Four Avoidable Holiday Signage Mistakes - Medallion Retail
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Four Avoidable Holiday Signage Mistakes

POSTED ON: 11/28/17 signage mistakes

A couple of days ago (on I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-Doing-This Sunday, which I just invented to fall between Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday), I ventured out into retail world to do some basic marketing reconnaissance. I saw some decent displays, bumped into more than a few lost-looking shoppers, scored an Instant Pot and observed some cringe-worthy signage mistakes.

The numbers are still coming in, but it looks like the 2017 holiday shopping season is off to a good start. GlobalData’s preliminary tracking figures have already predicted total Black Friday sales to have risen the most since 2011. The National Retail Federation (NRF) is calling for an increase as much as 4 percent.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that many of the stores I visited already looked tired and worn. The problem was unnecessary signage mistakes.

Rookie Signage Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Holiday Business

Way, way, way, way way too many words.

Effective signs will relay simple, concise messages to shoppers. In-store promotional signage needs to clearly indicate exactly which products are on sale and the price. Additional information, such as specific dates the sale price is available, the original price or the percentage of savings, can also be added.

Too much information on a sign looks cluttered and distracting. It also means shoppers are spending more time reading and less time adding items to their carts. When possible, exclude the need for fine print from your promotional deals so it doesn’t need to be expressed on a sign. (If it is absolutely necessary, make it be short and direct.)


Trying to make it work just one more year.

Recycling paper, plastic, glass and aluminum: good! Re-using and recycling old signage: bad![bctt tweet=”Recycling paper, plastic, glass and aluminum: good! Re-using and recycling old signage: bad!” username=”medallionretail”]

All in-store signage should look new. If signs are weathered, torn or even slightly dirty, it makes the entire store appear frumpy and cheap. Plus, you might still have prices and promo dates listed on the old signs that don’t pertain to your current sales. This is the most frustrating of signage mistakes; hugely damaging and so easy to avoid.


Artistic form over function.

Intricate, over-stylized typefaces and smaller font sizes can be artistically appealing. They can also be hugely annoying for those shoppers who don’t have the 20/20 vision or the interest to decipher your beautiful hieroglyphics.

In-store signage should always be in a clear, easy-to-read typeface of larger size. Draw shoppers in with intricate displays, unexpected details and intriguing interaction – not squint-inducing signage.



Update all signage, from wall-length banners to the smallest of sales stickers, whether you slightly alter a logo or completely overhaul the brand.

Shoppers notice (oftentimes not even consciously) even the most minor of details; a color that seems off, competing fonts, a re-shaped logo. Updating signage to match new concepts and campaigns shouldn’t be an afterthought. It is mandatory.

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