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20 Tips for Making a Persuasive Signage for your Retail Store

Do you need a signage that will increase your retail shop foot traffic? If YES, here are 20 smart tips for making a persuasive signage for your retail store. Persuasive signage are those signage that influences consumer behaviour through convincing language or attractive imagery. These signs can advertise a specific product or promotion. Persuasive signs or displays can also, to a large extent, influence customer flow and improve interactivity with otherwise unnoticed products.

Why Make a Signage for your Retail Store?

Advertising signs that showcase a specific type of product, offer an opportunity for retailers to let their customers know some specific details of new, seasonal, or featured items. In this modern and competitive age, using persuasive signage allows brands to more effectively communicate with customers. These displays can turn an otherwise ordinary product into a popular “hidden gem.”

Creating and making use of good persuasive messaging can also create a higher perceived value for products, increase brand awareness, and improve retail sales. Report has it that digital signage can grow a business brand awareness by 47.7%, and boost average purchase amount by nearly 30%. It can also improve the customer experience and even increase sales and loyalty.

Relevance, according to experts, remains one of the most important advantages of signage. It allows brands to advertise the right message to the right consumer and also at the right time. Persuasive Signage also improves marketing flexibility and personalization. Traditional advertising is fixed but persuasive signage allows you to adapt to your consumer, offering more flexibility.

For instance, digital roadside signage might carry a different message for commuter traffic compared to mid-morning traffic; in-store signage might change depending on footfall. This goes to say that signage is much better personalized than traditional advertising, and more effectively meets consumer needs.

Statistics has shown that today’s consumers are totally oversaturated with most advertising mediums, but where signage earns an edge is in its relative unfamiliarity. No one gets bored of seeing it, so it has the capacity to genuinely capture and hold our attention. When you put together the benefits of persuasive signage, which are relevance, personalization and control, what you get is an advertising medium that creates a better customer experience.

Report has it that 72% of respondents think persuasive signage is a ‘cool way to advertise.’ Also, desire to improve the customer experience is a major reason cited for increased persuasive and digital signage investment in the Digital Signage Today survey.

So instead of shouting irrelevant messages at consumers when they don’t want to hear them, persuasive signage allows us to be genuinely interesting, at the right time. It can entertain, inform, educate, and in so doing, persuade.

20 Smart Tips for Making a Persuasive Signage for your Retail Store

It’s very necessary to note that signs guide and inform customers, telling them things like the name of your store, what you are selling, and how your customers can acquire what you are selling. These signs, especially for retail stores also alert customers to times of store operation, current deals you are running, and other crucial facts that the store’s general customer base should be made aware of.

Have it at the back of your mind that signs in a retail setting are an avenue of communication. The one designing the sign has a lot of control over what message is being sent and how it is being received by the customers you are trying to target and get their attention. Below are few tips to guide you through your signage advertising process;

1. Define your objective and know your audience

Have it in mind that to do signage correctly, two things need to happen before you start thinking about execution. Those are defining your objective and knowing your audience. At this point, the decisions you make should be informed by your objectives.

What are you trying to achieve? What do you want consumers to do? For instance, retail organisations hoping to grow sales on a featured promotion will understand that in this case, point-of-sale promotion will be more appropriate than out of home (OOH).

Just like all other marketing, aim for a mix of qualitative and quantitative objectives so you can get a more accurate picture of ROI. Note that brand awareness is important but resorting to that as your only objective can be a hindrance, because it’s literally hard to measure.

The more reason you should tie your objectives to clear metrics so you know what success –or failure– will look like before you start. Also if you really hope for your signage to be maximally effective, you will want the maximum number of relevant people to see it– that’s what drives action. Although volume is important, it’s secondary to relevance.

Sadly, audience profiles are one of those things that every organisation thinks they’ve done well, but the information is often leaky, based on guesswork, and gets lost in translation. You have to make sure everyone is on the same page before you start, so you know exactly who your consumer is, what they want, where they spend time, their emotional profile, their fears, desires and ambitions.

2. Plan the Signage

It is very crucial that you take your time to plan the signage in advance. This means that you must have an idea, strategy, layout, and cost estimates before opening the store or renovating your old shop. When planning the design, do not just consider your target market, try to fathom their behaviours and your competitors.

Have it in mind that what works for a particular retailer may not work for others. You should have a strategic mind in the planning stage. It’s also important that you identify the major purpose of your signboard. One is to highlight the store and its product lines. Another is to provide directional instructions to shoppers.

Note that signs are custom-built specifically for individual patrons with specific needs and preferences. It is a factor that affects buying decisions of most consumers. Concepts for the front store and external signage have different requirements compared to indoor signs.

