Retail Signage: Examples of How Not To Talk To Your Customers [Pics]

Bob Phibbs
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When you are coming up with signage for your retail store, you must be careful you don't upset customers unknowingly. As a retail speaker I'm asked to help demystify merchandising and retail signage so audience members can create kick-butt displays that sell. I reveal the nine types of displays, what makes them different and how to use them.

Discover how to craft a retail merchandising plan with this comprehensive primer

What is it about signs? They should be short, informational, welcoming and clear; especially in smaller retailers, regional chains and Main Street boutiques.

Instead we find ones that are confusing or meant to stop or inhibit customers which creates a negative energy in the store.

And more importantly, thwarts your efforts to build retail sales.

Wrong item with sign (Hanger sale sign with a pallet of air conditioners.)

retail sales tips

Reusing old branded Lucite holders. (Anyone for fresh brewed soup…)

retail sign examples

Doors often tell us it is NOT a good place to shop.

retail signage tips

Wishy-washy guarantees

retail signs to use

An annoyed manager adds plenty at the register

customer service tips

Signs for employees posted in public

signs for retail employees

Signs on top of signs

signage for retail stores

Plastering the exterior with signs

exterior retail signs

People you hope will read this won’t, those who do will be annoyed.

cellphone signage retail

Scolding customers not to touch doesn’t make them want to buy

signs in stores

Again, scolding parent signs are rarely read and only distance you from real customers

how not to sign in a store

Confusing signage to all but whoever came up with this.


Choose images wisely. Because after all, you want to feel like a snail? Yuk


Silly offers. All that for 50 cents off? Too many colors and messages.

signage in a retail store tips

This was a 24×36″ sign posted at the front of a hat store. In other words: don’t bother us.


You want to stand out?

Don't give the wrong person access to your printer.

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