Hyperlocal Advertising: How to Use Window Graphics

by Dave Clarke on May 5, 2014
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Retail marketers have been giving hyperlocal advertising — the act of appealing directly to customers and prospects in the immediate vicinity — all sorts of buzz lately.

As a small-business owner, perhaps you’ve heard of a tactic called geofencing, which targets customers with mobile phones when they happen to be nearby. But you don’t need digital technology to mount an effective hyperlocal campaign. In fact, you can go completely old-school by placing highly targeted graphics in your storefront windows.

“The name of the game in retail is to entice the customer into your store and to sell them something,” says Beverly Solomon, creative director for design firm Musee-Solomon in Austin, Texas. “Whether you have space in a mall, a strip center, or a freestanding building, the first chance you have to get the attention of a potential customer is with your windows.”

Solomon cites history as an example: “The great department stores of the past — and a few still in business — used window displays to attract and to excite customers. The window display should give a great first impression that immediately conveys the image that you want your business to project.”

Robert Richardson, owner of Richardson Graphics in Las Vegas, concurs, adding that the most effective window displays keep things simple.

“When it comes to designing storefront window displays, most of the time people are only seeing these displays for only a couple of seconds,” Richardson says. “One of the worst things you can do is clutter it up with too much text or information. Your primary goal is to grab the potential customer’s attention and make them want to come inside.”

Beyond driving store traffic, window graphics offer these benefits:

  1. Cost savings — The production costs of window graphics, whether they’re painted on or applied as decals, are often less expensive than other forms of advertising. “Depending on where you are in the country, the cost is somewhere around $10 per square foot after you factor in the material, design, and the printing,” Richardson explains. “That makes covering an average size storefront cheaper than most billboards charge for a single month.

  2. Flexibility — Because window graphics are relatively inexpensive, you can change them frequently to promote specials or keep them up for longer periods of time depending on their content. “How long they last really depends on your location, and how long the sun is beating on the graphic,” Richardson says. “In the desert Southwest these graphics generally last for two to three years as opposed to other areas, where you might get four to five years out of them.”

    Richardson recommends changing them every year or so. “You don’t want them to become just another part of the landscape,” he says. “Changing them every year or so helps attract attention and helps the storefront always looks fresh and exciting.”

  3. No permits — Many municipalities require some type of permit to put up signage outside a store. This often involves paying a fee and getting approval from a city department and/or neighbors. Window graphics typically don’t require any permission to place, not even from a landlord.

  4. Shade and privacy — Depending on the type and size of window graphics you choose, they can provide some shade from sunlight, helping to keep cooling costs down in the summertime. They also provide some degree of privacy to your in-store shoppers.
  5. Functionality — Window graphics can be used to guide customers and prospects to your parking facility, your front door, and your company’s website.

Dave Clarke is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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