NOVEMBER 30, 2019| SpeedPro Northern Virginia



Hear that? It could be sleigh bells ringing — or it could be customers clambering throughout your store, soaking in the holiday sales and seasonal specials.

The holiday quarter is one of retail’s most pivotal — and profitable — times of the year. Last year, shoppers spent a record-breaking $850 billion in the month between Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas, up 5% from the previous year.

Custom interior and exterior retail signage can help your store drive traffic, promote merchandise and maximize sales during the holidays. How? Check out these retail signage tips and best practices to find out.


The importance of retail graphics and the holidays

Beginning in November and extending through the new year, the holiday quarter is crunch time for retailers across the country.

Last year, that time frame drew 165 million shoppers between the three-days Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday alone. While not technically a business quarter, no retailer can afford to excuse the pivotal holiday months as well as the post-Thanksgiving long weekend that launches this massive shopping season.

Why are the holidays so vital for today’s businesses — and how do custom retail graphics set you up for holiday quarter success?


Holidays drive nearly a quarter of retailers' sales.

On average, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the ongoing sales season between Thanksgiving and the New Year represent between 19-40% of retailers’ total annual sales.

Certain segments experience a larger boost than others. For example, gaming and electronics brands can see sales jump as high as 41% during the Q4 holiday period, accounting for over 60% of its total net profits. Major clothing retailers and department stores also post significant holiday sales figures, with some brands seeing over a third of sales occurring during this holiday blitz.

While the rise of evergreen online shopping has lessened the seasonally sensitive Q4 in recent years, retailers cannot afford — literally — to sit back and watch competitors out-market and out-brand them.


Well over half of all holiday shoppers look to maximize the special deals.

Well over half of all holiday shoppers (65%) look to maximize the special deals and sales of the season, often making gift selections based in part on promotions. In fact, holiday sales are the top consideration for today’s consumer, with shoppers scouting multiple brands online before finalizing in-store or digital purchases.

To meet this demand, many retailers choose to start holiday sales earlier and earlier — often well before the Thanksgiving and Black Friday long weekend. Last year, the average shopper spent $313.29 on gifts over that five-day holiday weekend, yet admitted to bargain hunting weeks in advance.


Consumer surveys reveal peoples’ least favorite part about the holiday season is — you guessed it — hyper-commercialization. While they wait year-round for special deals and promotions during this timeframe, they’re leery of today’s mounting holiday expenses as well as the impersonal, materialistic climate that can pervade this time of year.

Retailers must be cautious of contributing to the commercialization frenzy. Creative, meaningful and memorable holiday signage offers a way to advertise without being “salesy.” At its best, custom retail signage can even enlighten and entertain, offering respite from the commercial overload while still marketing your products or services strategically.


Competition is fierce

Consumers today desire personalization and convenience in their shopping experiences. For retailers, branded holiday materials lend a vital opportunity to market your business’ personal touches and convenient service add-ons, which help you stand out from the competition. Use retail signs and graphics to boast in-store perks, such as gift wrapping and free holiday treats. Holiday signs are also a great place to advertise unique, customer-centric promotions. For example, if you have a customer loyalty program, consider doubling the points earned for every purchase in November or December, advertising this bonus across all store signage. Try finding those perks on Amazon.


Amplify the in-store experience

Over half of shoppers today say they prefer to make the bulk of their holiday purchases in-store. This preference holds true across all generations, including the tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z.

Holiday graphics are part of a larger branding strategy that keeps your in-store environment fun, festive and aesthetically engaging for these shoppers. In fact, store presentation goes a long way for new and returning customers alike. People form impressions of your business’ professionalism as well as the quality of its products and services based on the look and feel of your store. Those impressions influence brand recall and conversions down the road, keeping you top-of-mind even after the holidays end.


What makes a successful holiday retail sign? [list]

Successful holiday retail signs share several key characteristics.

  • Seasonally minded: Rotating your retail signage is important for keeping information up-to-date regarding deals and promotions. However, it serves another important purpose — to break from the mold and freshen up your store’s overall appearance. Guests will enjoy the new updates to the space, as you curate a lively and timely atmosphere.
  • Captures attention: Branded holiday graphics are a simple yet powerful way to capture customer attention. Whether it’s guests driving down the road or foot traffic on a popular business-lined avenue to the glass storefronts dotting a mall, holiday retail signage should draw in eyes and entice interest in your business.
  • Clear, easy to read: Signage designs should be succinct and clutter-free, ensuring your message is easy to read. Text and images should be highly differentiated against the background, using contrasting colors, shadowing or outlining best practices to maximize readability.
  • High-visibility: Place retail holiday signs in high-traffic areas within clear customer sightlines. This visibility rule-of-thumb works for both indoor and outdoor signage, making it as easy as possible for people to catch and read sign messaging even while on the go.
  • Maintains some of your brand colors: Studies reveal 80% of brand recognition comes down to colors. In other words, the colors you select for your brand will be the most important visual trigger for the consumer when remembering your business. Use that to your advantage when crafting holiday graphics, breaking from the green-and-red mold.
  • Conveys brand personality: Holiday signs provide a template to reinforce your brand personality using a strong, unique voice. Is your business known for using laid back or humorous communications? Being methodical and authoritative? Is it colloquial or formal? Whatever your preferred style, use signage to back it up.