Just as internal signage is generally smaller in size but provides more information to customers. It is used as a tool to close sales. While for window or product displays, the signage must be installed right in front and at the centre.

Note that an effective retail sign will tell shoppers the merchandise they look at and why they should examine a particular product. It is meant to catch the interest of people inside the store just like a newspaper headline or movie trailer.

3. How Large Should A Sign Be

Creating a sign to be the right size is more than simply a matter of aesthetics. Note that the size of a sign should be measured by a few very crucial factors, to make sure the sign is perfectly designed to gain the attention of the target customer it is intended to reach.

Since most stores sell items to adults, it may not be advisable or even practical to design signs that depict each item as being larger than life. An adult can usually figure out how to find what they are looking for much easier, so signs do not need to be so huge to help an adult find what they want or need. In this case it is perhaps more important to make sure the sign is large enough to be easily read from a distance.

4. Graphic Appeal

For a retail store, a signage will often have more than words. Signs for retail can say a lot about a store and the products it sells by the type of graphics used on the signs displayed in the store. Note that graphics are a important addition to signage, but they must perfectly convey meaning and not become distraction.

Designing a sign with the picture of a wrench and a tire on it might help a customer quickly determine that the automotive department is near where the sign is posted. While random flower petals on a sign over the automotive department might cause more confusion, rather than properly directing the customer.

Also note that a sign this extreme can also turn away macho men not wanting to shop in a sensitive environment. That is why graphics on a sign should be used in the right context, to convey useful information to a customer that will improve sales.

5. Choose Font Wisely

You have to carefully consider the font you choose for your sign. Does the font align well with other signs and the overall theme of your retail environment? Is it conducive to selling and persuasion? For instance, if you’re communicating a sales-related message, dark and bold fonts are not always appropriate for your brand strategy. Experts believe softer, natural-looking fonts build trust between a brand and its customers.

Have it in mind that the major objective of your signage, however, is to attract the attention of customers and communicate a specific message. To do this will be very difficult when there are multiple colours and elaborate “handwriting” fonts for the eye to negotiate.

This is why the font you choose for signage should be capable of attracting attention and delivering a clear message in a second. If your customers can’t read your signs easily, then there is a problem.

6. Keep the Message Concise

The growing use of instant messaging services is gradually changing the way we communicate with one another. We have adjusted to rely on fewer words and sentences to get our points across — and that same principle should be applied to the messages on your signage. It’s advisable that you keep things as simple and as concise as possible, as the clarity of your message is very important when communicating to customers in a retail environment.

Choose what you want your customers to get from the sign, and then write an initial message. You can also take your time to build custom signs online that let you edit the copy over and over again until only your key points remain. Any “fluff” and redundant wording will reduce the impact of your sign and dilute your message.

7. Importance of Lighting

Note that signage lighting enhances visibility especially at night and during daytime as well. Ambient illumination is a very important aspect to consider carefully. Outdoor lighting must be bright enough but not too dazzling. Ensure that your lighting will help consumers see the signage clearly.

Also note objects that may block or adversely affect the visibility of your signs. The elevation is also a crucial factor. Try not to make the mistake of suspending the signage from the ceiling down to the centre of the shop’s aisle. This can only distract the attention of shoppers.

8. Liven the signage up with humor and personality

Persuasive signs that are boring or plain will more or less be ignored, which ultimately translates into waste of valuable resources. You can use jokes or even sentences that could have more than one meaning. Report has it that few people may be turned off but most will appreciate your attempt to liven up their day and are more likely to come in and browse or buy as a result.

9. Timing

Timing is about the interplay of medium and location. For instance, signage might be more appropriate for low view-time areas like roadside, but longer dynamic segments might work well somewhere like an airport lounge, for example.

If you get the balance wrong, you risk consumers getting frustrated at seeing the same message repeated too frequently, or missing your message altogether. Take your time to consider the effect of playing with timing to earn attention– signage timed at the same pace as a moving walkway.

10. Bait And Hook

For example, if you want to attract a customer and make them sit up and pay attention, just plaster the word “FREE” somewhere on a sign that is in plain view in your store. When most customers see the word “FREE!”, there is a reaction in their brain that draws them with earnest curiosity.

What is this store offering for free? If you make all the other words on the sign intentionally smaller, they will be forced, often against their better judgment, to give in to their curiosity and go find out.

We can all agree that no one wants to miss out on a great deal – especially if they can get something for nothing. Also another trigger word that tends to attract people in print is the word “NOW!” This word tend to evoke the question in the customer’s mind, what is going on now! Stores have been using signs like this for as long as advertising has been around to compel, draw, and bait customers with their own curiosity. And surprisingly, it continues to work.

