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Top Retail Sign Trends For 2021

2020 has taught us more than we could have ever imagined. From social distancing to quarantine and everything in between, we’ve had to learn how to innovate, adapt, and adjust. The top five signage trends for 2021 reflect that, and we’re here to break them down for you.

1. Showcasing What’s Inside From The Outside

When it comes to your brick-and-mortar, it’s what’s on the inside AND the outside that matters. As a business owner, you’re familiar with the importance of considering the customer’s journey and perspective from beginning to end.

From lining up outside with capacity limits to navigating the shopping processes during COVID-19, retailers are becoming increasingly more aware of the need for communication-centric design–even on the outside.

You can expect to see more pop-up kiosks, promotions visually displayed in the lineup area, the ability to return or exchange from outside, and drive-thrus and pick-up lanes or windows.

2. Revolutionizing Retail Outlets

Look out for more businesses transitioning under-utilized stores into fulfillment centers and focusing more on flagship stores to boost the shopping experience.

Shoppers are currently leaning towards browsing and researching purchases online for same-day pickup at distribution centers for popular items.

What does this mean for merchandisers and brands? It’s a fresh, exciting opportunity for both to team up and present pop-up galleries of popular necessities or curate product bundles.

Display showcases in fulfillment centers can show off new products this way and entice customers and passersby.

3. Improving The Retail Experience

Consolidated Technology

Function: Assist consumers with the information they gathered online.

Reason: Customers do not want to touch screens or surfaces or talk to associates for extra help, directions, or information.

Technology can coincide with signage and build the bridge between eCommerce and in-store shopping.

Digital screens built into partition systems can provide a platform for receiving current, up-to-date product information and in-store promotions in real-time.

Additionally, digital signage can showcase testimonials and customer reviews through videos.

Wayfinding Retail Store Signs

Function: Assist consumers with finding things quickly.

Reason: Customers want to get in and get out to reduce time spent in-store and risk of exposure.

Directional signage helps consumers find the products they want and services they need quickly, and efficiency is the name of the game all the more during the pandemic. Product identification, navigation routes, lightboxes, and backlit signs can be easily arranged and are important fixtures for your store’s layout.


Function: Reduce exposure and time spent making a purchase.

Reason: Giving consumers more flexibility of paying without people touching their items or having to stand near others in line is a definite win-win. An increase in comfort levels means an increase in purchases and sales.

Giving customers the ability to make choices for themselves and have a greater sense of control over their environment adds greater satisfaction to their retail experience.

Clear messaging on the functionality of the self-checkout, as well as clear entrances, exits, and directions, are vital to ensuring a smooth purchasing process. This increases both efficiency and foot traffic flow.

Point-of-Purchase Promo

Function: Keeps high-traffic areas stocked with promotions, sales information, discounts, wishlist items, or company spotlights rather than focusing on smaller “grab-and-go” merchandise.

Reason: As casual browsing has become a luxury, it’s high time for brands to deconstruct and rebuild their approach towards impulse shopping.

Smaller point-of-purchase items used to be the go-to products near checkout counters. This area is the most trafficked. Expect to see large ticket items and strategic promotions located there instead. Engaging visuals and advertisements can boost the sales of larger ticket items just before your consumers check out.

4. Print Retail Store Signs

According to Market Reports World, the global printed signage market was valued at USD 45.734 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach a value of USD 46.702 billion by 2023.

  • Cost-effective – Banners, signs, backlit fabric signs, and the like bulk orders are incredibly cost-effective. Aside from that, buying signs is one of the most affordable ways to get your target customers directly in front of the products you want them to buy.
  • Easy availability – All it takes is a simple upload to get your logos and chosen designs printed on an array of indoor or outdoor signs.
  • No tech needed – The push for printed signage has definitely spiked in recent years due to the learning curve, maintenance, and price points involved in digital signage.
  • Billboards – It is increasingly more challenging, now more than ever, to produce that incentive in your consumers to step inside your store. However, it’s not impossible! Winning traffic takes a big statement, and billboards are just that. That’s why the demand for billboards is going up in 2021.

5. Interactable & Engaging Retail Store Signs

No Touch Interaction

In 2021, digital signage allows for a touchless customer experience, a very viable and attractive solution during the pandemic. Helping others comply with social distancing can drive sales, as guests will feel and be safer.

QR Codes

The rise of the lowly QR Code! We say “lowly” because, back in the 90s, you couldn’t find a more inefficient concept. Humans had not gotten the hang of the technology or use of QR codes and used to place them in very inconvenient and inefficient places.

Now customers can browse company information in seconds with a simple scan of a QR code. Hands-free interactions make way for customers to:

  • Vote in polls
  • Complete orders
  • Receive updated information
  • Launch a specific website or application
  • Download documents
  • Redeem coupons

Data-Based Personalization


Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology comprising digital data encoded in tags or smart labels that can be read outside the line-of-sight. In simpler terms, RFID technology is similar to a barcode in that it identifies objects, collects their data, and enters the data into a computer system with little to no human intervention.

RFID technology has far surpassed the barcode in many ways.

What does this mean for customers? They can select items without touching screens and generate information about the product automatically through the “life-and-learn” technology. This helps customers learn information of value before the purchase without jeopardizing their health.

Internet of Things (IoT) Capability

Integrated IoT technology will be widely used in 2021. What’s Internet of things technology, anyway? It is the network of physical objects that are embedded with software and sensors to connect with other devices over the internet.

An example of this would be the way your car dash keeps you updated on your gas levels. Your car has sensors that communicate with one another so that the gaslight stays current and tracks gas levels in real-time. Your car being “smart” is an example of IoT technology. Another example is devices in your home, like lighting or TV, that are controlled by your phone.

This connection between devices, as stated, will grow in 2021. Smart display signs can display live broadcasting of real-time information via external data connectors. Third-party IoT integrations can also update digital signage with queue management to track capacity within stores.

Improved safety means more comfortable buyers and therefore, more sales.

In Closing:

As you can see, signs are the name of the game in 2021. Here at Sign It Quick, we’ve been the leading authorities in the business for over 30 years. We provide the best customer service on the planet and pride ourselves on bringing you new business by knocking your business’s marketing out of the park and helping you bring in new leads.

We offer over 25 different types of customizable marketing products. It’s time to take your business to new heights and get on top of the current retail sign trends. What are you waiting for?


1 Comment

  1. Elvie

    I was also affected by the pandemic, and I had to drastically revamp my store setup to adhere to policies. I agree, signage is the next best thing to customer service, especially if you need to personally instruct customers in my store. I had to put one on each aisle to inform customers in detail that is in each row. Though there are still those people who still needs to be personally guided, but it has reduced close contact with people dramatically. Also, I was surprised at how easier the flow of customers in my shop was.

    Your article is very helpful indeed and I hope people with businesses that are struggling from the restrictions will get an idea on how to communicate with customers without risking close contact.


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