The Future of Retail Signage Graphics

Innovation has taken these communication tools to a new level.



Retail signage and its many forms

Before a consumer even considers a store, the tone and expectation has been set through the use of signage.

Retail signage can be segmented into two high-level categories – indoor and outdoor. A study was undertaken by Smithers Pira Consultancy – The Future of Signage in an Electronic World to 2020 – confirmed that the indoor signage market is much larger, accounting for 72 percent of the volume output while outdoor signage accounts for 28 percent.

Traditionally, retail signage can include anything from posters, banners, and backdrops through to pop-up displays and vehicle graphics. Digitally, forward-thinking technologies have been harnessed using LCD and LED screens and enclosures, projection, and electronic billboards.

Signage has been, and remains, a critical tool in instantly communicating messages to viewers. In mere seconds a sign can seduce or warm potential customers. It can incite intrigue or provide entertainment. And of course, it creates atmosphere and emotion, delivering on a brand promise and signposting key organizational messages.


The power of a good sign

Fundamentally, retail stores must know when and how to apply their signage. At all times, the focus must be on the customer. And while many would assume that the message is key – and it most certainly is – the other elements that make up the signage are proven to significantly influence consumer responses. 

Market surveys have shown eight out of 10 consumers felt motivated to visit stores because of the signage. First impressions count. And 68 percent of those consumers agreed that the quality of the signage indicates the quality of both the company and its product.

Interestingly, an equal number of those same consumers admitted they have made a purchase purely because a sign caught their interest.

Legibility is a critical element here and possibly the most important characteristic from a consumer standpoint. Effective communications are simple communications – and marketing messages get lost when the brain has to work hard to decipher them. Again, quality is key.

From a business standpoint, 60 percent of organizations reported that changing the design or enhancing the visibility of their signage had a positive impact on:

  • Sales volume
  • The number of transactions they made, and
  • Profit.

In a nutshell, signage works.


So – just where should you be spending your marketing budget?

Smithers Pira believes that the growth of digital displays is set to have a market impact on outdoor printed PoS/signage. The total output is expected to reach 13.6 billion square meters, valued at $49.8 billion, by 2020.

With signage the most cost-effective marketing medium for retail enterprises, with an advertising impact occurring 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the opportunities to drive footfall and influence customer behavior are significant.

Facing increasing competition, innovation in an evolving landscape is critical for a retail brand to stand out. You not only need to communicate the right message but also use the right medium. This is where Canon solutions come to the fore.

With a specific focus on signage, Canon pioneered UVgel printing technology that features in our roll-to-roll printers. Used for both indoor and outdoor signage, the UV curable ink provides large format printers with an unprecedented combination of:

  • Productivity and speed
  • Image quality
  • Application range
  • Automation, and
  • Operational economy.

Where other printing processes have significant limitations, our ink instantly gels on contact with the media, providing incredible quality regardless of size. It’s the fastest in the market and, being non-toxic, has a positive environmental impact.

What does this mean for retailers? Agility. The ability to pivot and get in front of consumers before your competitors do. Because with almost 50% of print orders needing to be turned around within 24 hours, our print technology is a game-changer, setting the pace and expectations of the industry.

As a leader in the digital graphics markets, Canon solutions are specifically designed to support retailers in connecting and personalizing consumer interactions and transactions. It’s all about using your brand message to take control of your customer experience, build stronger consumer relationships, drive customer interest, and influence consumer behavior.

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