Empowerment at Floor Level – Flexible Signage and Display
Nimble. Flexible. Responsive. These are the buzzwords of today’s brand and retailer. These characteristics drive brand websites, social media pages, inventory management, and even employee teams. But are you optimizing the nimbleness and responsiveness of the flexible signage and display on your selling floor? Or do you put up signs only to leave them in place– unchanged– for the next week, month or season? If so, you’re creating a lost opportunity on your sales floor. Store management and sales staff that are empowered with flexible signage and display are your secret weapon in “talking” to your customer. Click To Tweet
Shopper personas vary, and so should your signs
Street traffic flows in one direction during morning rush hour, and the opposite way at 5pm. Domestic travelers tend toward morning and late afternoon flights, while international passengers fill airports in the evening. Tuesday’s midday shopper is different from Saturday’s. As much as we tend to group shoppers into broad categories, the reality is that shopper personas vary, depending on the time, day and month in question.
You’ll hardly find a teen or young professional in-store during work and school hours, but that’s exactly when you get foot traffic from stay-at-home parents and seniors. Conversely, come the weekend, though everyone is out and about, it’s millennials and Gen Z’ers who swarm stores to cram their shopping into two precious days. Flexible signage and display will resonate with who is shopping at that moment.
Compare signage and display to that other form of promotion: ad buys. Whether it’s traditional or social media, ad buys and ad rotations are geared to the people watching at any given moment. The advertisers that run ads on NBC during Megyn Kelly Todayat 9am are not the same ones that buy time during Saturday Night Live. Signage and display can and should be similarly targeted. And contrary to what many businesses think, flexible signage and display can be easy and economical.
Adaption: survival based on fit
Whether your signage of choice is a smart sign holder or a chalkboard, your messaging and promotion can easily adapt tothe time and day. It’s simple to swipe, wipe and write on a blackboard. It’s quick to pull a placard from a pool of signs in a smart holder. It’s a breeze to roll signs and displays that are on wheels. Lesson: it’s wise to target your customer.
Leverage hourly and daily sales data and sales staff observations to decide which signs and which products should get the spotlight and when. Rolling displays can be easily swapped from the middle of the store to the front. Signs featuring the daily special can be changed throughout the day. In airports, where retail growth is exploding, store managers simply turn signs to have the appropriate language front-facing based on passenger traffic. One side of the sign can be English, the other Japanese, Spanish, Chinese or Russian – the signs speak the customers’ language. When you equip stores with signage and displays that are flexible, you empower each location to tailor their messaging and promotionsto their unique customer patterns.
Respond to variations in traffic flow and lighting
There’s a distinct pattern to foot traffic in urban locations. Crowds could be heading uptown in the morning, and downtown at the end of day. Rather than have all window signage parallel to the street, a slight turn of a sign or display to face the oncoming hoards can generate much more engagement. It’s astounding what a few degrees can do. But you can get even more tailored in your approach.
Lighting plays a big role in a display’s effectiveness. Let’s revisit the example of morning versus end of day. A sign that is eye-catching in bright suncan be practically invisible in dim light. It’s just like the electronic GPS built into your car: the map background changes based on the amount of light. Reversible signs enable your staff to select the side that generates the greatest visibility based on light conditions. Flexible signage and display shines no matter the weather or time of day.
Build in flexibility
Displays can be tailored to any locale. However, the absolute optimal time to think about signage and display programs is during a build-out. Much thought is given to merchandising and decorative fixtures during the store design phase, but promotional or informational signage are often considered afterthe store is set to open. With advance planning, space, traffic patterns, and display fixtures can be factored in. We can’t tell you how many retailers and brands have build-out remorse when they realize that a rocking signage displayhas to be passed up because the correctpermanent sign infrastructure isn’t in place.
Build up the power of sales staff
All these ideas are not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. They are simple to implement when (and this is a really important when!) your sales staff is empowered to make changes based on their observations and sales data. When it comes to signage and display, give your staff the authority to move, switch and select. But first give them training. The most effective signage and display programs are those that include a training component. Explain to staff how each element works, the thought behind the options,and how to implement. Make them a thinking part of the team, rather than an automated implementer.
Encourage risk taking
Give your staff one more key element: permission to take risks and to try something new. If you would A/B test the subject line of your email, why wouldn’t you consider letting your staff change up displays based on shopper behavior? If you would tweak your social media paid ad campaign based on response to keywords, why wouldn’t you let a store manager adjust the day’s specials?
Your signage and display program is an extension of all your promotion, and as such, needs to be responsive. Many businesses are under the impression that ‘responsive’is a term reserved for digital and electronic. It’s not. Responsive also means empowering those closest to your customer – your floor sales staff – to make decisions,and giving them the tools for success.
For more than 50 years, Medallion Retail has been putting the power of signage and display into the hands of leading brands and retailers. Let us help you create a signage program that is flexible, nimble and responsive. Email Michael Decker at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 212-929-9130, or check out our portfolio at medallionretail.com.