. This is important to newbies to your store who fear a question will launch an aggressive sales pitch.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Use Signage to Categorize Items
Offer Neatness to Creative Shoppers

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