UK retailers are becoming increasingly aware of the power of the purple pound and are acting to alter their businesses to capitalise on the £249bn spending power of disabled people.
One lift company is helping firms in various sectors to encourage more spending from disabled customers by improving access in stores.
Cibes Lift UK is working with a range of retail outlets across the country to install equipment to enable step free access to their premises.
Gary Sullivan, head of sales and marketing for the firm, said: “With disabled people and their families spending power – known as the purple pound – standing at around £250 billion last year, it is vital that businesses and organisations are ensuring their premises are accessible, for their own benefit as well as their disabled customers.
“Business owners must take into consideration the 2010 Equality Act, which declares disabled people cannot be discriminated against and reasonable adjustments should be made to premises if necessary.
“But they should be going above and beyond to make sure their facilities are inclusive and providing support to customers wherever and however possible.”
As well as physical adaptations, such as installing equipment, there are lots of easy ways to improve accessibility for disabled customers.
The Purple Tuesday website, a site dedicated to the UK’s first accessible shopping day which recently saw hundreds of UK businesses back its message, sets out five tips for retailers. Here are some below:
- If you are talking to a wheelchair user, talk to them directly and make eye contact with them rather than the door, or the person they are with.
- Let a blind person reach out for your arm to guide them around the store rather than you giving them your arm.
- In a noisy shop, when you approach a customer ask them if they want to step to a quieter place to start the conversation. For a person with mental health conditions (and plenty others as well) it may well be the difference between staying or simply walking out.
- Teach yourself hello and goodbye in sign language. As it makes such a difference to a deaf person, and you might and you want to learn even more useful phrases
- When talking to people with autism and/or Asperger’s stick to clear facts rather than providing information that then needs interpreting. For example ‘we have this jumper in red, navy and black’ rather than ‘we have this jumper in lots of colours’.