Central to retail stores and their strategy is the product mix – the store’s product, price, promotion, personnel, and presentation. Retail workers are a critical component of a company’s brand and image, and thus, their uniforms should be at the forefront of consideration.
Every business is unique, however, and each business type can benefit from proper employee uniforms. Read on for inspiration, tips, and best practices regarding uniforms for retail workers and their respective industries.
The Importance of Retail Worker Uniforms
You may find yourself wondering how critical uniforms are for retail workers. As long as everyone generally matches, there’s no need to be concerned, right? Wrong.
Retail worker uniforms create a sense of identity, communicate the message of the brand, and help construct the intended atmosphere or mood of the store. Furthermore, retail worker uniforms should also be practical and improve employees’ ability to complete their jobs safely and successfully.
As previously mentioned, different retail stores come with different demands and different needs for their workers. A great uniform for a retail food store is likely to be completely different from what would make a great uniform for a clothing store, for example.
Either way, successfully implementing quality uniforms for retail workers will help promote work ethic and employee and customer satisfaction. Retail uniforms should be intentional to the work employees are carrying out and should align with the company vision.
Investing in a great uniform is an investment in:
- Morale for your employees, giving them a sense of belonging and identity
- Professionalism seen through your employees by your customers
- Safety through the right types of materials and design choices.
- Teamwork and productivity
- Customer satisfaction (helping them know who can help)
- Employee satisfaction, saving them money on buying clothes for work
- Advertising and promoting company values through messaging, promotions, and events incorporated into branding
Uniforms for Clothing Stores
Uniforms for retail workers in a clothing store are bound to be unique. What is key to consider here is that clothing store employees do not necessarily need functionality out of their uniform (they are not carrying out physically laborious tasks), but they do need to fit the brand they represent.
In most situations, retail workers in a clothing store have uniforms that match the social qualities of the clothes they are attempting to sell. For example, workers in an athletic/ sports retail store are likely to be wearing athletic clothes like a polo or performance t. Workers at a shoe store will probably be wearing the types of shoes on sale, and workers at a teen-punk clothing store might wear trendy clothing that matches the style of their customers.
Employees should represent their products in their uniform style, but there also needs to be a sense of unity. A retail store can build cohesion by creating a uniform where workers all wear the same shirt or hat (branded with the company logo and name) or the same color scheme. In general, the colors black and white give off a sense of status, sophistication, and style and are thus a great choice for retail uniforms of clothing store workers.
Unity is also demonstrated in the fabric used for uniforms. A clothing store speaks to style, so clothing store employees should not wear uniforms with cheap, unstylish fabric like cheap cotton and would do better with wool, linen, performance fabric, etc.
Uniforms for Electronics Stores
Electronic stores seek to send a message to their potential customers: they are experts (knowledgeable and experienced), and they have quality products (reliable and good performance).
An electronic store can incorporate this messaging into their uniforms by selecting more professional styles. Again, higher quality clothing is a great choice here (think collared shirts and long pants), and aim for using colors in the company brand scheme or in subtle choices that are associated with admirable traits. For example, the color blue has positive connotations of security and trust and would, therefore, be a wise choice for a retail uniform seeking to instill trust in purchasing expensive electronics.
Not sure what color works for your company? Read our insight into the influence of color and style on uniform branding.
Regarding fabric type, we recommend quality fabrics to demonstrate professionalism. Don’t worry about high durability, as uniforms for retail workers in an electronic store do not incur high stress and are generally not used for physically laborious jobs.
Uniforms for Food and Grocery Stores
Uniforms for retail workers in the food industry will be very different – they need the perfect balance between fashion and function.
Food and grocery store uniforms can incorporate various styles depending on the atmosphere: classic uniforms with collared shirts, ties, and a black and white color scheme will demonstrate a traditional and timeless style. On the other hand, a casual style with denim, khaki, and bright colors of red and yellow demonstrates excitement, fun, and a busy buzz.
These food store uniforms also need to incorporate function. Sanitation and safety are critical in a workplace environment that deals with food consumption, so a HACCP-compliant design (with durable fabric, complete washability, and low numbers of pockets/ buttons) will be the best option.
Read up on the best types of uniforms for food service workers in 2023 for inspiration!
Uniforms for Child vs. Adult Stores
A big distinction for retail stores is the intended audience, and this intended audience will have a great impact on the uniform a store chooses for its employees.
A retail store tailored toward adults (whether it’s alcohol, clothing, etc.) should have a uniform that demonstrates maturity and knowledge. To do this, utilize more sophisticated colors and styles such as black and white along with professional style.
Quite differently, a retail store angled toward kids should have an atmosphere that’s fun, inviting, creative, and relaxed. These types of uniforms should incorporate bright colors (such as pink, orange, yellow, blue, and green) as well as fun shapes and pictures (such as animals, dinosaurs, multi-colored designs, etc.). We all know children can be a bit energetic and messy, so a uniform that is easily washable with durable and color-retaining fabric is the way to go.
Design Uniforms for Your Retail Workers
The possibilities of uniforms for retail workers are as endless as the types of retail stores. Each store has its target audience with a brand that sends specific values and messages, and uniforms should exemplify those values.
Intentionally designing uniforms to meet the work they will be used for is the first step, but the best practice for uniform design transcends simple functionality or fashion. It’s about bringing everything together under one design, including the best fabric, style, type, color, and so much more.
If you have more questions or you are considering acquiring new uniforms for your retail workers, contact the experts at Accent Branding today!