Over the past 20 years, online stores have changed the way that we shop. You probably know someone that buys everything online because it is easy, and it arrives in a package on their doorstep two days later—no need to get dressed or leave the house. As threatening as this shopping style may sound for brick-and-mortar retailers, they have not lost the battle. However, they may need to step up their game to highlight the advantages they offer shoppers.
The Shopping Experience
Retail stores offer an experience that no dot com can. They are a feast for the senses. Rather than viewing products on a five-inch phone screen, you see the true colors and feel textures, full-size and three-dimensional. You can touch them and even try things on. This immersive experience leads shoppers to buy things they never intended to buy. These split-second decision purchases, known as impulse buys, happen surprisingly often as customers browse. What drives these impulses? Quite often, they are the result of strategic advertising.
Marketing your brand and products to draw customers into your store is not the end goal. The ultimate achievement is selling your product to them, and it involves continuing to advertise from the time they lay eyes on the store until they walk out the door again, purchases in hand.
As customers approach your store, the windows are one of the first things they see. They not only allow a sneak peek into what you are selling, but they can serve as outward-facing signs. Window graphics can take up the whole window or just a portion, allowing customers to see your display as well. Because they are easy to change, you can use window graphics for advertising sales and inventory changes. Every shopper loves a great deal and seeing a 40% off sign on the window could be enough to get them in the door.
LED displays are unique, eye-catching signs because they combine color and light. These displays can be single or double-sided. When used as the backdrop for a window display, they draw attention while simultaneously lighting up the scene. The display design can portray branding, logos, or information on current promotions. Inside the store, backlit displays can light a blank wall or spruce up existing pillars, replacing the obstruction with relevant product advertising.
Products printed larger than life on wood, plastic, glass, or metal create a unique experience for the customer. They instantly create a social media moment. After all, who doesn’t want their picture taken with a giant doughnut? Your super-sized display is a light-hearted way to draw attention and promote sales.
If you consider what is printed on the ground you walk on, you may come up with crosswalks, directional signs, or the boundaries of a sports field – all very functional printing. Many retailers used large format printing to inform customers about social distancing requirements and line directions during the pandemic.
However, floor graphics can be decorative and fun while serving a purpose. For retail stores with two floors, adding graphics to the risers on the stairs can serve as an intriguing invitation to climb them and see what is upstairs. Malls often use colorful floor graphics to create play spaces for children to get their wiggles out during long shopping trips. Retailers can apply this idea to children’s areas of department stores. A hopscotch board or colorful footsteps on the ground could keep kids close while a parent is shopping.
While too much color can be a bad thing, blank walls are not all that interesting either. Covering a whole wall to create a decorative backdrop for your products can set the tone for your store. When it comes to wall graphics, you almost can’t go too big. Picture an outdoor retailer selling camping and fishing equipment in front of a floor-to-ceiling picture of a cabin in the mountains with a stream running by. The image helps you picture yourself there camping and fishing. It pulls at your desire to buy the product, hoping that you can go on that trip.
Similarly, wall murals of models wearing company clothing illustrate just how you could look in the same clothes. It is almost as if you are looking in a full-length mirror. Combined with gallery-style spotlights, these wall murals are a very effective form of product advertising.
You can’t go wrong with large format advertising, but you can always improve its effectiveness by following these tips.
Tip 1: Keep it Brief – Customers browsing your store or waiting to check out won’t take the time to read a long narrative. However, a large sign that reads, “Clearance,” “Earn Bonus Points,” or “Buy One Get One” quickly and clearly communicates your offer.
Tip 2: Placement – In-store advertising is most effective when you situate it between the customer and the checkout. Know the routes that customers take as they navigate the store and place advertising along heavily trafficked routes to increase the number of people it reaches.
Tip 3: Be Persuasive – By the time your customer arrives at the checkout, arms full of clothing, they may not be looking to spend any more money. The offer you give them at checkout has to be tempting. It should offer them something specific that they find appealing.
Large format advertising is a clear way for retail stores to set themselves apart from their online counterparts. It creates a sensory experience that invites customers to purchase products based on what they see and feel while shopping in your store. Due to advances in technology, large format printing can generate stunning pictures with vibrant colors that will bring your store to life, increasing sales in the process.