Smarter uniforms in the UK retail industry could drive sales as workers seek to dress to impress to save their jobs and increase sales because of the economic climate, according to research by workwear specialists, Alexandra.
In its survey of 13,000 workers across the UK, Alexandra found 85% of retail staff believed dressing to create the right impression with customers and colleagues is one area where individuals can influence the outcome.
Alexandra said the underlying theme of the study suggests looking and working smarter is the ‘attire of adversity’ with almost a fifth of those polled saying a more ‘uniform’ approach will help them increase sales and win new business in difficult times.
More than two thirds (71%) of employees in the retail sector said they felt more like part of a team while wearing a uniform, and consequently more confident when undertaking their duties.
“Austerity is now manifesting itself in our attitude to work and what we expect from our workers in terms of what they look like and how they feel about themselves and their long-term job security,” said Nick Acaster, marketing director of Alexandra workwear.
“First impressions have always mattered, but they seem to matter more in these difficult economic times. The way we dress is a significant trigger to how we may perform and how we are perceived in terms of professionalism and trustworthiness. Those who look and feel ‘the business’ are more likely to perform well and be more attractive to prospective customers,” he said.
More than 90% of surveyed respondents argued what a person is wearing determines how professional and trustworthy they look, while almost 40% said ‘scruffy clothing’ in the work environment impacted performance.
Research using photographic comparisons reveals 96% chose the worker wearing the smart work wear over the casual dress as a signal of ‘trustworthiness’ and ‘professionalism’.
The other key factor of trustworthiness was time-keeping with 92% of respondents saying tardiness was a turn-off, the study found.
“We are seeing businesses being proactive in safeguarding their futures and many of them see a smart appearance as a good place to start. Casual dress is still out there in some areas but at the moment there is a trend for it to be something for the weekend only in many work environments,” adds Acaster.