Or are you closed to clients – without realising it…
Access is easy to take for granted. Almost everything is designed for the able-bodied, whether it’s travelling by train to the city, going shopping, or simply leaving the house. It’s a fact. There is a lot more work to be done to aid people with limiting conditions.
The physical retail environment can be challenging. Small, confined shops and aisles piled high with products can be off-putting, or just physically impossible to navigate. Parking and toilet facilities need to be close at hand or easily identified. Information about facilities, services and access is disjointed and is sometimes simply inaccurate. Potential customers, who have made the effort to get to a store find this frustrating and disheartening.
Retailers can open their doors to more of the population by making reasonable adjustments. These changes provide a valuable targeted marketing tool. So when you make those changes, make sure everyone knows about it! The government passed the DDA (Disabled Discrimination Act) 20 years ago. Access for all – it should be standard by now.
With occupational therapy, access problems are mostly within the home. The retailer will try to match a product with the client, whereas the occupational therapist has a clinical perspective. Retailers, manufacturers, and occupational therapists should work together. The end user gets a far more comprehensive solution if the sectors can work collaboratively. Businesses unlock more potential customers by improving access, and by considering the points of The Equalities Act. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either.
The individual suffers when access is denied – in time, money, effort, or all three. Disabled people and their families pay over the odds for essentials – from expensive equipment to higher energy bills. These costs add up to an average of £550 a month. Disabled conditions have many more additional costs associated with them too. Don’t create more hurdles – we need an environment that works for all, whether shopping, relaxing or travelling.
Why close your premises to some shoppers? More customers equal more trade. It’s not rocket science.