For customers with disabilities that limit their mobility, navigating retail environments can be a challenge. What should be a smooth, stress-free experience is often causing unwanted anxiety, which can turn disabled shoppers away.
Today, the “purple pound” – or the spending power of disabled people – is worth an annual £249billion to the UK economy. Ignoring the needs of disabled customers is not only morally wrong; it can also be very costly to your business.
Where are retailers going wrong with accessibility for disabled customers?
When a store is designed, the needs of the disabled customers will, wherever possible, be considered in the core layout. However, these requirements can be unintentionally forgotten in the day-to-day running of a store. Temporary additions to the store layout, such as promotional displays, can often affect accessibility. Although these additions are temporary, they can leave a permanent impression on your disabled customers.
When rails and racks are placed too closely together, this further limits floor space. In larger stores, walkways are a set width and are kept clear but when stock is placed away from this walkway, they can still be placed too closely together. This limits the opportunity for wheelchair users to access products. In smaller stores particularly, extra stock and other clutter can spill into the aisles, which can cause further access restrictions.
To improve accessibility within a store, here are our top tips
- Remove unnecessary stock and other clutter
- Add ramps in place of steps
- Widen walkways
- Train staff to develop the confidence and knowledge to engage with disabled customers
- Ensure you have high light resources to improve visibility of hazards for the visually impaired
By implementing positive changes that remove barriers for your disabled customers, you can improve customer loyalty, increase profits and therefore build a positive reputation.
For more information on how to improve accessibility within a store, please contact us using the form below.