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Is my shop sign really that important?

The top five ways effective signs increase profits

Whether your ‘sign’ is above the door, on the web or at the top of a letterhead, it’s worth getting it right. Because getting it wrong will lose custom, whereas getting it right will increase profit.

Here are my top five ways that signs can increase your profit: 

  1. Stand out from the crowd

You need to differentiate yourself from the others who do the same as you. And don’t tell me there isn’t anyone. If I had £5 for every time I heard that, I’d be writing this from my beach house in Mystique! 

Your competition is anyone who your potential customer might go to instead of you. Anywhere they can get a product or service that they think will fulfil their need or solve their problem.

So, you need to stand out. Whether that’s on the high street or on the internet, you need to look and say something different. The graphics on your sign, logo and website all help you do this. Whether it’s a moving sign or a sandwich board, it’s all about grabbing attention. Think about how you can entice the opportunistic shopper as well as your, brand faithful, existing customer.

  1. Reinforce your brand

Whatever type of sign you have, it’s usually a 24/7 opportunity to reinforce your brand values. So, make sure the graphics, colours, tone of voice and font are right.

For the majority of your customers, the walk to work is the same every day. Everytime they go to the bank, the supermarket or the train station, they go the same way. Humans are creatures of habit. Imagine how many times they will see your sign. Every time they do, your brand is reinforced. When they need what you sell, your brand is the first one they’ll recall. It will be your door they walk through first. 

For a high street business, 85% of your customers, even in the age of the Internet, live within 5 miles of your premises - they will see your signs on average 50 to 60 times a month. *

  1. Tell them you’re open

Here's a perfect example from last week: at 8.30 one morning I was standing outside a café waiting for it to open. How did I know it was closed? The owner had only just arrived, the team were just putting out tables and the closed sign was still on the door. 

At least three other customers had hung around outside with me, given up and left. I began to think it was strange they weren’t open earlier because people usually need to grab their morning caffeine fix on the way to work. The time was now 8.55am.  

A member of staff walked past me and walked straight in, so I thought I’d follow, eager to sit down and start working on my latest project. 

“Are you open”, I asked. 

“Yes” said the barista. 

“Oh, your sign says you’re closed”.

 “Oh, right.” He said. 

So, being the kind soul that I am (and a pedant when it comes to running a business), I flipped the sign to open for him! 

The café lost three customers that morning. And most likely, more. All of those customers have friends and family. They might live in the city and come out to eat on a regular basis, they might work locally and have work colleagues they go out to lunch with. They might even have been buying their team coffees that morning. At the very least, they will be disappointed about not being able to grab their coffee, they will definitely tell someone. 

  1. Show them where you are

This is basic: if you’re a bricks and mortar store, customers need to know where you are. They may have found your brand online, be a customer at another branch or shopped at a competitor. Whatever the reason, they need to be able to find you, they need to be able to look down the road and see where you are.

Three in 10 people do not know you exist if you have no shopfront signage. *

  1. Advertise what you do

Signage is the most cost-effective way of describing what you do. The sign is always there, on display 365 days a year. 

For example, we all know that Boots is a chemist but if we didn’t their sign would tell us. And the signs in the window promote products and services the business has strategically decided they want to sell more of.

So, that’s my top five – what are yours? Does your sign do all of these things? If you’re not sure, get in touch at

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