7 Design Tips for Retailers Wanting to Increase Conversions in Stores

2020 was hard on Retailers and 2021 isn’t a cakewalk, so how do you increase conversions in stores – these 7 design tips will help.

Increase Conversions in Stores

Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash

Retail used to be all about footfall, to the point where, for many retailers, it was the only thing that they actually measured – well, that and sales figures.


But as the sector becomes more omni-channel and experience-driven in nature, and with Covid-19 drastically reducing the number of customers allowed in-store at once, market-leading retailers are shifting the focus from attracting consumers into stores and keeping them there for as long as possible to identifying new ways to convert customers across a variety of channels. 


Effective design can be incredibly powerful at driving customers to take action when visiting your stores, and it’s not just about pointing your customers towards your checkout. Studies have shown that promoting additional opportunities like your in-store services can have a major impact on your customer conversion rates – and powerful design is the key to doing so.


Here are 7 ways retailers can increase customer conversions in stores with effective design:

1) Have your best display at the right hand side of your store

A study by Shopify has revealed 90% of shoppers in the US turn to the right when they walk into a store, and tend to move counterclockwise through the store, meaning that your displays just to the right of the door is where you can make a real impact. Therefore, retailers should make certain that this display is stocked with high-margin goods. 


It’s also important to adopt a minimalistic approach when creating your aisles – keep them wide, uncluttered and easy to navigate so that your customers can move seamlessly around your store – this is especially true during the pandemic, where customers are conscious of keeping their distance from other shoppers. 

2) Use nudges

Behavioral economist Richard Thaler and his partner Cass Sunstein, in their marketing thesis book ‘Nudge’ explain that a nudge is; a subtle cue or context change that pushes a user to make a certain decision, without forcing them to. Nudge theory suggests that consumer behavior can be influenced by small and, at times, creative suggestions and positive reinforcements that drive people to make better decisions for themselves without restricting their freedom of choice.


 “There’s no such thing as ‘neutral’ design. Small and apparently insignificant details can have major impacts on people’s behavior.” — Richard H. Thaler


A good example is simple arrow shapes or footsteps to serve as nudges in order to help show a customer where to stand or look. This can work great for a kiosk where customers can sign up for appointments for in-store services


It’s also possible for retailers to use furniture, displays, racks, and other tools to act as nudges to get customers to stop, look in a certain direction or interact with a store associate.

3) Create a clear customer journey

If you’re asking customers to follow a specific customer journey, such as picking up an online order or receiving a specific service, simplify the process by creating signage that breaks down the customer journey into steps. 


These process steps can be alluded to within your signage or you might choose to include a simplified list of these process steps as subtext within your signage. 


Remember, people ignore text, so keep the steps simple, live by the power of three – (that’s right, distil it down to three steps max), and inject your brand tone of voice to make them engaging to read.

4) Position signs in key places throughout your store 

Positioning a range of signage at key locations throughout the inside and outside of your store is a great way to convert customers. 


For instance, many stores are eliminating physical waiting lines for checkout, online collection or customer support by using virtual wait line systems, and others are pushing upsell opportunities such as in-store or virtual appointments for things like technical support, style advice or one-to-one shopping services. 


Create signs for customers wanting these services in key areas throughout the store. For example:


  • Have signs for virtual wait lines or additional services at the end of the barriers to your checkout or service desks
  • Position lollipop signs throughout your store appealing to different customer journeys  
  • Place posters or easels in your window displays
  • Create signs that wrap around your customer service or checkout desks
  • Invest in digital signage on entry, behind checkout desks and fitting rooms with useful information
  • When a service desk is closed, have a sign for customers to sign up virtually or book an appointment. The same approach can work if your store is closed
  • Have a sign outside your store or at the end of your parking bay for curbside collection customers.

5) Verbs speak louder than all other words 

Make your signage clear and authoritative from the first word a customer reads by using action words to drive customers to action: book, join, check-in. 


It’s also a good idea to explain the benefit. Always answer the “Why” – why should customers follow the process? What’s in it for them? Write your value proposition from the outset and tease this out within your signage content.

6) Engage customers with common problems or concerns

If your signage only needs to strike the attention of specific customers, use questions to triage the ones you want to speak to. 


For instance, “Collecting an online order?” or “Wanting to pay?”


And if some customers have problems or queries when following the process (such as not having a mobile phone or wanting to know how their data will be used), address these at the bottom of the sign. 


You can also draw attention to your signs and highlight key messages using different font styles, sizes, widths and coloring. It’s also worth using numbers, symbols and punctuation to help draw customer attention towards your sign. E.g. Did you know….? 

7) Incorporate social proof into you signage

Modern customers are heavily influenced by the opinions of other shoppers that they read online, so instead of making them search for online reviews when browsing your store, bring the online reviews to them. 


Show your customers how other customers are ranking your products in the product and price listings, just like you might do on your e-commerce site. Amazon uses this approach in their product tags in stores, proving that other customers have bought and love their products. 


While online shopping is growing in popularity, in-store shopping is still the preference for most, and now is the time for retailers to increase their in-store and online conversions by creating powerful omni-channel campaigns, and effective signage plays a crucial role in that strategy.