CONSULTING – RETAIL
Customers with visual impairments face unique challenges when accessing retail establishments. For a blind shopper, accessibility can mean the difference between a successful shopping trip or a frustrating experience. GetBraille.com offers consultation with owners and managers of retail establishments like yours on how best to serve blind or visually impaired clientele. However, it is important to realize that blindness is not a one-size-fits-all disability. Instead, it is a spectrum that ranges from no vision at all to a significant amount of usable vision. Not everyone’s needs will be identical.
A GetBraille.com staff member or one of our testers can visit your establishment and write a report on the experience. This report will evaluate stores based on several criteria, including physical accessibility, the availability of assistance, and the attitudes of staff towards customers with visual impairments and other disabilities.
The report will also rate on the following criteria:
- Layout of the store: Was it easy to navigate around without bumping into any obstacles? How difficult was it to get an employee to assist with shopping?
- The environment: This includes lighting, background noise levels, and visibility of signage, pricing, and other printed information.
- Acceptance of mobility devices: Are guide dogs welcome? Can customers safely move around your store with their mobility devices or white canes?
- Customer service: Blind shoppers should be treated with respect and dignity; staff should be willing to assist with any needs that the customer may have. Are staff approachable and available? Are they knowledgeable about the store and its products?
After the assessment, our team will provide suggestions for improvement. We’ll incorporate physical accessibility and customer service training on a case-by-case basis.
Staff training may include:
- Recognizing and assisting: What is the best way to help? How would you approach a person with a visual impairment? How much assistance should you expect to provide in certain situations?
- Best practices for communicating clearly: People with visual impairments rely heavily on verbal communication to mentally “picture” the items in your store. Knowing the ingredients list, instructions for use and expiration dates are crucial pieces of information for the customer.
- Navigation assistance: Helping in navigating your store and finding specific items will help customers with visual impairments shop more efficiently and smoothly.
Overall, our goal in evaluating stores is to raise awareness about the importance of accessibility and to encourage shops like yours to make changes to become more inclusive. By highlighting areas where retail markets can improve, our team hopes to inspire positive changes that will benefit all customers, regardless of ability.
Evaluating for Accessibility
To evaluate your store’s accessibility for shoppers with visual impairments, there are several criteria that we consider including:
1. Physical accessibility: This includes your store’s layout, the width of the aisles, and the presence of any obstacles that could impede a shopper’s ability to safely navigate. Additionally, the presence of features like automatic doors and ramps can make it simpler for a shopper with a visual impairment to enter and exit your store.
2. Signage: For shoppers who are blind, it is important that signage is accessible and provides information in a way that is easily understandable. Braille signs are a key component of accessibility, and stores in general should have signs that indicate important information such as aisle numbers, product names, and prices. In addition, audio descriptions of products or store layouts can also be helpful.
3. Staff training: Staff should be trained in how to assist shoppers who are visually impaired and be aware of the various accessibility features available. By guiding shoppers to a product or reading out product descriptions, staff can make their experiences all that much smoother.
4. Lighting: It is important that your store is well lit, as this can help all shoppers navigate and locate products more easily. Good lighting also helps to create a welcoming atmosphere and can reduce anxiety.
5. Customer service: Shoppers with visual impairments should be treated with respect and dignity, and staff should be willing to assist with any needs that the customer may have. Staff must be approachable/available and be knowledgeable about your store and its products.
Evaluating your store’s accessibility for shoppers with visual impairments requires a multifaceted approach. By considering the physical accessibility of the store itself, the availability of accessible signage, the training of staff, the quality of lighting, and a high level of customer service, we can help you create a shopping experience that is accessible and welcoming to everyone. By implementing these criteria, we will ensure that all shoppers have equal access to your products and services.