People living with disabilities have every right to enjoy shopping around in the mall and stores. However, when the environment is unfavorable for them, shopping can be challenging. Some could be using a walker, others on wheelchairs, crutches, the blind or vision impaired.
In this case, every store owner should ensure that the area is accessible and welcoming to all consumers. Using indoor navigation systems and maps for malls will make it easy for shoppers to find the stores they’re looking for via the fastest, most efficient route possible. Below is a guide to learn how to make your store limitless and provide a user-friendly shopping experience.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, every store constructed after 1993 needs to be accessible to all people. Any store built before the indicated date should make every means possible to create reasonable access for people living with disabilities. Even though you may have limited space within your premises, you should try and comply with the following requirements.
• Make sure your commercial door is ADA compliant.
• The entrance should be accessible.
• Easily accessible and quiet bathrooms and dressing rooms.
• Every area within the store should be wheelchair-accessible.
• De-clutter and ensure that there are no products on the floor.
• Provide braille signs for the blind.
• Ensure at least pathways of 32″ wide.
• Pass messages announced over the loudspeaker to customers with hearing loss.
• Let all fixtures be accessible to wheelchair users.
• If necessary, let the disabled skip queues.
• Implement hearing loops.
Additionally, ensure you embrace wider aisles because they make the customer stay put. The easily accessible merchandise invites a quick interaction with disabled shoppers, creating a seamless shopping experience.
Shoppers feel excited when they touch the merchandise as they plan on making possible purchases. On the other hand, customers feel put-off and disappointed when they fail to reach items on the shelves. This happens when things are too high or displayed far away.
Your employees are the backbone of your business and play a vital role in creating a comfortable shopping experience for your customers. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure continuous employee training to get an in-depth understanding of people living with disabilities.
In this case, it’d be ideal to enroll employees in programs such as the National Disability Authority. Once enrolled, they should train on the general components of disability, such as the appropriate language to use when attending to customers with disabilities.
There should also be a guide to teach employees how to improve best practices and captivate a professional relationship when helping people with disabilities.
How well you attend to your clients’ needs through your employees depends on whether the customer will stay loyal to your business or shift to your competitor. The last thing you’d want is losing your customers because you weren’t able to attend to their needs.
Therefore, as you enroll your employees in training programs, ensure they implement what they’ve learned so that your customers have every reason to enjoy your services and come back for more.
For instance, your employees should learn how to attend to a customer in a wheelchair who’d want a fitting room to try new clothes. They should also communicate with visually impaired people and engage them in a fruitful conversation.
Place Heavy Items on Lower Shelves and Lighter Ones on Higher Shelves
When heavy items are on higher shelves, it becomes inaccessible and challenging. This can lead to falls and injuries within your store. You don’t want to incur high treatment costs or even lawsuits from your customers due to negligence.
In this case, you need to ensure that lighter items are above the weighty ones so that anyone can pick with ease. Create a clear layout and let your customers enjoy shopping.
Don’t forget to train your staff to remain alert when customers are making purchases. They should be able to offer assistance where applicable. Meaning, your sales staff need to be on the look-out throughout until each customer gets the best services.
The Bottom Line
Your full responsibility is to ensure that you offer the best services to make your customers comfortable and always yearning to come for more. Making your store accessible using the tips above is the best way to implement best practices and a seamless shopping experience for all your customers living with disabilities.