Retail Signage & Graphics Ideas [list]

There are plenty of retail signs and graphics perfect for the holidays. Explore the range of options below to determine which will help land you on your customers’ nice lists.


Point of purchase or point of sale displays are specialty arrangements promoting a particular product or service. These displays usually contain some sort of promotional sign centering on the product itself, as well as information about the product’s features, benefits and other relevant details, using catchy, upbeat language.

At their most successful, POP displays become mini 3D installations in and of themselves. Arrangements can include shelving, hands-on tutorials and even digital touchscreens for customers to view product media on or interact with. Holiday point of sales displays are especially powerful when set up at your registers, as well as placed strategically near products throughout your storefront.


Custom indoor and outdoor retails signs are a staple of holiday marketing. Signs serve as a visual focal point for traffic passing your storefront, advertising the latest seasonal sales, new merchandise and experiential add-ons for shoppers inside.

Holiday signs are also one of the most customizable pieces of marketing available today. You can choose from various sign materials, including base media types, substrates and sign laminates. You can then customize your sign’s colors, text, logos, images and background to create a succinct yet on-brand message about everything from flash holiday discounts to special events to bonus loyalty points earned on all purchases made over the holidays.


Retail banners and flags are a visually distinct, highly festive way to advertise during the holidays. Made from lightweight banner fabrics and material blends, banners and flags flutter in the wind, capturing attention with their motion. These materials are best used to attract foot traffic and to stand out on busy streets, particularly in high-density settings or for off-street storefronts shoppers may have difficulty spotting while driving or walking.

Flags and banners printed by professional large-format studios, such as SpeedPro, assure materials are highly durable. Your graphics will stand up to the season’s harsh weather conditions, their colors and text remaining vibrant even amidst rain, wind and snow.


Illuminated signs offer a creative twist on traditional storefront signage. They’re especially appealing when paired with ornamental Christmas lights, wreaths and other festive holiday decorations, turning your storefront into a glistening display and organically drawing in customers.

Illuminated signs also provide enhanced functionality. Backlit text and graphics ensure sign visibility at night and during inclement weather, which may hide or obscure unlit signs. Similarly, indoor backlit graphics pieces — such as counters, towers and custom push-fit fabric display cases — brighten the interior of your store using an all-in-one, easily interchangeable LED light and fabric-overlay framing system.


Window decals bring pops of holiday spirit to your storefront’s glass. Available for installation on window interiors and exteriors, these materials are an affordable, highly customizable retail signage choice that can be easily interchanged to match the exact upcoming holiday. Use retail window graphics to announce special holiday store hours, flash sales, new product releases, sales specials and much more.

Window decals work in other applications, as well. Add decals to your business’ cars, vans or delivery trucks for marketing while on the road. These same decals “peel and place” easily, giving all your windows a branded touch.


Step-and-repeat banners are special backdrops set up to provide a cohesive background for photo taking. You may know them from the red carpet, but more and more businesses are utilizing this graphic type for creative in-store marketing moments.

Consider adding a holiday-themed step-and-repeat banner into your store. Customers will have fun snapping group pictures and selfies in front of the festive backdrop, remembering the unique in-store photo-taking experience and tying it to your brand.

What’s more, step-and-repeat banners provide a unique content marketing opportunity. Add a branded hashtag to your step-and-repeat banner design. Then, suggest guests tag their photos with your hashtag for a chance to win a prize drawing or be featured in your own social media posts. Strategies like this are known as user-generated content — one of the hottest digital marketing trends of the moment.


With digital signage, traditional retail signs meet modern technology. Using screens as the display, digital signs can support a carousel of custom images and messages played on a loop or broadcast as a single, high-quality graphic to inform, educate and engage.

Businesses can integrate custom holiday digital messages onto their screens as a creative way to update retail signage. Digital signs can be stationed near select merchandise, acting as an eye-catching point-of-sale display. They can be hung above registers reminding guests of upcoming deals or in-store promotions. They can also sit in storefront windows and entryways, relaying seasonal specials and capturing attention in a way static signage can’t.


