Making your shop accessible for all means attracting new customers – what are you waiting for?

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Each month, high street shops lose around £267 million by not being accessible. 13.9 million people in the UK identify as disabled. Our partners at Take it Away have developed an accessibility guide which is designed to give you the confidence to make your shop, website, and promotional activity accessible and inclusive for all.

Following on from our piece on making your music shop more accessible, in this article, you will learn about the benefits of developing an Accessibility Statement, creating accessible marketing communications and putting on accessible events. Not only will these things ensure you’re accommodating to as many people as possible, but it can also help attract new customers and maintain customer loyalty.

Accessibility Statement

Research shows that 95% of disabled people search for information about accessibility online before visiting a venue for the first time.

For this reason, we ask all Take it away retailers to include key information about accessibility on their website. This can be in the form of a short statement outlining if your shop is accessible for people with limited mobility and highlighting any barriers customers may face when visiting.

Being transparent about accessibility in your shop makes it easier for people to plan and make an informed decision about their visit.

In your Accessibility Statement, you could include information such as:

  • How visitors can reach your premises, (e.g public transport routes or walking distances)
  • If accessible car parking is available
  • If your shop has step-free access or is wheelchair accessible
  • If you sell special products or adaptive music instruments that are sold as being accessible
  • If you adapt standard instruments to make them accessible where necessary
  • If you have hearing loops / audio induction loops
  • If you have accessible facilities, such as toilets or adult changing facilities
  • If service animals are welcome (and water bowls are available)
  • Contact details of how people can get in touch if they have any questions

Accessible Marketing Communications

Depending on your existing customer base or target audience, you may want to consider producing information in alternative formats such as audio, braille, large print, telephone support for blind and visually impaired, British Sign Language, textphone for the deaf and hearing impaired, and easy read guides for support workers and carers.

It is always important to ensure that any printed text you produce for customers is clear and easy to read:

  • Ideally, use at least font size 14 for written documents
  • Left align the main body of text
  • Keep the formatting consistent
  • Break up the text into manageable chunks
  • Keep the information concise and easy to navigate with distinct headings
  • Use Sans Serif fonts such as Arial, Calibri or Verdana
  • Avoid using italics, underlining text or writing entirely in upper case
  • Avoid using single line spacing where possible
  • Keep the text free of hard words and jargon

When working on content for your website, you should apply the same writing principles as recommended for print, but bear in mind that some people use screen readers to navigate a website. To make it easier for them, your website should provide the full description of a link instead of using ‘click here’ links, avoid having large blank spaces on your website and provide ‘alt’ text to describe images.

Accessible Events

Workshops and events, such as involvement in Learn to Play Day or Make Music Day, are a great way of attracting new audiences and diversifying your customer base. To ensure you are attracting as wide an audience as possible, you may wish to consider the following points:

  • Provide plenty of chairs for those who would like to sit and rest during the event or workshop. It is always better to use regular height tables and chairs instead of poseur tables
  • If you are holding an event with a seated audience, leave plenty of space or a designated area for wheelchair users
  • If you are holding a ticketed event, make it clear that disabled guests do not need to pay to bring a support worker or access assistant
  • If there will be flash photography or flashing lights at an event, let your audience know
  • On invites, it is a good idea to highlight accessibility and provide a telephone number and email address if someone has access requirements. You can include the phrase ‘if you would like to discuss any access requirements before your visit, please get in touch’.

22% of the UK population identify as disabled (13.9 million people)

95% of disabled people search a venue’s accessibility info online before visiting

£267 million is lost every month by inaccessible high street shops

Download the full accessibility guide here

https://takeitaway.org.uk/making-your-shop-more-accessible/