Why Wayfinding is Essential for Shopping Malls
Wayfinding is an essential design feature that can benefit almost every type of business, such as a mall, a hotel, or an outdoor area.
Wayfinding helps to improve efficiency, accessibility, and safety, and it also helps to provide visitors with the best experience possible by eliminating their frustration or stress from having to spend time looking for directions.
It is crucial for branding your shopping mall and for ensuring that all areas receive traffic. For all these reasons (and many more), mall signage design is fundamental to the success of a shopping center.
If you are still unsure about why your shopping mall needs wayfinding design solutions, keep reading to learn why wayfinding is essential for shopping malls.
What is the purpose of having wayfinding in the shopping mall?
First things first, you want the wayfinding of a shopping mall to be a working system on which people can rely. This means having a tailor-made wayfinding system that focuses on the clarity of messages.
All of this is necessary because it helps visitors navigate the space with ease and makes their experience a lot more enjoyable. In other words, within a mall, your wayfinding system should answer each visitor’s questions such as ‘where am I inside the mall,’ ‘where is my destination,’ and ‘how do I get from here to there.’
Moreover, with the right wayfinding system, foot traffic can be directed and dispersed around the space, while exterior signage can attract passers-by.
In many cases, shopping malls that invest in professional wayfinding signage solutions quickly see an increase in traffic in quiet areas. This is a result of wayfinding signage solutions inspiring visitors to navigate the assorted development with comfort, empowering them to move with more confidence and to find more.
By implementing a wayfinding system, you are shaping consumer behavior by innovatively showing them the mall offerings, which, in turn, will enhance awareness, boost sales, and raise profit margins.
How does wayfinding affect the shopper?
At the end of the day, your wayfinding system should create a better experience for shoppers, which, in turn, will increase the time they spend inside the mall. This will bring a wide array of benefits to the shopping mall and the individual retailers because the more time a shopper spends there, the more money they are likely to spend.
Creating the best experience possible for shoppers should be your main priority. After all, they are opting to spend their leisure time in your mall; if they don’t have a pleasant experience, they aren’t going to come back. Therefore, your wayfinding goal must be to aim to ensure that the general public is able to have a leisurely experience in your shopping mall.
Does wayfinding relate to branding?
In this day in age, branding is everything. So, if you are a shopping mall that is ignoring the importance of branding, then you are already losing out to your competition. Having a distinct wayfinding strategy also means carefully selecting materials, color palettes, and other design features so that they match the aesthetic of your specific shopping mall.
A shopping mall’s brand is how shoppers perceive it through a mixture of factual information (size, retailers, hours) and the vibe they get (sophisticated, affordable, forward-thinking, stressful). Your brand is how you differentiate yourself from other shopping malls, helping shoppers decide where they want to go.
In 2019, the most successful shopping malls are those that recognize that visitors aren’t just coming to shop; instead, they want to hang out with friends, eat dinner, and indulge in other leisurely activities in a cool environment.
Your brand will play a significant role in determining whether or not people will choose to visit your shopping mall or not. Your wayfinding system will determine whether or not people enjoy being in your space.
What about digital signage tools?
Nowadays, wayfinding isn’t merely about directing people to the bathroom; it is about the whole retail journey and experience. Therefore, digital elements (such as touchscreen kiosks and apps) are becoming more attractive in shopping malls.
The prevalence of these tools in shopping malls around the world is due to the fact that they generate significant revenue from retailer participation and advertising.
Also, if you choose to include digital signage in your overall signage and wayfinding design, then you can open it up as a monetization stream. These signs are ideal for generating additional funds through advertisers who want to take advantage of the foot traffic in the area.
How to Have the Most Effective Wayfinding Signage
For the most effective wayfinding signage, there are several design elements that you need to include. First and foremost, you need user-friendly language and universal iconography that enable all visitors to comprehend what you are communicating.
Make sure that the font is big enough to be read (particularly if the signs are outside and people will be driving) and that only essential information is provided. You want to keep the signs as simple as possible as well.
Additionally, the placement of your signage is of utmost importance. After all, you can have the best-designed signage in the world; but, if they aren’t located in places where visitors need them, then they aren’t going to do much for your business. The areas where shoppers need the signs are called “decision point locations.” It is in these spots where a wayfinding decision has to be made that you want to have the appropriate signs.
However, wayfinding isn’t reserved merely for physical signs. Your shopping mall can opt to utilize mobile wayfinding apps that aid people in finding their destination in and around the buildings quicker and more efficiently.
If you are ready to enhance the shopping experience of your mall and boost your business, then it is time to reach out and speak to the best wayfinding signage consultants. By working with professionals, you will be able to make the most of your space and ensure that your shopping mall’s brand continues to stay competitive.
What are your thoughts on the importance of wayfinding in shopping malls (and other similar places)? Let us know any insights or relevant experiences you have in the comments below!
Zak Zakaria is a Waymaker at dezigntechnic in Dubai who also previously worked as the company’s Graphic Designer and Art Director. Zak is a creative with work experience in multiple multinational agencies such as JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi. Signage design is a family business, making Zak’s personal experience with signage his longest professional commitment.