Today shops across the UK are celebrating the first ever accessible shopping day, Purple Tuesday. A day to spread awareness of the importance to provide services that are accessible to all customers no matter what their requirements are. In the UK nearly one in five people have a disability/impairment and over half of UK households know someone who has a disability. The spending power of this valued customer group is known as the Purple Pound and is worth £249 billion to the UK economy.
In this day and age there are however still barriers that prevent customers with a disability to fully participate in society. Be that shopping online and in store, going out to enjoy a drink or meal out and just exploring different places. Today shops will showcase the accessible features that are currently available to customers whilst revealing improvements they have made for the run up to Purple Tuesday. Many High Street shops are getting involved to ensure their businesses are inclusive to all, including Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s in collaboration with Argos and Asda.
Many shopping centres across the UK are also taking part, including our local shopping centre in Dundee, The Overgate. They are adding new services including stoma friendly toilet facilities, improved hearing loop at the Customer Service Desk, large print mall guides and a retailer liaison regarding accessibility. These new services will work alongside the current accessible services that are already available at the centre including a Shopmobility service, wheelchair hire, automatic doors and entrance ramps.
I am Claire D’All the Marketing Manager for OOVIRT. I am a frequent shopaholic and use a wheelchair 24/7, I am pleased to see that businesses are becoming more aware of the access requirements that some customers may need. I feel that improvements will certainly make everyone feel more included, but why can’t every day be ‘accessible day’?
For centuries customers with disabilities have been visiting shops and participating in society, however it has taken until 2018 and one day out of 365 for some businesses to start noticing changes are needed. I appreciate the efforts that businesses are continuing to make with Purple Tuesday to be accessible but I’m left thinking… should it be praised with over 13 million disabled people in the UK, should it not be a necessity to be inclusive?