11. Focus on the Benefits

Have it in mind that customers are not always bothered about how things work when it comes to making purchasing decisions; they’re tend to be more concerned with the benefits involved. That is why to persuade your customers to buy a specific product or sign up to an offer, make sure your messages focus almost solely on benefits.

12. Moderation is Crucial to Success

Indeed a great signage is not adequate to guarantee the retailer’s success. That’s why there should be moderation on your part. Note that the overabundance of signs can weaken the message you are hoping to convey to the public. A handful of good advertising are ignored because people see many of them anywhere they travel, television and social media networking sites.

Statistics has it that an average consumer gets around 3, 000 advertising messages daily. This magnitude of shows and printings may be too much to bear and cause consumers to develop negative beliefs or outlook about certain brands, services and products.

Sometimes it also lead to confusion since there is aggressive competition between retail companies, vendors, trademarks, commodities, and services. Your prospective client might find it difficult to distinguish which one is the best for their requirements. As a result, many retail business owners experience shrinking returns because of their advertising campaigns.

13. Testing Customer Reactions

Once you mount a new sign in a retail setting, it is advisable that you have a store employee monitor how people react to the placement and message of that sign. If they report that customers barely pay attention, or read the sign and walk off disinterested, then chances are that sign is not getting the job done and needs to be readjusted or replaced.

But, if passing customers read a sign and start taking notice, walking faster towards the sign, showing interest in the product it is advertising, then this likely shows that the design of such a sign is spot on.

14. Choose the Right Sign for the Right Location

This is very important to the success of your sign. Before you even design any of your signs, it’s advisable you walk through your entire retail area while thinking like a customer. Are your eyes drawn to specific areas? Do you expect to see signage in certain places? Are there places where the placement of signage seems logical.

Immediately you’ve decided on where to place your in-store communications, you have to then decide what type of signage is most appropriate.

For example, aluminium signs and banners are probably the most appropriate options for outdoor locations. Coroplast signage made from a durable plastic compound, or custom corrugated signs could be the best option for communicating messages inside your premises.

15. Create a Customer questionnaire

It’s advisable you create a customer questionnaire that includes questions on the different marketing messages within your store. You should also consider targeting a wide variety of customers to gauge their overall impression. Alternatively, monitor the conversion rates associated with different signage and communications.

If you’re selling a specific product at a discount, this should be relatively easy to do. Try out a few messages, layouts and locations for your signage, and find out which combination delivers the best results.

16. Write in headline text

Writing in headline text should help in your mission to be concise and simple all at once. Note the first and utmost principle of print journalism: the punch line matters. 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.

17. Electric Retail Signs

Note that signs that light up tend to be more eye catching than signs that do not. Bright letters and outlines that glow in the dark or in dim lighting are hard to ignore. Also note that signs that appear to involve some type of graphical animations are also very eye catching for a lot of people – especially people who are used to spending a lot of time watching television, which is a huge percentage of the general population.

18. Compare printers

Always make out time to compare printers and choose the best possible printing company for your signs, even if this means paying a little more for the services that you need. Have it in mind that some printers may offer very low prices, but the sign quality may also be lower than expected. Discuss your signage needs with each potential printer so that you make the right choice for your budget and business.

19. The Invisible Sign Problem

Retail stores spend a lot of funds every year on sign design and construction, never taking time to realize that a huge part of their customer base has poor vision and cannot even read or see their retail signs. Blind, visually impaired, and aging customers, many of whom are in the process of losing their sight, utterly miss what many stores are trying to sell to them.

Note that scaling this problem, may prove to be key to maintaining a high rate of sales for many retail stores. This means that signs that incorporate an audio component, rather than relying only on the visual avenue to appeal to a customer, will likely attract far more customers.

20. Create a call to action

Signs are advertisements, and as any good advertiser knows, you need to get the customer to do something; that’s the call to action. An effective sign needs to have a simple goal. Your Call to Action must be obvious enough to convert into sure sales.

The focus of retailers must be on quality instead of quantity. Invest in well-designed and positioned outdoor or indoor signs. Target the right consumers without turning them away due to an overload of visual information.


When planning to invest in signage, take your time to analyse them with fresh eyes. Imagine entering your store as a new customer. Always be honest with yourself about what’s clear and what may be perplexing. Build a consistent brand and use it across your business, from outdoor signage to your website.

Note that if you can do just that, you’ll be on your way to leveraging signage to your retail advantage and cashing in while its hot. Don’t forget to create memorable signs that sell your merchandise.