Poor Signage Affecting Your Bottom-Line

a broken sign, though hilarious, may drive away customers

Original articles found in Sign Media and North American Signs

Too many companies today are advertising their way out of business with low-quality signage. Unfortunately, their owners do not seem to realize the highly negative impact such signs can cause.

A recent, large-scale study conducted by James J. Kellaris, the Gemini chair of signage and visual marketing of the Linder College of Business at the University of Cincinnati (UC) helped to illustrate the substantial importance of high-quality signage to a customer-facing business. The study found consumers frequently infer the quality of a business from the quality of its signage—e.g. its state of repair —and that perception often affects their buying decisions.

Indeed, the initial quality inference often determines whether or not the consumer will enter the place of business for his/her first time. Consistently attracting new foot traffic is critically important for the profitability of retail stores, among other types of businesses.

In the context of the study, ‘quality’ refers not only to the physical condition of a sign, but also its overall design and utility. Legibility, for example, is an important element in consumers’ perception of quality, with 81.5% of participants in the study reporting frustration and annoyance when sign text is too small to read.

In a study conducted by Brand Spark/ Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper Study, 40% of consumers say that they have made quality assumptions based on a store having clear and attractive language. In the same study, 80% of consumers agree that in addition to identifying a business, signs can convey the personality or character of the business.

According to Kellaris, 35.8% of respondents have been drawn into an unfamiliar store because of the quality of its signage. If a business can lose half of that potential new foot traffic due to low-quality signage, as the study suggests, then the lost sales revenue could become a fast track to bankruptcy.

So for you sign companies out there, it’s important that you convey these statistics to your customers. Just as clothing is not only a means to cover oneself and keep warm, but are also a reflection of our personalities, so too are signs. Just going as far having a sign in good working condition will ensure that customers are not being scared away.