Do Banners Still Work For Retail Outlets?

Marketing a retail outlet store can be very difficult, especially when considering the fact that most of these outlet chains are located on highways and high-speed city streets, leaving only seconds for the passing motorists to spot the store and pull into the parking lot. Many stores have tried to conjure more customers by hanging huge banners that flap in the breeze and capture the attention of potential buyers, but some people are suggesting that this way of marketing is no longer the most efficient method of street side marketing.

Are Banners Going out of Style?

For many, the answer to this question is a resounding yes. Whenever banner signs are used in business now, it is usually because there is a very short sale or a liquidation of the company occurring. Both of these events do not warrant the added costs (and in the case of the liquidation, the company will not be able to afford it anyway) of buying a huge new sign for the building. Because of this, many consumers attribute these signs to temporary events and cost savings on the part of the business.

In a word, cost savings on the part of the business means “cheap” to consumers. They are much less likely to walk into a building that they attribute to being cheap. Appearance is a large factor in determining where new customers will go as well. A study in shows that about sixty-three percent of individuals go shopping to get a change of scenery, and they do not want that scenery to be cheap. The ambiance both inside and outside of the retail outlet is important to consumers.

Legal Issues with Banners and Waving Signs

Most people do not know just how many laws and ordinances are in place for the use of waving signs and banners. Most cities have ordinances against having these banners too close to the road. Cities also restrict the sizes that these banners can be. The thought is that the banners could break easily and fly into lanes of traffic, causing a collision, or worse.

An example of this can be found in an article at, which tells the story of a business that can no longer use banners or waving signs in their city. So what are businesses to do when their premier form of advertising is no longer legal?

A Movement to Integrated and Permanent Signage

Many businesses have moved away from banners and other forms of temporary signage in favor of more permanent signs. Companies have realized that the temporary look of the banners tend to deter customers from returning, subconsciously believing that the sale going on or the business that is there today will not be there next week when they are able to go back. Motorists also see the signs as being very cheap, and they will question the integrity of the store that hangs one up as their dominant form of signage.

Many companies selling these banners also make them out to be long-lasting and durable. While this may be true for a year or so, eventually the banner will fray, get weathered, and tear. The more time the banner spends outside, the more faded it gets as well. The shabbier the banner looks from the outside of the building, the less likely customers will be to walk into the retail outlet.

Permanent and integrated signage is becoming the most used form of branding and marketing for outlet stores. Not only do the custom cut design and lighted features of these signs stand out the customers, they help to establish that the business is a permanent one and is not too cheap to buy real signage for their store. Just as creating a friendly environment inside the store helps to create sales once the customer enters, the outside of the store helps to attract customers to the front doors.

Types of Permanent Signs

There are several different types of permanent signs for businesses to choose from, and all of the signs can be customized to a specific type of business. There are everyday neon sign designs that can be seen in downtown storefronts. There are back lit signs that have white or another color bold text for the name of the business and then a different colored glow emanating in the space between the letters of the sign and the wall of the place of business. There are even sign designs that can be created, such as company logos and pictorials that represent the brand of the business.

There are also several types of freestanding signs that can be put street side without the worry that they will blow into traffic and cause legal problems for the business. These signs can once again be customized any way that is needed and be lit to help customers see that the business is there from a great distance away.

Final Thoughts

It is apparent through a majority of studies and questions asked of consumers that they think banner signs look cheap and temporary, giving way to the assumptions that stores hanging them must be cheap and temporary as well. No business wants to be associated with these traits, which is why they are moving away from banner signage and going towards more permanent and professional sign installations. While the initial costs of design and sign installment are more expensive than a cheap vinyl sign, the added benefits, which include higher sales, more word-of-mouth, better brand recognition, and a longer lasting sign, far outweigh these costs.

Kevin loves to write and read in his spare time. Although not an English or Writing Major, Kevin has written several articles for his school newspaper, engages in technical writing for accounting policies at his job as an accountant, and has been awarded the prestigious Everett Refior Peace Prize for writing in 2012.