Good storefront signs can accomplish a lot, but their most fundamental purpose is to point consumers in the right direction. How can you expect customers to do business with you if they can't even find your business to begin with? Window graphics and highly visible sign pieces should grab a passerby's attention and direct them inside.
Another problem with a lack of signage is the way it can confuse people who have heard about your business through word of mouth but can't actually figure out where your store is. Pop culture/news site Jaunted recently reported on a bakery on the Hawaiian island of Molokai that's well known for its "hot bread" pastries, but near-impossible to find at night if you don't know where to find the back entrance.
Although Kanemitsu Bakery gets rave reviews online and is something of a local legend, the authors of the Jaunted piece say they had no idea how to find it when they arrived at night. All they could see was a series of dark windows and a neon OPEN sign.
In order to access the bakery, customers had to wander down an alley and follow a series of lights (with no signage marking the way) to the actual bakery, where hot bread was being served. Photos accompanying the article show several opportunities along the way where the bakery could have used a sign reassuring customers that they were going the right way.
Instead, businesses should consult with a professional sign company to make images and displays that make everything crystal clear to new arrivals. More signage will help lead to confident and interested patrons.