Making Uniforms Work for Grocery Retailers

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By Scott Debolt

From smaller chains looking to present a polished, professional brand to larger stores looking to create a new type of one-stop-shopping experience, Threads is partnering with grocery retailers to design the uniform program to match.


The Wonderful World of Grocery Retailers

I have had the opportunity to work with a number of small and larger grocery retailers over the years. I have witnessed the evolution of the industry. Seeing the impact of COVID on supply chain, staffing and expense challenges was particularly tough. In the last year or so I’m seeing an uptick in creative approaches to increase in-store sales and customer loyalty. At Threads, our product may be uniforms, but the value we add is our solutions mindset. We take time to understand the industry, get to know our clients and their unique needs. Together we can design a program that is not one size fits all.


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Supporting Uniform Adherence 

One of the clients I work with came to us with a challenge. Their associates, particularly younger employees, were not following the uniform program consistently. Some might think if you put on a badge, then what does the uniform matter. But it was becoming clear that the less polished presentation was impacting customer perception and their perceived ability to find help and answers when needed. This is exactly why a uniform is so important to a brand! But it’s only impactful if the team adheres to it. We worked with this client to modify the uniform to make it even more comfortable and easy to wear. And we even created signage for the staff break rooms to show how things could be worn together – staying in brand but also allowing for moments of individuality embraced by the younger generation.


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Unique Looks by Department

Some clients are looking for a uniform look across departments, with slight variation for managers or customer service. But many clients, particularly larger retailers, see the opportunity to create unique looks by department to set those folks apart. This makes it even easier for customers to identify the right person to go to for assistance. Not only does it create a visually distinct shopping experience, it also presents an opportunity for team members to feel special and excited about their area’s specific look, generating a little extra engagement with a boost to morale.


FAV thefreshmarket diverse employees


Creating a Store Within a Store

Perhaps one of the most exciting things we’re seeing with our larger retailers looking to really bring folks in store again and again is the idea of creating stores within their store. Yes, it’s still a grocery store, but the beauty department for example is not just an aisle with special signage. It’s a whole section giving Ulta vibes with layout, lighting, and decor. And of course associate uniforms are designed to make it feel special and a shopping experience you’d want to have again and again.

Threading Your Way to Success

The common denominator across all these examples is that Threads is game for any challenge and is here to partner as the industry and customer expectations evolve. It’s exciting to be a part of our customers’ success.