It's easy to become immune to the endless list of acronyms we encounter in everyday life, from party invitations requesting RSVPs to the endless number of projects marked ASAP to decisions that are TBD. Over the years, we've accepted them without question, and often without second thought about what each letter actually stands for. Within the retail environment there's SKU, UPC, POP, POS and COD, just to name a few.

We've adopted these language shortcuts in part because they are easier to say than their full-length versions. Universal Product Code is a mouthful compared with UPC. In some cases, we know the acronym far better than the words themselves. Many of us would have to revisit our high school French classes to remember that RSVP means, "repondez s'il vous plait."

One acronym that pops up regularly in business is KISS, or Keep It Simple (Stupid). While somewhat childish in word choice, its meaning rings true in many situations, including one of importance to retailers: sign-hanging systems.

Signage is the fastest, most effective way to reach your customers with all the messages - verbal and emotional - you want to convey. With signage, you can welcome customers, put them at ease, direct them where to go, educate them or put them in the right mood. There are many options, and incorporating signage can be elementary or complex.

Yet, when you think about it, the notion of hanging a sign is really quite simple. Signs should hang securely and straight, and they should convey to your customer text and visual images that prompt sales. Signs should also be easy to hang. So how is it that this mere concept so often turns into an executional nightmare?

That's where applying the principle of KISS can make your signage program work twice as hard for you. Here are three tips to make your signage program more effective. Let's start by "taking it from the top" - literally.

Hang 'em high First, take a look at your current signs. Where are they hanging? From the ceiling, a window or a wall? Was it difficult to hang them there? Did one person hang them, or did it take several people? Could you do it standing on the floor, or did you need a hoist? Did the process necessitate moving merchandise to get to the desired site? Did the installation require special skills or tools? Could you hang the signs in the middle of the day or only when the store was closed?

These are relevant questions, for a very understandable reason. The more complex the sign-hanging system, the more likely you will keep old signs in place for a longer time. Yet, in the fast-paced retail environment, the lack of a fresh look can translate into lost sales - something we all want to avoid.

The good news is that there are new technologies that make the whole issue of installation much easier than ever before. At Rose Displays, for example, we've devised new installation tools - RoPole and its sister BiClops for large signs that require two hanging points - that enable one person to hang signs from ceilings without assistance and without a ladder. These technologies dramatically improve safety and productivity, important issues for everyone in your operation.

Easy does it Streamline your operation by finding sign-hanging systems that are easily installed and are consistent with the store's decor. Once again, technological advancements have led to the creation of products that lock signage firmly in place with one snap. From an aesthetic point of view, new sign-hanging systems come in an unprecedented array of materials, from plastics to metal and even clear materials. The new materials allow retailers to carry out the graphic look of the sign itself through the actual hardware, thus enhancing the entire visual impact.

Aside from the labor savings, easy-to-install sign-hanging systems give you the flexibility and motivation to change signs more often. The easier your sign-hanging system is to use, the more likely your signs will look right in-store. It's frustrating to invest substantial hours and money designing the right store graphics just to find them hung crooked or not at all because of poor installation hardware and equipment. Then you have to spend additional dollars to fix them yourself or to hire installers at a premium. This wastes precious time and money, and it's completely avoidable. A number of companies specialize in sign-hanging hardware, and you should take advantage of their sign-hanging expertise.

Use it or lose it The right hardware is reusable hardware. With retailers under intense pressure to be more resourceful and stretch every dollar, reusable signware simply makes sense. It allows you to put your money into graphics that can change frequently to maintain a fresh look, and also maximize the investment you're making in the first place. Additionally, with the right hardware, you have the option of printing on lower-cost substrates, which can reduce not only production expenses but also shipping costs. All of these factors make sense from the bottom line up!

A KISS in time Considering that the average shopper spends less than nine minutes in a store, the significance of your in-store signage program cannot be understated. The easier you make the shopping experience for your customers, the more they will enjoy it. The more enjoyable you make the experience, the more time they will spend in your store. The more time they spend in the store, the more they will buy.

This is a profitable and desired cycle. By remembering to KISS, your sign-hanging system can go a long way to improving your R.O.I. (return on investment).