Signs, posters, displays and other retail graphics do more than point customers to a specific product. They're a crucial part of branding, one that many retailers often overlook. In fact, these products are capable of serving multiple purposes. The International Sign Association identified three of them with what it called the ABCs of Signage. Every sign, graphic or display can and should:

  • Attract new customers.
  • Brand the business.
  • Create impulse sales.

Step B is where many businesses, particularly small ones, can really benefit – especially when it comes to attracting local customers. Each time a local customer passes or enters a store is an opportunity for that retailer to reaffirm its presence. Locals become more familiar with the business in question, increasing top-of-mind awareness.

When customers think of your brand

Consider a local clothing retailer. When a customer needs a new interview outfit, that store wants to be the first place that person thinks of. This phenomenon, where your brand is the first one a customer recalls when thinking of a specific product or service, is called top-of-mind awareness.

"Both indoor and outdoor graphics increase top-of-mind awareness."

Outdoor signs increase this awareness by repeatedly exposing potential customers to a brand, but indoor graphics and displays do the same. Posters, POP graphics and others reinforce elements like logos or branding colors and to consumers looking for the exact products the business sells.

This notion remains true even if the displays are for a different company – just as long as what's being sold is a reflection of the business. For example, a sports store using a Nike-branded display to sell that company's clothing increases top-of-mind awareness for both parties. Local customers think of Nike as the sportswear brand to buy and their local retailer as the place to get it.

Ignoring the impact of local and in-store signage is detrimental to a businesses overall customer engagement methods – even in a world of online marketing. In fact, as research from Bain & Company revealed, storefront marketing achieves a much higher collective reach than digital. As such, traditional printed graphics should remain a core part of any business's marketing strategy.