Capturing Shoppers’ Attention—Best Practices for Effective Grocery Store Signage

Your customers are standing in the aisle of your store. Maybe they have a shopping list to guide them, or maybe they’re winging it. Either way, you, with the power of stock and custom signage, you can direct their shopping experience. But what makes a useful, effective sign? In a grocery or retail store full of visual stimuli, the right sign can be the difference between graphic clutter and successful sales.

According to Paco Underhill, author of “Why We Buy,” signage has about four seconds to prove to a shopper that the item is worthy of their consideration. That’s a narrow window—and a lot of pressure. But, with an effective sign, and a well-executed strategy, it’s a mission that’s within reach.

Use Fonts Enhance Grocery Store Sign Readability 

You only have four seconds to capture a shopper’s attention. That means the font you choose for your point of purchase signage has to be easily read—simple and large. Once you’ve found the font that passes the four-second test – and I do encourage you to test it out – use it to standardize the signage across your store to create a consistent look. But beware of all caps—that can be interpreted as yelling.

Color Codes for Grocery Store Signage

Customers are quick to catch on to anything that adds ease to their shopping experience, which makes color coding an effective strategy for guiding customers to products throughout your store. When you color code your grocery store signage, customers will quickly learn what each color means. Use one color for your weekly sale signs, another for information signs and yet another for in-store specials. You’ll draw customers down each grocery aisle with signs they recognize instantly by color. Once you’ve drawn them to where you want them, introduce them to other products, marked by a different color sign. When considering colors, always avoid using light colors, including yellow, on a white background. Your color coding won’t carry any weight if it is too difficult to read.

When it’s time to pull down weekly grocery store sales signs, color coding also works to your benefit by highlighting the signage that should be removed or swapped for new ones.

Use Concise Messaging Throughout Your Grocery Store Signage

Stick to the basics. Select a specific value to highlight – price, a new product, the short duration of a sale, brief preparation tips or a suggested use – and communicate clearly so your customer quickly and clearly understands the information being conveyed. Remember, you only have about four seconds to capture a customer’s interest, so use it wisely.

Reduce Clutter

Less is always more. If every item in a section has a sign, none will stand out. With fewer signs, the items you really want to sell will pop off the shelves. Walk through the store yourself, or enlist a friend or family member to help. Do the signs capture your attention, or confuse you? Are they difficult to miss as you walk through the store? Take a look from a fresh perspective.

Create Urgency Across Grocery Store Signage

A sense of urgency is something that few curious people can resist, and triggering that sense of urgency through limited-time promotions can make impulse buying more compelling. If a sign indicates a limited-time or exclusive opportunity, a consumer is more inclined to go off-list and make an impulse purchase. And moving more product from shelf to cart is precisely the goal.

Fresh and Accurate Grocery Store Signage

A sign that says “Last Chance” is intriguing to customers and can encourage them to move that product from the shelf to their cart. But, if you leave a sign that says “This Week Only” on the shelf for three months, the sign has lost its impact, and you’ve harmed your integrity in the process. A sign that has been in the same place for months becomes part of a shopper’s routine, which means it no longer disrupts their routine. Remember, when we disrupt a shopper’s routine, we capture their attention and encourage impulse buying.

If you need to highlight a product more consistently, rotate it to a new location with a new sign to give it some fresh appeal. Make sure to avoid misspelled words and other inaccuracies which will detract from the intended message. And replace old, dirty or torn signs, stat!