How accessible is your business? Do you have a ramp? Is your signage visible and easy to read? By making a few changes to your business you will be able to improve its accessibility. This, in turn, could help to expand your customer base and create more inclusivity in your community.
Here are seven ideas to improve your accessibility in your business.
1. Train your staff
It is important to train your staff to be sensitive towards someone who has a disability. You should teach them how to show empathy towards customers who enter your retail shop. They should also have patience if the person struggles to communicate effectively. If the customer has hearing loss, you should keep a piece of paper and pen nearby so that you can exchange notes between you and the customer.
2. Make your website accessible
Many people search for a product or service online before they go to the shops to look for the product. Add good descriptive alternative text (ALT text) to your images. Many people with a vision impairment use screen reading software which reads the text to them but is unable to read the images so it will read the ALT text. If you write good ALT text for your images, you will make your product or service more accessible. Make sure your hyperlinks are at least two words long to make it easier to click on. Ensure the colours you use on your website offer good contrast and the fonts are easy to read. You can learn more about website accessibility here.
3. Keep aisles clear
It is important to keep your aisles clear of clutter. This will also prevent your customers from tripping on your products.
4. Have easy access when paying
It is sometimes difficult for people in wheelchairs to access speed points attached to the cashier’s desk. By having a mobile speed point you can easily hand the pay point over to your customer to pay. If you have a lower counter, ensure you keep it free of products so it easy for people with mobility aids to put their purchases down.
5. Look at your entrance
Do you have heavy doors with round doorknobs? This can make it difficult for the elderly and people with mobility aids to enter your shop. You may even consider installing a ramp which would make it easier for people with a stroller or those in wheelchairs to enter your establishment. Furthermore, lever-handled or automatic doors will make it easier for people to enter your store.
6. Consider your lighting
Different disabilities are affected differently by the lightening used in your store. You should ensure you use the optimal lighting for your shop to make it easy for visually impaired people to see your prices and products. If you use bright flashing lights and loud noises, you could negatively affect customers who have epilepsy or autism. You should have a quiet zone in your shop.
7. Have accessible printed material
You may consider having braille printed on your business cards or flyers. Furthermore, you could have a few braille menus. Another option is to have raised text on your business card to make it easier for visually impaired people to read your card.
By implementing these seven ideas, you will create a business which is more accessible and inclusive.
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