Using signage to propel your visual merchandising strategy
By Jeffrey Hastings
Customer experience is all the rage these days. It’s what every business—from banking to retail to healthcare—is worried about. With competition and technological advances bringing products to consumers faster than ever, the customer experience is paramount. But before your retail store can begin to provide an over-the-top customer experience, you need to get those customers in the door. That’s where visual merchandising steps in to help.
Signage and window displays are an important part of a strong visual merchandising strategy. Here are five best practices to ensure that your signs and window displays work to attract shoppers and reinforce your brand’s unique personality.
1. Keep it fresh.
Human beings get bored fast. “The human eye fixates on two points a second, looking for stimulation,” according to a report in Psychology Today. “But once you’ve had an experience, … a second or third go around won’t give you the same rich opioid hit.”
That’s why it’s so important to frequently change your signage. This will keep shoppers’ interest and stay relevant with changing seasons, holidays, and promotions.
When buying signware for window displays, be sure that the frames and banner holders make it easy for store staff to swap graphics. This guarantees dynamic windows displays and a better return on your signware investment.
2. Use smart placement.
Placement is just as important as design and language. As Paco Underhill wrote in Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, “Putting a sign that requires 12 seconds to read in a place where customers spend four seconds is just slightly more effective than putting it in your garage.” If you are placing a sign in an elevator, for instance, you have your audiences’ attention for much longer than you do when you place a sign in your storefront.
Similarly, placing signs in natural sightlines can help capture consumers’ attention. Consider positioning a sign at an angle overhead or placing two signs in your window at 45-degree angles for maximum visibility.
3. Realize that less is more.
Writing strategic and concise sign copy goes hand in hand with smart placement. While some signs warrant slightly more copy than others, all signs should use simple, brief language. Peoples’ attention spans are short! You have about three seconds to capture someone’s attention, so get to the point as fast as you can.
4. Make your signs interactive.
Don’t let your signs get left behind the digital age. Interactive digital signage, such as kiosks with tablets, can help engage shoppers and promote new products. It is also a way to personalize the shopping experience while collecting data on your customers—data that can be invaluable when crafting business strategies or implementing an advanced analytics system that leverages the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
5. Create a sense of continuity.
Window displays are just part of an integrated visual merchandising plan. To create a sense of continuity once customers walk through the store doors, you can use two-sided window signage that displays visual messages to shoppers outside the store as well as to those inside. Your wall-mounted and floor-mounted signage should also be consistent with your window signage to contribute to the overall aesthetic flow of your store environment.
Signage is an extremely important part of your overall visual merchandising plan. When done right, your signs attract and entice shoppers to walk through your store doors. But signs don’t stop working for you once shoppers enter your store — strong in-store signs will continue to push consumers further along their buying journey.
Jeffrey Hastings is CMO of Rose Displays, a division of Visual Creations.