You run a very specific kind of retail store. Your sales will depend on how you educate your customer. If a customer knows what calcium hardness does, they will be likely to buy and continue buying.

Education is key for specialty stores. I know because I’m also home brewer, and I used to visit a local homebrew supply store in my area. Normally, I would walk in, buy a few pounds of malt, hops, and that’s about it. However, when there was someone there to ask questions to, I usually ended up walking away with a lot more merchandise.

But sometimes you’re not always available to help every single customer. Sometimes, I’m sure you wish there were two or three of you, but until that technology is born, we’re forced to think of creative ways to help our customers.

If a customer is wandering your store, they probably have some questions. A great way to help those customers you can’t help personally is by designing signage that will do the work for you.

For instance, you could create a pretty sign that demonstrates how important calcium hardness is, and display it by your water testing station or near the buckets of calcium hardness. If the customer sees a nice looking graphic and decides to read, you may have just upped your chances on selling some calcium hardness to a customer who truly needs it.

I would try to create signs for products that need education for them to sell. This would include a lot of chemicals, but also some maintenance equipment as well. Even if you only show a photo of someone using a Shepard’s hook, so the customer can now see what the heck that blue metal curvy thing is hanging on your shelves. A picture is worth a thousand words, and perhaps will do it more justice than you can describing it.

You can design signs on your computer, print them out in color, and get them laminated to hang around your store. My only suggestion would be not to overload your store with signs. Keep it classy. A clean store can be a very inviting place to encourage people to buy — just walk into any Apple store and you’ll get the point.

If you have a budget, hire a professional designer and printing company to turn your product descriptions into dazzling visual signs. Just make sure the signs compliment your brand and are in some way unified — either by color scheme or theme.

A great place to get designs made up online is by visiting I also like using a local print shop or FedEx Office store to print them up, but there’s nothing wrong with printing them yourself if you have a decent color printer on hand. Just make sure you protect them in plastic so they will last. And if your store gets a lot of sunlight, keep them away from window so they don’t fade.

Do you already have educational signage in your store? If you do, tell me about it in the comments below. If not, are you up for the challenge to improve your sales?