Ultimate Guide to Retail Signage

Everything You Need to Know About Outdoor Business Signs

Business signage is one of the oldest forms of marketing communication. Signs were used as a primary means of communication by merchants throughout ancient times in places like Babylon, Egypt, and Athens. Signs were used for identifying shops, promoting prices, and distinguishing businesses from their rivals.

You must be noticed if you want to run a retail business that is successful and attracts customers. When designing your store, quality signage can be a great way to increase foot traffic and communicate effectively with customers. Signage can be confusing and overstimulating if it is done wrong. Signage for brick-and-mortar businesses is as important as website design. Retail signage should not be overlooked.

This guide will help you understand the basics of business signage and how to create signs for your business.

What is signage?

Any type of graphic display used to communicate a message to a targeted audience is called business signage. This is the best and most cost-effective form of advertising available for small businesses. Signage can include outdoor signs, window displays, and informational signage.

Signage is the first contact between a business’ potential customers and it. Signage, whether outside or inside, can increase brand recall and encourage customers to visit your business.

Signage Foundation research shows that signs can have a significant impact on sales. More than 60% of businesses report a 10% increase in sales when they add or update their signs. Signs come in many sizes and shapes. Small businesses usually have a pole or wall sign. No matter what, the best signs convey clear, concise, and brand-specific messages to customers. It’s obvious that business signage is important for economic reasons.

Signage for stores is important

Signage can be used for three purposes: marketing and advertising, attracting customers and foot traffic and guiding customers inside the store.

Marketing and advertising

Signs are often used for marketing and advertising purposes. The most popular type of sign is billboards. These large-scale outdoor ads are very popular. Over 82% of Americans have seen billboards as they drive through their towns.

Other signs can be used to advertise and brand, including vehicle wraps and building wraps. Customers remember and perceive your brand through signage. Attractive signs can make a lasting impression on customers and encourage them to visit your store. This helps you communicate the products and services that you offer, and it gives customers an idea of what to expect.

Attracting foot and customer traffic

Shop and retail signs are the best way to draw shoppers and help them find your business. According to the Sign Research Foundation (SRF), 61% of US consumers were unable to locate a business due to its signage being too small or unclear.

Signage can help consumers learn about your business and make assumptions about it. Outdoor signage can be combined with window displays to spark curiosity and invite customers inside.

Signs let people know that they are at the right place. A high-quality sign will make a good first impression.

Assist customers in-store

Consider the last time you were at a large airport. How did you find your way to the security checkpoint and to your gate? It was easy. It was possible because of “wayfinding”

Retail wayfinding is the use of visual graphics, tactile surfaces, or audible communications by businesses to help customers find what they need. This helps customers find their way around your store and prevents them from getting lost.

Signs support visual merchandising, which has been a key retail discipline. To encourage customers to visit a store, businesses can use signage to guide them.

Signs can be used to visually divide your shop by type, brand, or category, depending on its size.

Signage for retail has many benefits

Ultimately, digital signage offers tremendous benefits for retail stores. In addition to attracting store traffic, increasing purchase decisions, and entertaining customers, these strategically placed signs boost sales, provide context for customers, and extend omnichannel branding.

A marketing tool that is cost-effective

Signage helps customers find out about your business. Signage can catch the eye of potential customers and help you stand out. Signage is an integral part of your brand and can have a profound impact on your bottom line.

Signs placed outdoors can be used to help customers find you and promote your products. Signs can also be used to help businesses communicate with customers who pass by their business. Consistent signage can make it easier for people to find your brand if they discover you on social media.

Signs can be placed at eye level or along the side of a shopfront. Signs can be used to identify your business location, even if it’s near other big businesses. You may not be able to out-market large corporate retailers. However, you can still use signs to claim your location and get found.

Communication with customers

Signs are an important part of visual communication. Consider your last trip on the highway. What was the route that took you from A to B? You are correct if you answered signs (and Google Maps). Similar to business signage, it communicates with customers and assists them in getting where they need it.

Signage in-store can accomplish a variety of things:

  • Your store can be a guide for customers
  • Shoppers can find the products they are looking for.
  • Encourage impulse sales
  • Influence shopping behavior
  • Promote sales and promotions

When a customer shops for something they need to make a purchase, they must decide. Customers need to decide whether your store has the stopping power or if they should look for other options. These decisions are influenced by the signage you provide. This is why 34% of shoppers associate quality signage with product and store quality and 29% base their choices on information provided by store signs.

Signage that is well-placed and designed can make a business more visible to customers and increase sales.

Sales increase

Sign messages typically focus on (1) the brand and (2) the prices and types of the items available. This provides the customer with the most relevant information. This information must be communicated effectively on signs, as it can help reduce customer search costs and the time spent searching for a product or service.

Signs that don’t include this information will not help customers in their search of a product or service. 60% of businesses report an average increase in sales of 10% by updating or adding digital signage. According to recent research, digital signage can increase average purchase amounts by 29.5%.

Different types of signage

You should be aware of six types of retail signage that you can use for brick-and-mortar stores:

  1. Digital signage
  2. Outdoor signage
  3. Informational signage
  4. Persuasive signage
  5. Signage that is ADA compliant
  6. Mats

Digital signage

Digital signage is an installation that displays multimedia content or video for informational or advertising purposes. The media player sends the content to the display. You can easily make changes to the content by allowing businesses to manage it through a cloud-based or on-site content management system.

digital signage image
digital signage Peoria IL

Digital signs can recall 83% of their messages, which is twice the retention rate for traditional advertising.

