Retail wayfinding signage isn’t just about pointing your customers in the right direction – it’s part of the entire customer experience that can really boost your sales. Wayfinding is your silent salesman, effortlessly guiding your customer to points of interest around your store and on to the checkout, while allowing them to experience your premises in a way that feels natural, discovering new and interesting things as they go. Good wayfinding design personalises the customer journey, while underpinning it with functionality. Fuse that with strong visual merchandising, in the shape of point of sale displays and themed environments, and you’ll bring your retail environment into sharp focus.

Define your customers

If you want to revitalise the wayfinding pathways in your store, then you need to define personas for your typical customers. Your goal is then to combine marketing strategy with your customer profiles to create wayfinding strategies that increase customer spending across the board. For example, if ‘Lucy’ pops in for a sandwich, wayfinding could direct her past the ready meals, while pensioner ‘Pete’ could be directed towards the seasonal specials.

Good signage that is well positioned and legible will guide your customer through the environment with ease. From the customer’s perspective, if they can find what they need in an unfamiliar setting thanks to the quality of your wayfinding signage, the improved customer experience can drive repeat business. If your customer can’t find what they want where your signage indicates that it should be, then the experience will be a frustrating one and unlikely to be repeated.

Map your store

The conventions of store layout and signage date back to the 1950s. Ikea has tried to break the mould by breaking the strict grid design for navigating their premises and using signage that draws from transport iconography, but by and large, tradition plays a large part in the way we navigate the retail environment.

To create engaging and effective wayfinding signs, walk your store considering the shopper’s journey. How can your signage draw them into areas they wouldn’t normally visit? How can you create a truly engaging retail environment? One clue may lie in the World’s Fairs of the 19th century that used clear signposting to attract attention to the various displays and pavilions within the wider exhibit. Harrods has had success using separate branded areas within the context of the wider store. This store in store approach is gaining traction throughout the retail landscape, offering customers a range of different pick and mix experiences.

Be sensitive to the customer journey as you map your signage. For example, as your customer enters the store, they want clear and precise directions as to where to go to find the products they need. Observe the routes your customers actually use to flow from one area of your store to another and optimise your wayfinding signs to provide quick directional information.

Be aware of design principles to reinforce the wayfinding hierarchy across your branding, whether that’s your online presence or your static in-store signs. This visual consistency is your core strategy.

Creating effective retail signs

Signs are no longer the visual mish mash of temporary and permanent that they once were. Now scale, impact and visual clutter are critical considerations when designing wayfinding signs and are considered a key investment in the overall look and feel of your stores – and that crucial customer experience.

Legibility is key: in signage, clarity is everything, and we have a much better understanding nowadays of the part that legibility plays in creating great signage. Be careful with colour contrast, alternating bold colours that are easy to process, and allow for optimum legibility by drawing the attention to the message rather than the background – the AA’s black on yellow scheme is an excellent example. Scale and simplicity are other key considerations when it comes to deciding on an effective font.

Shape shifting: the circle is the original symbol of perfection and wholeness, which is why it resonates so well with consumers – and why Apple’s logo is such a clever piece of design. Shapes rather than text are what immediately resonate with customers, so leave aggressive triangles and hard edges out of your design.

Creating consistency: to back up the visual impact of your brand consistency, your physical signage should integrate seamlessly with the fixtures in your store to create an environment that gives the impression of quality. Talk to your sign company in Brighton about the kinds of high quality materials and fixtures available.

Utilising innovation: the store in store concept has been responsible for driving another innovation in retail wayfinding signage – the use of ideas from exterior architectural signage inside the store. Channel letters, more familiar from a street facade, are making their way into interior wayfinding, giving a fresh and funky urban vibe to wayfinding signs.

Light it up: low energy, high impact LED lighting is another trend that has made its way from the exterior to the interior. Halo letters are a stylish choice for interior signs, establishing a strong visual hierarchy as the customer moves through your store and creating a high quality experience.

Ask the experts

At The Sussex Sign Company, we’re experienced in getting the best possible return on investment for our clients. As wayfinding signage becomes ever more critical to retail success, it’s more important than ever to get it right. Our fully integrated service will take you from concept and design to installation – we even offer a planned preventative maintenance programme to keep your signage looking and working at its best. Looking for the best sign company in Brighton to refresh your in-store wayfinder signage? Why not give us a call on 01273 424900 and our expert team will be happy to advise you. Or email us from here

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