Corporate printing creates cohesive marketing materials for the upcoming holiday season. Rather than print off ad-hoc signs, decals, POP displays, product pamphlets, catalogs and more, a corporate printing package delivers multiple signage-based materials under a unique design.

Corporate printing is an ideal choice for retailers over the holidays. With these signage packages, you’re assured every material displays the same promotions, dates, prices and more. Color schemes, text font, logo replication and more design details will also match, again imbuing your store’s brand with quality and professionalism.


Setting up shop at a local market? Participating in winter conferences or trade shows? What about seasonal winter wonderlands or community holiday celebrations in your city? When any of these events are on the calendar, you need a branded event tent to serve as your sales home base during the festivities.

Holiday event tents contain custom tent canopies, sidewalls and structural frames tailored to your business’ brand. Event tent packages can also include a complete branded setup, including table toppers and fabric throws, flags, banners, point of sale displays and experiential designs like step-and-repeat banners.


In-store floor graphics offer a creative way to market select products or services. It also places promotions in a surprising yet practical field of sight — i.e., right where customers walk.

Use custom holiday floor graphics to embellish your store with visuals themed around the holiday season. Floor graphics can serve as wayfinding or directional signs, complement point of purchase displays, organize busy check-out lines, promote complimentary in-store gift wrapping, advertise a stop from Santa and so much more. For festive floor graphics that help boost brand awareness, blend seasonal images and themes with your current brand aesthetics.


Holiday signage is innately customizable to your brand aesthetics and current business goals. Make the most of your retail signage by following these graphics best practices.


Reader-friendly signs use short, concise sentences to get their points across. Language is direct and pithy, relaying sensible amounts of information or, better yet, sticking with one and only one takeaway. The more you pack into a retail graphic, the less likely customers are to understand, engage and convert.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes when wondering if a sign’s message is too long or detailed. When driving, that person will have only a few seconds to read your sign. Customers passing by on foot have more time but will likely not stop to read anything beyond one sentence.


Lights are a staple holiday decoration that create a charming, approachable and warm atmosphere in both interior and exterior retail spaces. Plus, they help assure your messages can be seen regardless of weather conditions and can even be worked into your store’s larger holiday decorative set up.

Retailers can deploy lights in individual graphic installations as well as individual signs and entire sign systems. Spotlighting is another great option and can help draw eyes to specific signs or materials for greater advertising muscle.


Signs using second-person language make a viewer feel that the graphics are speaking directly to them. As a result, they begin connecting its message to their own life.

This is a powerful sales and engagement motivator. It’s also at the heart of driving foot traffic and converting leads across segments in the retail industry. Plus, signs written in the second person immediately transform from broad and passive language to personalized and active. Your business creates marketing signage with a distinct target consumer in mind, sharpening your overall marketing and signage strategy.


Make Them Laugh

Humor has been shown to help grab consumer’s attention and increase brand recall. At the same time, humor makes consumers regard your brand as more trustworthy and human. If that wasn’t enough incentive, humor can also break down the growing consumer weariness around traditional sales tactics — especially tactics they feel contribute to the over-commercialization of the holidays.

From pop-culture references to puns and jokes, your signs’ graphics are a great place to promote humor for a variety of marketing goals. Metrics like brand recall and trust can inspire repeat sales and loyal customers when nurtured beyond the holiday season.


Signs that ask questions immediately capture the attention of those passing by. Similar to using second-person language, the viewer instantly shifts into an engaged mindset, considering their response to the question at hand.

Use graphics like window decals, digital signage and point-of-sale displays to ask pertinent questions. Tie your queries in with the holiday season, prompting shoppers to think about gifts, products and merchandise in a new way and setting up your retail store as the answer.


Digital signs provide a number of benefits compared to traditional print graphics. They can be easily tweaked and changed — even on the daily — ensuring a fresh rotation of branded messages, images and videos available for the consumer. For retailers with high product turnover or rotating inventory, this is a particularly convenient (and cost-conscious) solution to continually printing weekly window signs and decals, then rehanging them in strategic spots.


Retailers today must find ways to harmonize online and offline shopping experiences, ensuring the same ease, affordability and product availability regardless of platform. Yes, online shopping continues to carve out its slice of the retail industry sales pie. Yet even today, nearly half of consumers say they prefer in-store shopping, compared to 35% who prefer shopping on computers and only 18% who prefer smartphones, according to a survey by RetailDive.

The savviest retailers — including small businesses — understand the need to create cohesive brand narratives across all platforms. Use signage to complement your digital marketing strategies by ensuring the language and promotions on your website match those on your signs.

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SpeedPro Northern Virginia

Studio Owner

Roman Blazauskas