If you want to learn about the impact that signs have on a business, you have to look to America. In the US, universities, businesses and trade organisations undertake significant research into the ways that signage affects consumers. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the surprising statistics that this throws up and the implications it has for using signs.
Whilst it would be more helpful to have UK research statistics, any research done here appears to be kept under wraps. This is hardly surprising. If the US statistics are anything to go by, knowing the impact that signs have could give you a serious advantage over your competitors. However, the similarities between the UK and US consumer habits are such, that signs are likely to have the same effect on consumers over here as they do in America. With that in mind, here’s what the US research tells us.
1. External signs have been proven to attract new customers
According to research undertaken by Fed-Ex and Ketchum Global Research, 76% of shoppers have visited a store they had never been in before simply because of the external sign. Data from the International Sign Association (ISA) also tells us that external signs are responsible for half of all new customers.
The conclusion we can draw from this is that an effective outdoor sign can increase your visitor numbers. If you don’t yet have an external sign, this should be a good enough reason to persuade you. If you’re not convinced, then perhaps the fact that 60% of shoppers find the lack of a sign a deterrent to entering a business premises, might make you reconsider.
2. Signs improve your sales
If you invest in signage, you want a return on that investment. The good news is that research shows that signs can improve your sales. 60% of consumers in the Fed-Ex research said that they had bought a product or service because they had been attracted to it by a sign. Even better, according to Visual Logistix, point of sale signs can increase add-on purchases by as much as 70%.
So, not only do signs increase visitor numbers, they also help you sell more products and then cross-sell at the checkout, too.
3. The quality of your signage affects customer perception
Not all signs are effective. Over 50% of consumers surveyed by Fed-Ex claimed that poor signage had put them off entering a business premises. Poor signage included bad spelling, old and tatty signs, obscured signs and those that were just badly designed or manufactured.
The quality of your sign also has an impact on your business’ reputation. Almost 70% of consumers think that the quality of your signage reflects the quality of your products and services. So, if your signs are shoddy, it’s likely that customers will spend their money elsewhere.
In this sense, you can see how important signs are to your company’s branding: the two are directly linked in the mind of the shopper. If you are going to invest in a sign, get it done by a specialist sign making company.
4. Improving the quality of your signs improves your sales
According to research from the Economic Centre at the University of Cincinnati, 60% of companies stated that improving the design and quality of their signage and making it more visible to customers helped improve sales. The companies that invested in these enhancements saw profits increase by an average of 10%.
5. Legibility is crucial
The single most important element of any sign, both for businesses and consumers, was legibility. The easier it was to read, the greater its effectiveness. Legibility, however, did not just boil down to the style of font used on signs. Font size dictated how legible the text was over longer distances, the contrast between the background and font colour affected how clearly the text could be seen and, for street signage, the use of illuminated signs dramatically improved legibility at night and in poor light.
If you are going to update your signage, it makes sense, therefore, that improving legibility is put at the top of your list of priorities.
6. Good signage has a word of mouth effect
One surprising finding from the Fed-Ex research is that eye-catching signage has a knock-on effect. 75% of consumers reported having told others about a business simply because of its sign. In this sense, a sign not only affects those who see it, but also those they know. If someone is asking friends if they know of a particular type of business, someone who has seen a relevant sign can pass that information on. However, this is only likely to happen if the sign signifies quality.
The research undertaken in the US can help businesses in the UK assess the effectiveness of their own signs. The lessons we learn are these:
- All signs need to be of a quality that matches your brand identity and which appeals to consumers.
- Removing poor quality signs and repositioning their replacements for better visibility can significantly improve profits.
- External signs (including facias, banners, window graphics, post and panel, monolith and illuminated signs) can increase customer numbers and sales. The same can be said of vehicle signs.
- Internal signs, especially at PoS, can improve sales.
If you need high-quality signage to increase your customer numbers and improve sales, check out our product range to see how ESP Signs can create the perfect sign for you.