‘Purple Tuesday’, the UK’s first day dedicated to ‘accessible’ shopping, will take place on 13 November and will see retailers such as Asda, Argos and Sainsbury’s introduce new measures to make the shopping experience more inclusive for disabled customers.
The initiative is being coordinated by the disability organisation Purple and has been endorsed by the government. Leading brands including Argos, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Marks & Spencer have already pledged their support, as have owners of some of the UK’s busiest shopping destinations owned by The Crown Estate, Landsec and Hammerson.
Estimates put the collective spending power of disabled people and their families at £249bn. However, research by the Department for Work and Pensions puts both shopping and eating and drinking out in the top three most difficult experiences for disabled people based on accessibility.
A survey of 200 disabled people by Purple back in December found that more than one in two disabled people were concerned about overcrowding. A similar proportion said they have left a store or abandoned a purchase because of a poor customer experience.
Purple Tuesday will also promote accessible e-commerce. The Click-Away Pound survey suggests that retailers are missing out on significant volumes of online sales. In 2016, inaccessible websites and apps accounted for an estimated £11.75bn in lost revenue in the UK alone.
Mike Adams, CEO of Purple said: “Less than 10% of companies have a dedicated strategy for targeting disabled customers. Fundamentally, Purple Tuesday isn’t about a single day in the year but encouraging lasting change that creates a virtuous circle between businesses and disabled consumers.”
Jo Moran, head of customer service at Marks & Spencer said: “The accessibility of our stores and website is extremely important to us, so we’re delighted to support Purple Tuesday. Taking place in the run up to Christmas it’s a great opportunity for us to refresh our training with colleagues to ensure we’re offering the best possible service for all our customers.”
Tim Fallowfield, corporate services director for Sainsbury’s, added: “By taking steps towards improving accessible shopping during the busiest shopping period of the year, we hope to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges, while also providing an enhanced shopping experience for our disabled customers.”