Signage Research Study

Study: A third of shoppers avoid shops with badly maintained storefronts

Chipped paint, ugly signage and dirty windows reduce footfall and create negative perceptions of local area

A pocket watch printed direct with a UV printer


A study conducted by Roland DG across the UK and Europe has revealed that over a third (35 per cent) of shoppers avoid entering shops with badly maintained storefronts, and a third (29 per cent) are less likely to spend money in them. The overall findings from the study suggest certain sections of the high street need a significant facelift if they are going to mount a recovery post-COVID.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of the 1,531 shoppers polled across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain admitted at least one in every five shops on their local high street had a badly maintained store front. A similar percentage (76 per cent) had either seen zero improvement in the problem over the last three years or felt it had worsened.

Mechanics were singled out as the worst offenders when it comes to badly maintained storefronts, with nearly a third (31 per cent) of shoppers agreeing they typically had the worst signage. Hardware stores (26 per cent), takeaways (26 per cent), newsagents (20 per cent) also came in for criticism. Book stores (6 per cent), travel agents (6 per cent) and bakeries (6 per cent) fared better.

The data also suggests that the impact of low-quality storefronts runs deeper than lost sales and reduced footfall. Three quarters (72 per cent) believe that low quality storefronts make an area feel unsafe, and eight in ten (81 per cent) agree it makes an area less desirable to live in.

The study was conducted by digital print company Roland DG as part of an overall campaign to promote the value of better storefronts to the economy and society. Supporting the company’s initiative to engage in storefront makeovers and support independent retailers, Roland DG has provided exterior makeovers for Yum Yum’s Café in Manchester, clothing retailer Rak Uniforms in Birmingham and charity shop El Desvan in Alicante, Spain. The refurbishments include new branding, signage and window vinyls created and fitted by Roland DG customers, and exterior paint jobs.

Stephen Davis, EMEA Marketing Director at Roland DG, comments: “On the one hand, it’s hardly surprising that retailers have had to neglect their storefronts while battling COVID, a cost-of-living crisis and a potential economic downturn. On the other, our study campaign is designed to show retailers that if they do go the extra mile, it will increase their footfall and grow their sales.”

The day after Rak Uniforms’s storefront makeover and compared to the same day in 2021 vs 2022, card payments were up by a staggering 83 per cent, the number of sales were up by 14 per cent and the average sale amount was up 54 per cent.

Rashalit-Ali Khan continued, “The cost of living crisis has really hit us and is having a big knock on effect for this year and next year's financial earnings, but I’m feeling really hopeful about the makeover and its impact so far. Figures speak - and the new signage and storefront makeover is already making a positive commercial impact. It will make a huge difference.”

Sheila Jacobs at Charity Shop El Desvan in Alicante, Spain continues: “We are a charity shop and we need to ensure that as much of our money as possible goes towards helping local people in need. For that reason, we have been unable to invest in improving our storefront” said Sheila Jacobs at Charity Shop El Desvan. “Having Roland DG provide our new sign for free is a huge bonus - the new sign is bold and really stands out, and I’m confident it will attract more visitors to the shop.”

Roland DG is planning to provide two further storefront makeovers and welcomes approaches from independent retailers across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Any retailer interested in participating in the campaign is invited to email

Davis continues: “High street retailers are the lifeblood of our economy. We hope our small contribution to smartening up storefronts and signage will inspire others to follow suit and help win shoppers back after a punishing two years.”