To rework a phrase, it’s the clothes—plus a few other things—that make the retail sales associate
It takes people just seconds to form an impression about someone they’ve just met. In fact, a set of Princeton University psychologists found in 2006 that it takes less than one-tenth of a second!
For retail sales associates wanting to convey an image of professionalism, trustworthiness and friendliness that means you need to be well-groomed and neatly dressed. Before you start every shift, take a good look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Banish stray threads, wipe off any stains and run a comb through your hair one last time. This is an excellent time to take a few breaths to center yourself or engage in a little (silent) pep talk. Make a return visit to the mirror in the middle of your shift and after any meal break.
Here are more head-to-toe ideas for looking your best on the sales floor:
It starts with a smile
You’ve heard it before but in retail sales, a smile is the most important element of your personal appearance. No matter how tired you may be or how poorly your last customer interaction may have gone, greet every new shopper with a genuine smile. A smile tells people that you’re friendly, happy and ready to help. A smile puts customers at ease and makes them feel welcome.
Don’t wear cologne or perfume while on the sales floor. Stay away from heavily scented deodorants, lotions and hair products, as well. You want shoppers to concentrate on how helpful and knowledgeable you are, not that you smell like a field of lavender—or their Grandpa Joe.
You’ll walk a mile in those shoes
Well, maybe not a mile, but as an RSA you’re on your feet most of the day. You don’t want to be sitting in the back nursing sore arches when it’s time for your next “up.” A workday is not the time to try out a new pair of footwear. Wear comfortable shoes that will enable you to keep a spring in your step all day.
We often express ourselves through our hair, but the retail sales floor is rarely the place to try out extreme hair styles or colors. You want to keep customers focused not on your head but on where they will soon comfortably lay their head. Choose a style that keeps hair out of your eyes and that will take you through your work day with little effort.
During the course of your shift, you’ll shake a lot of hands as you greet new customers and close sales. You don’t have to make a weekly visit to the nail salon, though it’s pleasant and relaxing if you can manage it. Simply keep your nails trimmed and clean. To ensure soft hands, regularly use a fragrance-free or lightly scented moisturizer.
A word to management
To help keep RSAs looking and feeling their best, store managers should make sure every retail location has a full-length mirror, lint brushes, hand lotion, mints, a small sewing kit, stain removal products and similar items. Dress codes and uniform standards should be explained to all new hires and occasionally reinforced during staff meetings.