It’s in the signs…ignore them at your peril

If someone strolled up to you, grabbed your attention and told you that water is wet, you’d be taken aback, immediately questioning the mind of this person so keen to share information that we all know is obvious. 

It’s a given, there’s no wavering, no scepticism, we all accept it as a concrete cold fact.

There’s another fact of similar veracity that, sadly, doesn’t enjoy the same unanimous patronage and has its fair share of doubting Thomas’ – and it’s this: signage brings in sales.

But don’t take my word, take the findings of a survey commissioned by global giant FedEx a few years back to determine the role signs play in attracting customers and driving sales.

Surprise, surprise, the results highlighted just what a major factor signs play in affecting customer decisions and prompting purchases.

The study found that some 76 per cent of consumers chose to enter a store they had never before set foot based solely on its outdoor signage and window displays. That’s music to the ears of any person in business, particularly those in the real estate, retail, travel and hospitality sectors. 

But wait, there’s more. Here’s the symphony orchestra, taking that music to the ears to rarefied heights: about the same number actually stated that they had told someone about the store in question or recommended a brand based entirely – that’s right, entirely – on a sign they had seen promoting it.

I’ll share another significant finding: almost 70 percent of respondents admitted that they actually purchased products or services after a sign caught their eye, grabbed their attention and drew them in.

So, there you have it. Water is wet and signage brings in sales.

At VitrineMedia, we know, too, that the more attractive the sign is, the more memorable and enticing it is. And in the world of vibrant, magnetic signage, nothing quite matches the allure of static backlit LED displays filled with powerful imagery and messaging printed in latex.

The flipside, of course, also holds true and should sound a warning to those who pay top dollar for high street bricks and mortar locations but tend to neglect their window displays and signage with a shrug of the shoulder and the accompanying “she’ll be right, mate, the web drives all my sales these days…” utterance.

If attractive signage is memorable and enticing and has a positive effect on sales and brand awareness, what’s the expectation of poor signage?

As before, there are no surprises here, with the FedEx research again touching a nerve by finding that 68 percent – that’s hardly an insignificant number, and all the more so in an increasingly competitive business world – said that in their view and experience, a store’s sign is a reliable indicator of the company itself, the products it peddles and the services it offers.

Put another way, customers, the lifeblood of all businesses, believe that a business with badly designed, poorly made or unattractive signage is just that. Bad, poor and unattractive.

These businesses convey the subliminal message that they don’t care too much about their appearance and that this lackadaisical approach is likely to feed through to what they have to offer – an inferior product and rather shabby service.

That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps even millions, potentially going to waste – worst still, to the competition – each year simply because of a “she’ll be right” attitude.

I don’t know about you, but I wish I was heading up a business that could turn away that kind of money when a solution – let’s say in the form of a handful of large format backlit LED screens with powerful branding, profile-raising and product messaging and imagery – is user-friendly, cost-effective and will have paid for itself many times over before the last of the backlighting fades away well after the guaranteed 80,000 hours of continuous usage mark has been passed.

The signs are there. Ignore them at your period.