your storefront
Woman window shopping, North Beach, San Francisco, California

By Eileen O’Shanassy

Improving the effectiveness of your storefront by using its professional image involves the two vital points of display and signage. Technology has drawn our attention span down into short bursts. Sounds, images, and information now overlap, making demands of everyone’s senses. Storefronts must not only compete with this harsh noise but also lead people in away from it. The best way is to groom your storefront to refined elegance, add some splash, then make it personable. Here are some ideas to enhance your entrance and gain more foot traffic.

Displays That Dress to Impress

Telling a story sparks emotion, and emotion sells. Move shoppers to make a purchase by showing them how it will feel to present a gift, show up in a new outfit, or grab a powerful tool to tackle a tough job. Use props and movement to draw passersby into the scene. Build in holidays, seasons, or celebrations – but don’t be predictable. Another pile of frilly hearts, eggs, or generic chocolate will not inspire anyone. Change the theme often to create fresh interest and consider flavoring it with the shop’s image and branding. Creating winning window displays and grouping several items grabs more attention than isolating one or two lonely specimens. Pile on, stack up, or spill out a colorful or varied array of similar or related products. Add a text element to round out the story or prod with a call-to-action to jump on limited offers. Incorporate lighting into your display to showcase color and sparkle, then leave the spotlights beaming after hours when ambient light is dim. Your presentation will take center stage when others fade into the dark.

Signage That Speaks Volumes

Signage is undeniably the most important storefront element. Consider each aspect of every sign on display. Foremost, a sign tells customers the what and why about a product or service. Tell them what you offer and why they need it. Keep the message legible, direct, and short. Consider the target market and what appeals to them, so your message reaches a relevant mark. Determine how passersby will view the sign; walking by, driving by, window shopping, or browsing inside. Design elements include the font, color, graphics, and white space. A crucial but often overlooked element is a border, as explained in an article about creating effective signage by Identity, a public relations agency. The article states that borders can increase reading speeds by up to 25 percent which is particularly significant for signs facing street traffic. Fonts should be legible with adequate spacing. Sharply contrast lettering against the background. Use meaningful graphics, artwork, or photographs to grab attention and clarify the message. White space is any open area around the text and graphic elements. Leave plenty, but not so much the message is scattered and difficult to grasp in one glance. Remember the advice of retailing expert Bob Phibbs; include the words “you” and “yours” in content. Finally, consider adding movement and lights to signage as well as displays. Use spotlights or employ electrical display signs.

Keep it Clear

Although attracting customers and making sales is priority one, don’t forget fundamental aspects such as cleanliness, safety, and security. This consideration applies to protecting your property, people, and shoppers. Keep displays and signs away from exits and walkways. Be mindful of blocking any central line of sight. Store owners may consider a home security package or app that sends an alarm alert or allows remote viewing. This keeps your storefront professional, up-to-date, and better looking overall.

Customers respond when they see themselves using your product or service and benefiting from it. Use your written messages and displays to answer their question, “What’s in it for me?” in a manner so compelling they can’t resist. Give your storefront a professional makeover and put it to work for you.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.