BEAUTIFUL CITY

The point-of-purchase (POP) is valuable real estate for communicating with customers at the moment of purchase. (MOP)

POP for a retail store begins at the road leading to the store’s parking lot.  A road sign can make the difference between a turn-in and a passer-by.

Beautification Committees for local communities don’t like marketing signs very much at all.  Some communities have issued local ordinances banning signs and banners.  Communities have even hired “Sign-Cops” to travel local roads in search of offending signs.  The sign cop removes every sign that has been planted and reduces it to landfill.

In a recent job, I had the opportunity to actually study the effects of signage upon sales.  The company had a powerful, classy, not ugly road sign, which touted sale items.  After the Sign Cop sent the sign to meet its maker, sales for the company dropped almost 30 percent in one day.  Sales for the company never returned to the “with sign” level.

Sign Cops dropped the MOP.

Electronic reader boards are effective for companies with roadside real estate.  For stores with off road store fronts (lifestyle centers) there is limited visibility to the store.  Roadside banners and signs provide the last chance to influence drivers at the MOP.

May I add that most city budgets operate almost exclusively on sales tax revenue? If retail store sales decline, the city budget declines as well.  The problems cities are experiencing now with payroll for police and fire protection are as a result of sales declines related to the 2009 recession.  City managers NEED retail stores to increase sales.

But City Managers also want pretty cities to attract new residents.  The disconnect comes in a trade-off between road signs and roadside beautification.  My contention is that a prospective resident will be much more concerned with city service shortages than a street lined with banners.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A parking lot full of cars is my definition of a beautiful city.

What do you think?

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