Do Signs Help First-time Customers Find Stores?

Signtronix is a California-based sign manufacturer that creates signs for small independent businesses nationwide. From 1996 through 2011, it asked its customers (retailers) to ask their first-time customers (shoppers) how they first found out about their store. Over this 14-year period, 46% of these 13,040 first-time patrons said they’d heard about the retailer because of its on-premise sign. Other possible responses were “word of mouth,” (37%) and “Yellow Pages,” “newspaper,” “radio” and “television,” all at less than 10%. Here were some of the initial verbatim comments from new sign owners (as reported in the June 1998 issue of Signs of the Times magazine):

  • From a Lebanon, IL cleaners: “We have added 20 new customers who didn’t know we were here.”
  • From a Cedar Springs, MI picture framer: “Our business has increased 30-40% because of the sign.”
  • From a Santee, SC BBQ restaurant: “In the first week of the sign being hung up, our business increased by at least 60-70%.”
  • From a Bradley, IL comic-book store: “Ninety percent of the new customers came in because the sign attracted their attention.”
  • From a Cookeville, TN tattoo shop:  “No more than 10 minutes after putting up the new sign, two customers pulled in.”
  • From a Clover, SC flower shop, three weeks after getting a new sign: “I have gotten about 30 new customers.”
  • A San Fernando, CA car dealer said sales increased by $6,000 net per week, so the sign paid for itself in less than a month. He decreased his other advertising from $16,000 to $12,000 per month.
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