Retail signage poses unique challenges for all retailers, but especially for those that are large and geographically-distributed. They need to enforce brand consistency and identity, but the sales landscape changes rapidly, and their network of widespread stores needs the ability to adapt quickly with signage tailored to local needs, while still respecting the global brand.
Typical solutions follow one of two approaches: a centralized (and often slow or inflexible) workflow in which corporate headquarters meticulously produces all sales collateral offsite, ahead of time; or a de-centralized workflow in which individual stores improvise their own collateral, with that approach’s attendant risks of deviation from brand, to say nothing of redundancy of effort.
Retail signage has long been primed for a practical, real-world technology-based solution. Silicon Designer is that solution, and has been producing real-world results for national and global retailers for years. Chances are, if you’ve shopped in a retail setting recently, you’ve seen the results of our solution. Yet you haven’t heard of us yet. That’s because we haven’t really told our story — until now.
The challenge faced by many retailers, especially those with hundreds of brick-and-mortar locations, is how to drive sales with easily-consumed product information that can be absorbed at a glance. The messaging has to be delivered smoothly, almost subliminally, informing the consumer about new products, time-limited discounts, promotions and more.
For a single location, this is relatively easy. But for those spanning continents and cultures, it is much more challenging. This is because each location needs to customize its messaging in light of their local realities, which includes currency, language and other product information, such as sizes and units of measure. This means that a set of static one-size-fits-all signage delivered by a corporate art department simply isn’t going to work.
The core challenge centers on providing each individual retail location with gorgeous, on-brand signage that is easy to edit, allowing them to customize their messaging without deviating from the brand identity and its visual language.
The Solution: Silicon Designer
Silicon Designer is a fully customizable web-to-print platform that businesses can implement in a wide variety of ways. Silicon Designer is flexible: it integrates with existing corporate systems as a separate module, or it can support a plug-and-play implementation based on a predefined, prebuilt platform interface. Or, for a more tailored experience, the Silicon team can support nearly infinite levels of customization.
Either way, it’s a white-labeled product (which is why you’ve never heard of us before) that runs as a part of your internal or external systems, allowing multiple types of users to interact with your flavor of Silicon Designer.
Silicon Designer in Action
Talk is nice, but we know that you really want to see Silicon Designer in action. Below, we’ll walk through how Silicon Designer changed life for the better at three major retailers.
Before we jump in, one more point to clarify: in most retail applications, there will be two roles: the template creator and the local implementor. The template creator is typically a designer who creates on-brand sales and signage templates. This is how Silicon Designer helps brands more tightly control the branding and look of their branded in-store print content.
The implementor can be just about anyone at the store level; typically the manager or assistant manager. Their role is to simply fill in fields or customize limited text to fit the needs of the individual location.
Sale Signage for Global Clothing Retailer
One global clothing retailer needed to do exactly what we’ve described here: allow individual store personnel to produce beautiful, on-brand signage and collateral, easily and quickly. This brand has an internal marketing portal for all locations to access. We built the Silicon Designer portal into their marketing portal.
At this retailer, template creators generate branded signage templates that cover all standard signage types and sizes. Store managers then select the best template for their needs, and modify the editable fields as needed. For example, a manager might decide that it’s time for 50% off seasonal T-shirts at this location, even though the shop across town is discounting them at 30%.
Managers or other implementors can see a preview of their sign as they edit, making changes as necessary. Once it looks right on screen, they can export a print-ready PDF and either print it on-site, or send to a local vendor.
By relying on Silicon Designer, this clothing retailer easily retains its branding standards — even on short-term or custom signage. And implementors can use the system with ease, lowering the likelihood of ugly signs or embarrassing typos.
Time-Limited Signage for Cellular Retailer
We implemented a very similar setup for a national mobile phone retailer. These kinds of retailers require more nuance and flexibility in their signage, along with a healthy dose of fine print. A clothing retailer may only need three or so fields (price, item name, date range), but a cellular retailer must provide prices, rebates, trade-in information, conditional text, and often much more.
Silicon Publishing implemented an internal system for this retailer, as the retailer elected to give more flexibility to the implementors in the field. Support for conditional text allowed their signage to adapt automatically to the presence or lack of related content and text fields. Whatever the local conditions, the results were the same: beautiful, branded, and easily-implemented print content.
Automated Pricing Labels for Electronics Chain
In a related retail use case, our automated pricing labels for an electronics retailer relied on a data feed to drive the process, rather than a set of human implementors. In this scenario, the automation was based on logic controlling how the text would appear, given the available fields and related values.
The net result was a ready-to-print label with little to no human intervention necessary. We provided an online editing module for those labels that required post-process editing, also giving implementors the ability to add occasional images.
For this electronic retailer, our solution straddled the line between hybrid database publishing and online web-to-print editing. But however you describe it, the benefits were the same: faster production, better consistency, and much easier edibility.
Silicon Designer: The Ideal Solution for Retail Signage
Silicon Designer has a proven track record in retail signage, allowing brands to increase agility while also enhancing their adherence to brand image. If you’re looking for a better process for your customer-facing communications, our team of experts is ready to chat. Reach out today to learn what Silicon Designer can do for your retail operation.