Effective in-store signage

According to the Oz Solutions retail guide, Maximising your retail potential, 60% more sales are created through in-store promotions than any other medium such as magazines, radio, TV etc. This is part one of a two-part series.

As a “silent salesman”, signage is one of the most cost effective forms of advertising available, and in terms of timber merchandising, it is a sales tool which has not been exploited to its full potential yet. The good news for both retailers and suppliers alike is that it is in the “placement and layout” as opposed to “size and budget” that really increases the effectiveness of signage.

Will it be seen?

Figure (i): Sightlines or cones – Where people look when focussed on something

Signage cannot be effective unless it is seen so spending a few moments considering its placement is definitely worthwhile. In looking at placement, one is really looking at the relationship between the actual positioning of the sign itself and the flow of consumer traffic.

As you can see in Figure (i) the prime location for a sign’s placement is within the “cone” or “sightlines” – the latter being the scientific name for “where people look” when they are focussed on an activity such as walking or driving.

An easy way of finding the sightlines is by doing a quick pencil sketch of the department layout showing both traffic flow and cone lines. The protruding 90° “tree” signs at each end of the A frames, illustrated in Figure (ii) for example, are well within the sightlines of customers walking in either direction through the department. These signs would be noticed by more people than, for example, if the tree signs were mounted flush on the A frame end.

Buying level

Figure (ii): 90° sign viewed more than front mounted sign

Although OH&S issues preclude the use of this style of 90° signs at eye level, V frame signage gives the same effect. Figure (iii) illustrates both V frame location signage and front-mounted POS signage, all at “eye level – buy level”, but without consuming valuable shelf space.

Although eye-level signage is the first choice, it is not always feasible. However there are many alternate placement solutions that can be very effective. Perhaps not as simple to affix, and requiring more attention to safety issues than eye level versions, signage suspended across the aisles can also offer a good placement solution, as it can also be viewed readily from both sides.

Getting floored!

Figure (iii): Eye-level, buy-level – V frame and front mounted signage

Research shows that we spend a high percentage of our time looking at our feet. With the advent of superior new substrates such as frosted clear plastics, the reverse sides of which have adhesive on them and which can be printed, floor signage designed to take traffic can now last for between 12 to 18 months (See Figure iv).

Although not the cheapest substrate option, the increased sales should easily amortise the cost of the signage itself. Another hardwearing option for effective floor signage is carpet tiles.

The “cone” focus

Figure (iv): Flexible floor and decal solutions for challenging situations

Sometimes optimum placements seem too difficult to manage. The use of a more conventional sign — for instance, corflute or MDF — is perhaps just not feasible due to lack of space. I strongly recommend checking out alternative substrate options, many of which are not necessarily expensive, before compromising on your optimum placement option, and ultimately chances for increased sales.

Digitally printed decals (Fig iv), for example, can be wrapped around posts, poles, triangles and many other unusual shapes. In addition, they are easily affixed with a heat gun. Wobblers are lightweight and are easily moved or removed so offer a very cost effective option for temporary signage.

Magnetic signage, too, fits into the “flexible solution category” and is becoming increasingly popular. It is lightweight, only about 1.2mm thick, and can adhere to, for instance, metal mesh, beams or even corrugated iron walls or ceilings. It is an ideal option for fencing, gates, colour-bond and corrugated roofing.

One of the most appealing assets of magnetic signage is that it does not require drilling or permanent fixing. It can be moved when required. This enables retailers to optimise both their floor space and the use of their silent salesmen!

Having established the best location for a sign, the next step in the design process is the copy, layout and colour. Look out for part two in the next edition.

Wendy Driscoll, product development manager at Porta.