You won’t need reminding that we’re now weeks into the UK’s third lockdown. But the good news is that retailers are developing their retail signage strategies to woo customers back when they reopen.
Of course, the reality is that we will be living alongside the coronavirus for a while yet, but with the vaccine rollout and cases declining, all the indications are that life will be returning to some form of normality sooner rather than later. Non-essential shops, under the current plan, will be allowed to reopen from April 12, so customers and retailers alike are already preparing for this, with the latter developing their creative ideas to entice shoppers back in store.
Non-essential stores have, of course, stayed firmly shut so far this year, having been forced to close for much of last year, apart from (in some cases) click-and-collect services.
So the reopened doors are likely to make us all feel we are getting a key element of ordinary daily life back, even if rules such as wearing face masks, shopping alone (or with household members) and social distancing have to remain. Indeed, committed shopaholics are no doubt counting down the days!
Prepare for the big reopening
In the weeks ahead of the grand reopening, if you’re in retail, it may feel as though there’s little you can do but wait. However, now is actually a good time to think about updating your retail displays and signage to help welcome customers back inside stores. Get your strategy spot-on now, while you’re planning your reopening.
At Rocket Graphics, we specialise in retail signage and window signage and displays for many different independents as well as national chains. So we’ve put together this handy guide to help store owners to be all set before they’re allowed to open their doors once again.
Our top retail reopening signage strategy tips
Many of your customers will not have had a retail experience beyond the internet or the weekly supermarket run for months by the time they set foot on your premises. So a warm welcome through your retail graphics is vital whatever the size of your store – you’ll almost have to remind people of the pleasure of a real-life shopping excursion.
For some retailers, getting this element right could contribute to the chances of continued survival in a climate that was tough enough even before Covid hit.
Here are the tips our team of retail signage experts came up with:
- Giving customers a warm welcome back
Customers will be made to feel special if they return in-store to retail signage that greets them with a nice welcome and thanks them for visiting. You can think about doing this with window graphics and displays, banners and the like, and the message can be as simple as just saying ‘welcome back’.
- Incorporate positivity into your signage strategy
The last year has been incredibly hard for just about all of us, so incorporating positive messages into your retail branding can be very powerful. Consider emphasising how pleased you are to see customers back, that you have missed them, and are delighted to have reopened.
Equally, with some shoppers potentially nervous about stepping inside a real shop once more, you can stress through retail graphics that you have the measures in place to keep it a safe experience.
- Go bright and bold with retail signage
Colour draws attention, creates atmosphere, triggers emotional responses and affects mood. Ultimately, it can even have an impact on buying decisions. Bright and bold graphics just help people feel better. Alternatively, you could simply incorporate a nice, well-chosen palette of hues to complement your current retail branding. This will again lift mood, and make customers feel they have made the right decision in returning to your store.
- Creating an enjoyable shopping experience
In a tough, intensely competitive environment, retailers need to create unique, enjoyable shopping experiences if they are to thrive. There are many ways to use your retail branding to contribute to this.
One idea can be fun ‘selfie stations’, or branded areas where there are backgrounds for people take photos of themselves and their friends. Clearly, when people share their images on social media that also gives your retail brand a significant boost. Incorporate competitions into these areas to ramp up the fun and excitement factors still further.
Alternatively, sample stations where customers get to try products, or ask for advice, are another way of making the in-store experience a memorable one. Again, think bold, appealing retail graphics.
- Safety signage
Clearly, safety signs are hardly the most exciting part of retail graphics. But, as mentioned, the virus is going nowhere for a while. And the whole population won’t have been vaccinated by mid-April. So this type of retail signage still has a key role to play in keeping everyone safe, and you will need to have it in place for some time yet.
Remind shoppers to wear their masks, sanitise their hands and remain a safe distance apart. If you’re directing people in a one-way system, wayfinding signage is also important.
But these types of signs don’t have to be intrusive or purely functional. Incorporate them into the rest of your post-lockdown retail signage to create a consistent look. With this kind of signage, though, remember to stick to uncluttered, clear and unambiguous messaging about how you want visitors to behave. Finally, this type of retail signage also has to be quite durable.
- Bringing the outside inside
With gyms and workplaces shut, and more of us home-based, many have been inspired to immerse themselves in nature in their local areas over the past year. And research from Cumbria University published last August found that nature has become more important to people since the start of the pandemic. Most reported wanting to spend more time in natural surroundings in the future.
This can be extended to window displays and other retail graphics, and industries including retail are increasingly using plants and other materials in their branding.
When we designed the window displays for Selfridges for fashion label Roxy, for example, we used plants (along with surfboards!) for a vibrant, summery look.
Looking to update your retail signage and window displays?
At Rocket we’ve worked with a number of different retailers over the years, from small independent stores to prestigious High Street brands. We can help you create the window graphics and retail signage you need for these unique times, with stunning, bold and bright designs.
Get in touch today so you’re ready to welcome customers back to your retail premises.