The Science of Selling: Shaping the Shopping Experience with Better Signage

By Tom Moseman

Senior Vice President, Envirosell

Signage is your “information architecture.” How you deploy signage in a retail environmentis an important part of how you communicate with your clientele–and how well you sell. People today are time-crunched. Too much signage means less vital information will be retained. Attention spans won’t go beyond 140 characters in the Era of Twitter.

Less Is More, Keep It Simple

Signs are communication, so keep things simple. Too many signs creates information clutter. Just give people the information they really need.

Tips for Better Signage
  • Keep wording short and simple.
  • Avoid technical jargon.
  • Keep directional signs at eye level where they will be seen.
  • Keep all elements of typography–type color, size and fonts–uniform in all signage.
  • If you use POP counter cards and posters, only use them if you sell the merchandise shown. Posters are sales vehicles, not wallpaper.

Directional signage clearly indicates next steps on the client’s journey. You can’t be too blatant. A good example: A major clothing retailer didn’t think signage to direct people to fitting rooms was needed. Videotapes proved otherwise.

Locations in your space might seem obvious, but you still need to be blatant.You might have an optometry degree or technical certifications, but your customers do not. Use plain language that people will understand.

Mind the Signs, Three Kinds of Them

Most retail environments need three levels of signage–directional, sectional and particular. Your choice of signage helps control the experience your patients or customers will have in your dispensary.

Signagehas a science. Think of how interstate highways inform us. Green rectangles indicate exits and important directions. Blue rectangles give information about services at exits. A red octagon will always make people stop, even if you write “GO” on it.

You can recreate a similar information architecture in your dispensary. Use the same shapes and sizes for one level of signage, and then a uniform shape and size for the other levels. That is, don’t use rectangles, squares and triangles for the same level of signage.

Directional signage makes it obvious where someone will find sunglasses or contact lenses or the exam room. Once there, the secondary signage relays simple information they need, for example, “Men’s Frames” versus “Women’s Frames” versus “Unisex.”

The signs on this frame display say:
“We carry a wide variety of designer frames.”

“Signage applied with a firehose.” Too many signs
at the same height dilutes the message entirely.

Women are professional shoppers who will shop anywhere, including a men’s department. However, men behave differently and wouldn’t want to even be caught buying in a women’s department. A woman’s frame that might appeal to men in a unisex way is unlikely to fit them anyway, as women’s frames are smaller. Simple signage makes choices clear by letting customes know exactly where they are when selecting merchandise.

Particular signage happens at the merchandise level. In an electronics store, this is where you could get the specifics of the actual item to be purchased. This is also where some stores give too many technical details, and pertinent details you really need, like different model numbers on ink cartridges, get lost.

In the dispensary area, you might not have any signage on a frame board. Consider smaller signs that further break down selections in a larger frame area by brands, types or material (e.g., safety eyewear, titanium, vintage). Unless there’s a clear label on demo lenses, some extra information might be needed. Older patients will have trouble reading the tiny type that appears on a frame’s temples. If additional sizes or colors are available but not displayed, giving that information might keep them from walking.

Sell Benefits, Not Attributes

Yourpatients want to know potential purchase benefits. Technical details are often meaningless. If you have a lens demo area, people need to know how a polarized lens reduces glare, not that it uses a great new science. Your particular signage is a great way to explain to someone why they need to purchase this option, not just tell them what it is.

Remember: You control the signage, and good signs help train yourpatients and shape good office experiences.

Read our first article in this series on The Science of Selling: Discover Your Decompression Zone.

Tom Mosemanis senior vice president of Envirosell and can be reached



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