In an age when consumers embrace self-expression, it comes as no surprise that many retail businesses forego uniforms. This strategy may curry favor among a generation of young and conscious buyers, who prize displays of individuality. It also means fewer expenses for companies because they don’t have to go to the trouble of designing and creating uniforms.
The problem is, customer experience may be compromised by a lack of consistency among your workers.
Here’s a sample scenario: if everybody is allowed to wear casual clothes, your customers might not be able to distinguish the workers from shoppers. You don’t want your shop to be remembered as the store “where I mistook a buyer for an employee” or “where I couldn’t find anyone who’d help me.” Despite their rigidity, uniforms enhance the customer experience simply by setting your workers apart from the consumer-crowd.
Reinforcing Your Brand
Uniforms are immediate visual representations of your brand. From the moment a customer enters, he or she encounters a combination of colours, shapes, or text that he or she immediately associate with your brand. Buy name badges and execute flawless customer service, and it would entice shoppers to enter your store the next time they pass by.
A consistent look is also crucial for franchises. A familiar look-and-feel tells customers that it’s the same brand they know and trust. Product consistency, after all, is part of the customer experience. Uniforms subtly convey that employees can provide the same warm accommodation and product knowledge, no matter which location they work in.
A Sense of Belongingness
In movies or comic strips, two people who discover they’re wearing the same thing often feel resentment toward the other. They’re not to blame — people don’t spend minutes in front of their wardrobe, putting together an ensemble, only to find out that some other person is wearing the exact outfit. So much for individuality.
The opposite goes, however, for people who belong in a group, like your workers. Clothes are powerful because they foster a feeling of belongingness among those who wear uniforms. This effect is often unnoticed, but you can clearly see it when workers from different franchises meet. And often, a solid, united team equals a robust ROI.
No Trouble with the Dress Code
Uniforms add to the company’s expense, but they save you the trouble of policing employees for what they wear every day. Without uniforms, your brand has to establish a strict dress code that’s aligned with your brand identity. Such regulation has many aspects: the colors, cut, length, style, the list goes on.
Not to mention it might brew tensions among your workers. Managers who are too lenient will be favored better than those who are strict. Employees who get away once are emboldened to skirt the rules again. A controversial yet admissible choice of graphics may rub a customer the wrong way.
Uniforms free you from these worries because they’re studied, standardised, and easier to implement.
The Case for Uniforms
A successful business cultivates an excellent buying experience, especially in brick-and-mortar stores, where employees face customers directly. While individuality is prized, uniforms strengthen your brand by being presentable, identifiable, and pleasantly uniform.