Few things are simple for people living with a disability. Shopping is just one activity that can be challenging for disabled people. In a study released on Tuesday by the Business Disability Forum (BDF), it was found that consumers with disabilities are frequently left in a state of uncertainty and reluctance because retailers are unsure of how accessible their products may be and how this type of information should be communicated. The financial repercussions for retailers of getting this wrong are potentially devastating, with disabled people’s global buying power equaling a market the size of China.
Among the key findings in the study were that 43 percent of disabled consumers reported giving up an online or in-person shopping task early due to a lack of knowledge about design and how it might relate to accessibility. In addition, 65 percent of disabled consumers felt that barriers limited their purchasing options daily.
As someone with Cerebral Palsy, shopping is a challenging task, particularly when it comes to clothes. My clothes need to be easy for me to put on and take off. I rarely wear clothes with buttons, because my fine motor skills are impaired due to my CP. Independence is also important.
Shopping is also fatiguing for me. I have a difficult time shopping if I am tired. Shopping online is very helpful for me. The more accessible a task is, the easier it is for me to accomplish. Shopping for groceries is challenging because of my visual-perceptual issues. I get lost easily. I have a hard time staying on one side of the aisle sometimes. It’s much easier to order groceries online than to navigate the grocery store.
Retailers must make their products and businesses accessible. If a business is inaccessible, it results in lost profits. For example, I don’t see movies at the local movie theater because it isn’t fully accessible. Instead, I travel a half-hour to a nearby Cinemark. If the theater was fully accessible, the owners could make more money than they do now. After all, disabled people want to spend their money where they feel like valued customers.
Alexiou, Gus. “Retailers Lose Billions by Not Signposting Product Accessibility – New Report.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 June 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/gusalexiou/2022/06/30/retailers-lose-billions-by-not-signposting-product-accessibility–new-report/?sh=7a14e6814b07.