Business and Operations
Effective Signs Can Boost Sales
By Diane Chiasson
Placement and style of signs can make or break a customer’s decision to buy
By Diane Chiasson
Proper signage and point-of-sale (POS) materials can help increase sales and impulse buys dramatically if you do a good job with them.
Clean, colourful signage plays a critical role in determining which baked goods a consumer will purchase, especially since research has proven that most customers enter a bakery or foodservice operation without a solid plan of what they intend to buy.
Here are a few ways to create or improve signage and POS programs that will help increasing your sales right away.
Set a Goal and a Budget
Since you obviously can’t put a sign on every product in your bakery, you need to prioritize the categories or items you wish to highlight. Develop a commitment to your overall signage strategy, and be consistent with it. It is also important to set aside a budget that is solely dedicated to your signage and POS program, as it is something that needs to be constantly changed and updated. Some operators make their own signs and do a poor job.
Use Signs to Convey Price and Brand Identity
All signage should be consistent in size, layout and typeface, and should complement your bakery’s image and brand. Your logo should appear on all of your signs and POS materials (ideally, in the same place, such as always in the lower right-hand corner). The most successful companies use memorable images that help keep their brands dominant in the minds of consumers.
Use signs to give your customers the information they want to know, but might be too shy or busy to ask. At the very least, your signage must clearly and quickly convey pricing information, and reinforce brand identification.
Use the Right Size, Position
The size of your signage and POS materials can make a big difference to the overall message you want to send. Signs that are too big can be overwhelming for customers. Signs that are too small may be hard to read. Your signs should be placed at eye level so customers do not have to crane their necks to read your offer. For smaller POS materials, make sure your signs are placed next to the products you are selling so there is no confusion as to which products the signs refer to.
Signage also needs to be placed in the right spot. If the name of your bakery is placed above a window or awning, it may not be visible to potential customers walking by. Consider putting your logo on the front door and hanging a banner perpendicular to the storefront. Banners move around in the wind, which helps attract attention. Also, place your signs in unexpected locations such as the ceiling, restrooms, parking lot or any other spot in your operation where customers are bound to look. However, don’t get overzealous with your signs. Be strategic.
Keep it Simple and Easy for Staff to Change
Since a large chunk of your clientele are probably regulars, it is crucial to update your signage and POS materials often so as to highlight and rotate items you would like to push. In this case, a chalkboard might do as well as the most technologically advanced digital signage. Handwritten and hand-drawn signs tend to convey freshness, which is vital in the bakery industry. When a chalkboard is framed in wood or metal, it truly conveys a message of old-time European warmth and freshness that psychologically enhances the experience for your customers. Just make certain that you keep the chalkboards clean, and that the writing is clear, concise and consistent.
Whether you choose chalk art, printouts or a digital board, the signage program you choose should be kept simple. It should also be easy for your staff to change and update by themselves without destroying the integrity and direction of your signage program. If you choose to make handwritten signs, have the same person on your staff be responsible for writing all the signs, so that the handwriting is consistent throughout your store.
Use Bright Colours, Graphics
Colours are critical, especially when shoppers are tired or are in a rush. You need to use bright colours to attract attention. Another benefit from using a chalkboard is that you can use a variety of brightly coloured chalks like yellow, green, blue, white and pink, which really stand out on a black background.
By adding graphics, you can help customers save time on reading by identifying products via a picture, or you can tantalize your customers with pictures that will make their mouths water. Most people can’t resist buying an extra treat for themselves or for their family if it looks good enough.
Keep IT Clean and Current
The sign outside your store is the first impression customers get of your operation. Make sure that your sign is clean, fresh and positive. If your sign is dirty, has missing letters or lights that are burned out, it gives the impression that your bakery does not care about itself, and therefore, will not care about its customers. Make sure that your signs are always updated and accurate. Market only those promotions that you are currently offering or will be offering.
Review these easy-to-implement tips to evaluate how effective your current signs and POS materials are. A few simple tweaks may be all your bakery needs to bring in extra sales. / BJ
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit