Why Quality Signage is Make or Break for Grocery Retailers

7 February, 2023
Why Quality Signage is Make or Break for Grocery Retailers

Navigating the aisles of a grocery store – especially one a customer isn’t familiar with – can be a daunting task. Yet, great signage can make it easier and more efficient for shoppers to find their essentials, making the whole experience less stressful and one they’re more likely to repeat again.

For grocery retail businesses, quality interior and exterior signage helps them stand out from competitors, attract customers, and drive sales. Clear and concise signs with consistent branding can act like a silent but high-selling salesperson, greeting customers at the door, guiding them through the store and encouraging them to try new products.


An Introduction to Grocery Store Signage

You might be surprised to discover that retail signage is the oldest form of marketing communication. In fact, there’s evidence to show that signs were used by merchants in Ancient Egypt and Rome!

This is because signage was essential for helping customers locate and identify a shop. It also allowed merchants to promote their prices and distinguish themselves from competitors.

These days, quality signage is just as vital for grocery retailers. It endures as the first point of real-life interaction between a business and any potential customers and guides them towards making purchases.

Whilst in ancient times merchants would have had only one or two signs, grocery retailers today use extensive signage in and outside of stores including outdoor signs, window displays, way-finding signage, signage to highlight promotions and more.

According to research by the Signage Foundation, signs have a significant positive impact on sales, with over 60% of businesses reporting a 10% increase in sales by adding or updating their signs.


How Grocery Store Signage is Beneficial

There are plenty of benefits that come with effective, well-considered signage in supermarkets and smaller grocery stores. Different types of signage hold unique purposes and aims. Yet, when we put them all together, it creates an environment that benefits customers and business owners alike.


Advertising and Attracting Customers

For grocery retailers, billboards are a common and effective type of sign. They’re especially useful for large superstores; because these retail spaces tend to be located outside of city and town centres, people need to be enticed by special offers and marketing messages when they’re in their cars.

For smaller grocery retailers in areas with high footfall, outdoor and window signage can pique curiosity and encourage customers to come inside. Whether it’s on the Highstreet or next to a main road, a well-placed and instantly recognisable sign can overcome the biggest hurdle for any retailer: getting customers in the door.


Guiding Customers in Store

For customers, the aisles of a grocery store can feel like a maze! That’s why clear, well-thought-out wayfinding signage is essential in stores large and small. They help customers find what they’re looking for by showing which products are found in each aisle, as well as pointing out essential facilities like toilets and checkouts.

Wayfinding signs can take the form of hanging signs or floor signs. Floor graphics became more common during the pandemic as they were often used to promote social distancing. Now, they’re becoming more popular in grocery stores to help customers find their way. After all, it’s difficult for customers to ignore something that’s directly in their path of walking!

Making customers’ shopping experiences as efficient and stress-free as possible is seriously beneficial for grocery retailers. As many people see the weekly grocery shop as a chore, not a pleasure, a conveniently easy-to-navigate store is likely to become their go-to choice.


Keeping Stores Fresh

Unlike shop fixtures, signage is a design element that can be frequently adjusted, giving stores the opportunity to stay fresh and modern without needing a total renovation and massive investment.

Here at Merson, we worked closely with grocery heavyweight Tesco to introduce new signage and other decorations to UK stores that haven’t been refurbished for a number of years. After being awarded sole supplier status for their signage alignment programme, we introduced fresh signs that provided a stop-gap to keep the Tesco brand fresh and enhance the customer shopping experience.


Creating a Brand Experience 

Both external and internal signage can be used to immerse customers in a grocery retailer’s brand. From welcome signage at store doors to wayfinding in the aisles, grocery signage doesn’t need to be strictly utilitarian; it can express a brand’s identity and tell its story.

One of the most prestigious projects Merson has worked on was Sainsbury’s superstore in Hempstead Valley. Sainsbury’s made a multi-million-pound investment in the store as part of a wider programme to improve the customer journey from the moment shoppers drive into the car park to the minute they head out the door.

Signage played a huge part in making that vision a reality. We aimed to add some character not only with impactful signage, but also by filling blank ‘white space’ surfaces with colour, texture, and illustration. We used signage to bring more of a ‘market style’ feeling to the grocery aisles and enhanced their non-food sections with a more high-street look, completely changing the atmosphere of the store.


Displaying Promotions

Signage that advertises promotions and highlights certain products can hugely impact customer’s buying choices. Not only does it encourage them to try new products, but it also inspires impulse purchasing. As impulse buys account for up to 62% of supermarket sales, smart signage can seriously impact stores’ revenue.

Digital signage is taking hold in many grocery retail spaces. This is because it offers retailers the opportunity to constantly update their messaging, changing regularly to advertise new promotions and even adapting to correspond with the weather or time of day.

Digital screens can also be used to display user-generated content, such as reviews of the store’s products. They can even be interactive, encouraging customers to interact with the brand on social media or offering a choice of recipes that can inspire customers to try new dishes.


Grocery Retail Signage with Merson Group

Here at Merson Group, we’re experts at designing, manufacturing, and installing signage for businesses in the retail sector. We’ve worked with a range of store concepts from high-street chains to sprawling supermarkets.

We’ve built relationships with and proudly provided signage for grocery heavyweights such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Iceland, and M&S Food.

So, whether you’re looking for an entire store façade or dynamic digital signage within your store, we can offer a one-stop solution. Not only do we have our own cladding company, CGL Facades, but we also operate Merson Digital which delivers end-to-end, cutting-edge digital signage solutions and services.

We’re experts in creating high-impact, bespoke brand elements for grocery stores that enhance the customer experience. Using virtual reality, we’re even able to show you how a store might look after applying various design options. This allows you to make the smartest design choices and envision what customers will see when they walk in the door.


Interested to learn how Merson Group could help you retail business? Book a virtual reality demo via enquiries@mersongroup.com or check out our case studies from some of the UK’s biggest grocery retailers like Sainsburys and Tesco.