NSREC Reinforces the Business Benefits of Signage

Signage can be a vital component of a business’ success, according to numerous studies released during the recent National Signage Research & Education Conference (NSREC) sponsored by the Signage Foundation, Inc., in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati’s Colleges of Business and Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP).

Research showed:

Stores that added an electronic message center (EMC) saw an increase in both store sales and the number of transactions, according to early results from a research report, “Business Makeover Case Study: The Economic Impact of Electronic Message Centers” by University of Cincinnati researchers Michael Jones and Jeff Rexhausen. Stores saw an initial boost of 2.55% in store sales and 2.6% in transactions within a week of adding an EMC; those sales increases held up when compared over a year as well.

Shoppers were more likely to notice the EMC. In all, 41% said they read the EMC, compared to 28% who had read a manual sign, according to the retailer’s previous research contained in “Business Makeover Case Study.” And 21% remembered the message on the EMC, compared to 10% who recalled the message on the manual sign. EMCs were most likely to be noticed by parents, African-Americans, and frequent shoppers.

Signs continue to have a place in the evolving media landscape, according to consumers in “Additional Insights from the BrandSpark/Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper Study: A Three-Year, Longitudinal Update,” released by James J. Kellaris, University of Cincinnati professor. Nearly eight in ten shoppers disagree with the idea that smartphones will eliminate the need for signs in the future, while only 6% agreed.

Kellaris also polled consumers on what makes a sign hard to read. Key factors that negatively affect legibility are:

* Letters too small (83.3%);

* Placement of the sign makes it hard to see (71.4%);

* The sign is not sufficiently lit at night (63.6%);

* The color of the letters does not stand out from the background (60.3%);

* The letters use a fancy font (47.8%);

* The letters are spaced too closely together (35.6%); and

* The sign looks very similar to other signs nearby (34.4%).

In all, several hundred academicians, planners, marketing experts, and sign company representatives attended the two-day conference. In addition to the research presentations mentioned above, attendees received insight into: navigating community aesthetics and sign regulations; a new method for determining the value of a sign based on the number of viewers it reaches; public art and urban design; signage along historic U.S. Route 50; and urban wayfinding.

The session also included a discussion of proposed research topics for 2014: Economic Value of Illuminated Versus Non-Illuminated Signs; Signs and Downtown Development; Temporary Signs; Cost of Replacing the Exposures, an Approach to Sign Valuation; Economic Value of Signage: Annual Case Studies; and an opinion survey of the planning community’s perception of signs.

The research presented at the 2013 NSREC will be available in the coming weeks on the Signage Foundation Web site at www.thesignagefoundation.org.


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