Purple Tuesday image

Taking place today, over 2,500 organisations, including Sainsbury’s, Sky, West Ham United and M&S, are taking part in Purple Tuesday to improve accessibility and the customer experience for disabled people.

Purple Tuesday takes place every year and is organised by the charity Purple. It calls on organisations to make lasting changes that will improve the customer experience for disabled people by focusing on their needs. There are various changes that organisations can make that all make a difference to disabled people’s experiences, such as staff training on disabilities, website accessibility and shop accessibility.

According to Purple, in the UK, the so-called ‘Purple Pound’ – the consumer spending power of disabled people and their families – is worth £249 billion and is rising by an average of 14 percent each year.

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For organisations, by taking part in Purple Tuesday and rethinking how they can make their business more accessible to disabled people in the long-term, this will result in the opening up of products and services to the disability market. It also means that disabled people will feel more welcome when it comes shopping experiences.

New research published for Purple Tuesday reveals that poor customer service and a lack of staff understanding are among the key barriers preventing disabled consumers purchasing goods and services.

Research by national charity Scope revealed that three-quarters of disabled people have had to leave a store or website because of their disability.

In addition, Purple’s research shows that most complaints from disabled people relate to experiences within the business/organisation premises, with disabled people more likely to spend money with organisations if they improve:

  • staff understanding about different disabilities (56 percent)
  • the overall customer experience for disabled people (41 percent)
  • store/shop/location accessibility (41 percent)
  • website accessibility (16 percent)

According to Purple, of the 13.9 million disabled people in the UK, 80 percent have a hidden impairment. This means organisations should also consider improvements and enhancements that go beyond just accounting for those with physical disabilities.

Mike Adams OBE, Chief Executive of Purple, said: “Meeting the needs of disabled customers makes commercial sense for organisations of all sizes, from all sectors, but our message to organisations is: you don’t have to spend big budgets to make lasting change. That’s why we’re urging organisations to focus on improvements that go ‘beyond the front door’.

“Introducing staff training and improving website accessibility are low cost changes, but the difference to a company’s bottom line – as well as to a disabled consumer’s personal experience – can be significant.

“Purple Tuesday has more than doubled in size this year, with more than 2500 organisations from a variety of sectors making commitments to improve the customer experience for disabled people. These are long-term changes that will have a lasting impact for millions of customers – and improve the commercial opportunities for the organisations involved.”

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