Unclear social distancing signage stops 40% of consumers shopping

A sign on the floor of a shop, advising customers regarding social distancing guidelines.

More than 40% of UK shoppers have stopped visiting stores that have unclear signage on social distancing, according to the findings of a European study of 2,500+ shoppers from Roland DG.

The study reveals that clear signage has a significant impact on shopper confidence. More than 80% of shoppers in the UK said they feel safer in shops with clear signage on social distancing, and almost eight in 10 (78%) are more likely to shop in stores with clear instructions on social distancing measures.

The findings also indicate brands risk reputational damage from inadequate COVID-19 signage, with UK shoppers saying the number one emotional impact of poor signage is the feeling businesses are not taking their safety seriously enough (chosen by more than 40% of respondents). Signs are also in the spotlight more than ever before, with an overwhelming majority of shoppers (75%) saying they are more aware of in-store signage than before the pandemic.

In the UK, the stores with the most unclear social distancing signage are clothes shops (chosen by 21% of respondents), followed by supermarkets and grocery stores (19%) and restaurants and bars (16%).

Younger shoppers were found to be the most likely to be influenced by in-store signage. Shoppers between 16 to 34 years are the most likely to have already stopped visiting shops with poor social distancing measures (with 54% having done so), and the most likely to feel safer in shops with clear signage (85%) and to visit stores with clear signage (78%).

Jerry Davies, managing director of Roland DG UK, said: “Bricks-and-mortar retailers need to increase consumer footfall, and effective signage plays a vital role in giving shoppers the confidence to visit stores. But the data shows that most businesses are clearly not giving it enough attention. Stores that fail to prioritise COVID-19 signage will continue to see shoppers stay away.

“There’s a big opportunity for brands to use signage to differentiate themselves and rebuild shopper confidence – and print businesses have a critical role to play in educating retail customers of the power of effective, directional signage. The print industry is pivotal in putting shoppers at ease, building trust and keeping everyone safe.”

Available freely online, Roland DG UK has a number of blog posts and informative articles aimed at helping signage businesses to grow during the coronavirus pandemic.

An online survey polled 2,533 consumers who have visited the shops at least twice a week since lockdown has been lifted in the following markets: UK (502 respondents), Spain (508), Italy (507), Germany (502) and France (514). Survey conducted by Censuswide between July 21 and 27, 2020.

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