Shoppers who are tech-savvy are always on the lookout for new ways to enhance their shopping experience. Prendi, an Australian design company, created the Adventure Station interactive touchscreen experience that retail outlets can use to promote their products and increase sales.

Digital signage is designed to highlight your products and provide information. It also simplifies the sales process. Digital displays are a great option for displaying your products and information in your store. They capture 400% more traffic than static displays.

Outdoor signage

Because it is the first thing customers see when they walk in the door, outdoor signage is the most important type in retail. Your business’ exterior signage is often the first impression that customers get of you.

Outdoor signage
Outdoor signage

Signs should not only announce your identity but also draw customers in and encourage them to buy from you. Signage that is effective can encourage customers who have been to your store before to give it another chance.

Outdoor signage can be in the form of entrance signs, sidewalk signs on chalkboards, murals, and awnings. Signage should be visible to both walk-by and drive traffic.

Particularly outdoor signage should be effectively branded to attract customers and convey the experience they can expect inside.

Informational signage

Informational signage can also be called departmental, directional or organizational signage. These signs make it easier for customers to navigate your space. Customers will be more likely to use these signs in the future if they can find what they need easily.

Directional signage is easy to understand. It tells customers where they should go. Informational signage must be clear and easily understood by clients so they can comprehend the message in a matter of seconds. This goal is best achieved with large, bold fonts and highly visible colors.

Informational signage

Retailers use a variety of informational signage to communicate product information. This includes acrylic, tabletop, and window-mounted signage. Retail sign holders can be used to direct shoppers in your store if you don’t have enough counter or shelving space.

It becomes obvious to customers when you begin putting up informational signs that your store is organized in a systematic manner with rhyme and reason. This will not only benefit your customers but also improve your internal organization.

Persuasive signage

Through convincing language and attractive imagery, persuasive signage can influence consumer behavior. These signs may advertise a product or promote a promotion. Displays and signs that are persuasive can increase customer interaction with products otherwise overlooked. Retailers have the opportunity to display a specific product type on signs that highlight it.

Persuasive signage

Brands can communicate more effectively with their customers by using persuasive signage. These retail displays can make an otherwise mundane product a sought-after hidden gem. Persuasive messaging can increase product perceived value, brand awareness, and retail sales.

Keep in mind that persuasive sales signs are only part of the attraction. The best signs attract customers to the product.

Signage that conforms to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Customers should feel welcome at your business. Accessibility features such as parking, exits, toilets, restrooms and cashier stations, fitting rooms, and elevators can make disabled patrons’ experience more pleasant and enjoyable. Your customers are being disservice if your location doesn’t offer accessible features.

Install a sign to let customers know that they can ask an employee to bring a portable ramp to their door if your store has an intercom or doorbell. A sign must be placed at the main entrance if the accessible entrance to your store is different from the main one.

For consistency and accessibility, any permanent interior signs that indicate bathrooms, elevators, exits, or entrances must include Braille and tactile characters in legible fonts. They must also be mounted at a specific height (typically 40-60 inches above the ground).


Mats can be used as signs. This may surprise you, but mats are the most versatile signage. Mats can be used for safety and cleanliness, as well as promotional and informational purposes.

mat sign

Mats can be used for branding purposes, such as promoting your logo. Mats can be used to guide customers to the right product or for wayfinding in stores where hanging signage may not be possible. Mats can also be used to keep stores clean during inclement weather.

Mats can also reduce the strain on employees’ bodies from standing for extended periods of time. Workers feel refreshed with ergonomic cushioned mats.

Best practices for your retail signage

What’s the purpose of retail signage? You are correct if you say that retail signage is used to communicate with customers and promote sales. Below is a framework that demonstrates the economic impact of signage.

Researchers developed a framework to identify the economic value of signage on-premises. These are some tips to keep in mind when you consider investing in signage for your store:

  • Be specific. You can have the perfect message at the right time with a customized sign. This is called narrowcasting. Include specific details such as product information and instructions for the location when designing a sign.
  • Keep it simple. Signs should communicate a clear message, but too many details can be ignored. The five-second rule applies: If you can communicate the main points of your sign in five seconds or less, it is considered acceptable. You can reduce the length of your message, or you can use several signs to convey the same message.
  • Write in headline text. This will help you to make your mission concise and easy. Could you simplify your text? Can you remove prepositions or extra words? Effective custom signs follow a message hierarchy. This includes a headline, explanatory text, and, finally, a call for action.
  • Make a call for action. Advertisements are signs and you must get your customer to take action. A call to action is the key. A sign that is effective should encourage customers to act.
  • Make it legible. Signs of any size should be legible. To make an impact, your signs must be easily read by customers. Signs.com recently found that small signs received 75% less response than large ones.

Consider illumination. Businesses can make their signs stand out with LED technology. Sign illumination is becoming more popular with the recent trend of the cove and soft-lit lights.

Signage for your retail store

Signage is a great way to make your salesperson stand out. Signage allows customers to navigate the shop and not have to ask sales staff basic questions.

Just as you have established standards for your employees’ appearances and expectations for their conduct in the workplace, so too does the quality and visibility of your signage.

Signs can also be used on the job, just like employees. They can include sales information, wayfinding, general product information, and usage.

Signage can be incorporated into retail businesses immediately. S&S can help you design one. You’ll soon see how signs can improve customer experience and impact your business.

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