6 Grocery Store Signage Trends

Today’s grocery store signs are more than wayfinding and branding tools. They’re increasingly being leveraged to enhance the customer experience. 

Here are 6 grocery store signage trends to watch.

1. Big is Beautiful

Large dimensional letters against bold patterns create the grocery store signage for "BUTCHER" AND "FISH MARKET"

Modern supermarkets, like many other retailers, are no longer shy about adding show-stopping, high-impact visuals to their decor. Social media has driven the appeal of eye-popping, large-format signage and decor elements that customers will be motivated to share. 

The latest retail interior design deploys large-scale signage to create an immersive feeling for shoppers. Signage using oversized letters is used to frame and define service areas like butcher counters or bakeries. 

The super-sized sign is a trend that can work even in stores with smaller footprints.

Freezer aisle of a grocery store with large hanging letters spelling out "FROZEN". Behind the letters are a set of ice crystal, a pattern repeated on the wall at the end of the aisle.

Ultra-bold soffit murals, projected signs, and printed wall graphics can deliver big impact for relatively low cost. This type of signage can also be updated more frequently, helping to keep the store image fresh. 

2. Blasts from the Past

Retro signs in a grocery store.

Grocery store designers continue to draw on the rich trove of vintage and retro designs inspired by the rapid technological changes of the 20th century. Vintage letterforms and materials, such as metal, are used to evoke the quality and service of yesteryear in grocery store interior design. 

Freestanding and dimensional letters, backlighting, and neon convey a mid-century modern look that also feels clean, contemporary, and sleek—an aesthetic that’s perfect for grocery stores. 

Farm-to-fork, folksy signage also remains popular. Natural-looking materials and hand-drawn fonts suggest the health and well-being of products, and evoke the traditions of family farms, farmers’ markets, and local suppliers. 

3. Plan for the Meal Planners 

70% of American families report that they meal-plan on a weekly basis, with many combining planning and actual food prepping. This money-saving trend has exploded along with prices as consumers struggle to stretch their budgets.

Meal planning is changing the way customers navigate grocery stores in person. While wayfinding signage like aisle signs are obviously crucial, meal planners also need “storytelling” signage that quickly communicates new opportunities, tips, and tricks for saving money while eating well. 

Grocery stores are juxtaposing products that are natural companions—such as pre-cut produce and proteins. But they’re also hoping to drive higher incremental sales with complementary product offerings.

4. Digital Signage Grows Up 

Digital signage screens have grown in size and sophistication, shedding their downmarket image. Dynamic, flexible, affordable, and easily updated, digital signage solutions are ideal for communicating offerings like specials and sales. In supermarket design, they’re also good for information-dense deli and coffee bar menus that require frequent changes and updates.

The imagery displayed on digital screens is perfect for enhancing the customer experience. A store can replicate elements of the online shopping experience with video—for example, by displaying excerpts of positive customer reviews. These signs can also provide consumers with relevant information such as updates on specials or even product recalls. 

Light and movement offer an easy way to draw consumers further into retail stores than they may have ventured otherwise. For instance, electronic signs can draw foot traffic toward displays of products with higher profit margins, such as house brands. 

5. Meet Consumers’ Need for Simplicity

Simple and clean grocery store signage. "Fresh" in smaller white letters above "PRODUCE" against a green background.

A recent consumer sentiment article by Accenture observes, “Amid the pressure of life forces and the chaos of everyday life, what customers ultimately need is simplicity. They are drawn to anything that cuts through the noise and makes their decision-making—and their lives—easier. Businesses that want to stay relevant need to find ways to clear the path for consumers to walk easily.”

This advice could apply quite literally to any contemporary signage and store decor strategy.

The recent rebrand of Lucky’s Supermarkets in California as well as the “super-sized” 99 Ranch Market in Chandler, Arizona, are excellent examples of how “simplicity” is expressed in a fresh, clean, streamlined store design. 

Lucky stores grocery sign. DRINKERY in large white letters against a slat wall background. Flanked by round icons for wine and beer. Below are additional signs.

The Lucky stores’ design uses bold color for impact but sticks to one font family for signage to create a harmonious feeling of simplicity. King Retail Solutions fabricated signs and other store decor for both brands. 

6. Physical + Digital Should Play Well Together

As more consumers come to depend on grocery shopping apps, it’s vital to integrate the design of physical signs and the digital interface. Not too long ago, these two realms might have shared little more than a logo. 

New technologies are ensuring that, rather than being seen as a replacement for in-person shopping, the digital shopping experience is being used to enhance and expand the consumer’s in-store journey. Taking this holistic approach to marketing strategy is a way to increase customer engagement. 

The use of QR codes is helping to reduce the need for some types of non-value-added informational signage, allowing for less cluttered grocery store interiors. 

Design-savvy brands are making sure that the online and in-person shopping experiences convey a consistent storytelling language, including colors, fonts, materials, and even music. 

Is New Grocery Store Signage Affordable?

The American consumer expects and responds to “shiny and new.”

According to a study by the Sign Research Foundation, 60% of businesses that updated or replaced old signage experienced sales growth of 10% or better.

In today’s inflationary environment, companies seeking to enhance the retail experience with new signage must also grapple with rising costs.

Here are some key strategies for managing the expense of your signage project:

Strategic adjustments to designs and material specifications frequently yield substantial savings. Insist that value engineering be part of the process. King Retail Solutions, a store decor fabricator in Eugene, Oregon,  has turned value engineering into a core competency.

“We know that value engineering will be part of every project we do,” says Shaun Londahl, President of KRS. “We understand how things are made and find new ways to build things when standard methods aren’t working.”

A store decor fabricator with the ability to manufacture signs from wood, metal, plastics, lighting, and digital printing will give you maximum flexibility and choice.

With today’s supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, an end-to-end solution can be the difference between an on-time grand opening and costly delays.

One of the biggest challenges of successfully creating new signage is ensuring that it will work in every location. 3-D video site surveys enable fabricators to adjust designs to fit before signs are manufactured, ensuring quick, precise, and virtually painless installation.

Consumer sentiment has taken a drubbing from inflation, while shoppers are being asked to adjust to lower staffing levels and even reduced operating hours in retail stores. But even as shoppers adjust their behavior to these conditions, they’re motivated by factors other than price, too.

Improving the customer experience has never been more important for differentiating your brand.

Experiential retail will continue to require creative interiors and frequent refreshes. Even ultra-discount grocers can’t afford to deliver an experience that feeds consumers’ anxiety that things are in decline.

Like consumers, retailers need to get the most bang for their buck—and updated signage is one of the best ways to do exactly that.

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