Does your micro market signage follow best practice strategies?

Sept. 30, 2021

“There is one good reason to make sure that your micro market signage is conforming to best practice retail strategies,” said Steve Orlando, cofounder of Fixturelite, the industry’s leading supplier of micro market retail displays, equipment and design tools. “Proper signage translates to added revenue by creating customer loyalty as a result of brand awareness.”

Plenty of room for improvement

“You don’t have to look very far for micro markets that are likely being implemented that have inconsistencies, irregular fonts, images that don’t correlate to the products being offered, or no branding at all related to the service provider. The possibilities seem endless. That is why we talked about signage in the video that we shot for the NAMA Show, Conquering the New Micro Market Frontier – A Discussion About Design.”  

Some signage guidance from Fixturelite

Here are some highlights from that NAMA presentation that relate specifically to signage:

  • Signage should be purposeful, informative and have a call to action.
  • Nonessential information, such as graphics for the sole purpose of filling up the space, should be avoided.
  • Avoid putting the word, “drinks” on a glass front cooler.
  • Signs that say “check out” or “snacks” are simply not needed.
  • Avoid putting the client’s company name and logo on every piece of equipment. Here is a an alternate method.

Some signage guidance from Translucent LLC CEO Patty Closser

  • Too many signs are like background noise, and people will tune them out. Create and place as few as possible and make them short and sweet.
  • Laminate your signage so it maintains a professional appearance over time.
  • Do not block products with signs. If hanging signage on fixtures or refrigerator doors, keep them small and in a corner or toward an edge. Semi-transparent clings are okay.
  • If you must give basic instructions, they should be reaffirming the good behavior, not highlighting the negative.

Examples include:

  1. “Thank you for keeping it clean” rather than “clean up after yourself.”
  2. In specific environments where you know customers  well, humorous signage may be the way to go. Know your audience and client.
  3. Pro tip: Make your signage fit into the area's theme or decor when the opportunity presents itself.

Signage strategies

An article in CHRON Small Business outlined several specific retail signage strategies.

Readability. “Your letters should be large enough to read from the customer's vantage point… For example, if a customer will be viewing a sign from 30 feet away, the letters should be at least three inches tall.”

Color. “Use contrasting colors for the font and background… Backgrounds that are nearly the same color as text can render signs nearly unreadable.”

Sign condition. We have all seen handwritten signs on vending machines, but should we ever see one in a micro market?

“Handwritten signs - tattered or unclean signs, and signs with misspelled words or crossed out words give a bad impression. An exception for handwritten signs would be a whiteboard, where a department manager hand-writes specials. These can give the impression of immediacy to the customer because they change throughout the day or week.”

Negative signage examples:

  • Do not set drinks on the kiosk.
  • Do not handle an item unless you plan to buy it.
  • Make seating available to others once you have finished eating.
  • Clean up after yourself – your mother doesn’t work here (we’ve actually seen that one).

“Limit the number of negative signs you post. Warnings, prohibitions and statements about penalties can be off-putting to customers. Don't give the impression that your customers are a problem.”

Orlando summed it up by turning to the advice offered by the leading consultant in the micro market industry. “Steve Closser of Translucent says it all the time. Micro Market operators need to start thinking with a retail mindset. Signage is an important part of that equation and hopefully, operators will begin to understand that as the micro market industry experiences rapid growth in 2022.”

Questions about micro market signage? Fixturelite can help. Visit


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