Retail Sign Language - Medallion Retail
Strategy, Creativity, Signage, In-Store Marketing, Retail Display

Retail Sign Language

POSTED ON: 10/13/15 Retail Signage

Here are two quotes that address the ever-amorphous shape of our language, and the evolution of specific words in our lexicon:

“The language is perpetually in flux: it is a living stream, shifting, changing, receiving new strength from a thousand tributaries, losing old forms in the backwaters of time.”

“I had a sharing moment with that horrible troll – the one who lives under the Market Street bridge – alerting him yet again that it was a viral thing that was causing his hacking, and that Spam was the only cure. But the guy is so status conscious that he kept interrupting me to chat about his engagement to that wood nymph. Yeah, like that relationship isn’t going to stumble and burn.”

I know. Powerful stuff.

The first quote is, of course, by author E.B. White from The Elements of Style. The second is mine. You see what I did up there, right? I brought a scenario to life using currently popular words in their pre-digital context. (Mr. White wrote something about rivers and streams and backwash.)

Media, marketing and pop culture have changed the meanings of hundreds of words in our vocabulary. These are common words that existed for generations with a single, specific meaning, but now carry a new complexity of depth and definition. Think about “bandwidth,” “mention,” “stream” and “friend.”

And browser. Retail marketing is awash in words with new meanings. It makes perfect sense, since retail is one of the industries most affected by digital technology. The words have indeed changed, along with the concepts of engagement, shopper input, branding, loyalty, customer experience, integration, service and signage.

So what does all this mean?

That retail marketers must take inspiration from freshly defined nomenclature and recast our most basic tools in innovative ways. Understand clearly what the shopper wants, and then surprise her with an in-store marketing classic totally reimagined.  I wrote about redefining displays a few weeks ago. But what about endcaps? Floor talkers?  Loyalty programs?

Or signage? Signs don’t have to be relegated to any one area of the store, and no rule demands that they always be printed on vinyl or corrugated. They don’t even have to hang on the wall. Anything goes, as long as the signage informs, directs, explains, engages or showcases.

Use shopper experience as a jumping-off point; explore how something as simple as signage can be elevated to a level that feeds customer interaction and satisfaction. To get those thoughts started, here are 43 things store signage can also be:

  1. Backdrops
  2. Alerts
  3. Special Announcements
  4. How-Tos
  5. Tour Guides
  6. Sculptures
  7. Maps
  8. Visual Puns
  9. Symbols
  10. Conversation Starters
  11. Take-one Pads
  12. Beacons (the digital kind)
  13. Beacons (the “draw a shopper in” kind)
  14. Welcome Mat
  15. Traffic Cops
  16. Artistic Statements
  17. Sales Associates
  18. Philosophers
  19. Brand Advocates
  20. Focal Points
  21. Social Media Showcases
  22. Calling Cards
  23. Prop
  24. Soapboxes
  25. Invitations
  26. Storytellers
  27. Space Dividers
  28. Comedians
  29. 3D Adventures
  30. Tactile Experiences
  31. Creativity Prompters
  32. Opinion Gatherers
  33. Window Shades
  34. Coupon Centers
  35. Light Sources
  36. Town Criers
  37. Menus
  38. Warnings
  39. Focus Walls
  40. Clothes Hangers
  41. Projections
  42. Confirmations
  43. Optical Illusions
Share this Article:

Ready to connect to your customers in a more meaningful way?