Around 19 percent of the US population have a recorded disability which can affect the way they live. Because of this, the U.S. government established the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 as a way to prevent those with disabilities to be discriminated against in places like work, transportation, and business.
As a result, nearly all retail stores have adjusted over the last 30 years to comply with the act and make their business accommodating to PWDs. But for those who want to do more than the bare minimum, here is how you can make your business more welcoming.
Make Your Store Aisles Wider
The ADA has standards regarding doors and aisles, but it wouldn’t hurt to have more room than what is prescribed. Fold-up wheelchairs and regular wheelchairs can be difficult to navigate, so having the extra room for people to move around can be a great help and won’t be a tight squeeze for other customers who want to shop.
Instead of aisles that meet the bare minimum of ADA standards, try to opt for a more spacious floor plan. That way, there are less tight spaces and more room to move around. Also, make sure that your employees keep the floor clear of clothes, accessories, or boxes, as it can make it more difficult for those with mobility devices from moving.
Allow Service Dogs
It is understandable why some stores have a strict no pets policy, but that rule should not apply to service dogs. Around half a million people in the United States have a service dog, but are sometimes refused entry because their store doesn’t allow animals.
Of course, the problem with this is the rise of fake service dogs from people who lie to allow more lenient stores to let their dog in with them. But a good way of spotting a real service dog is to look at its behavior and the way it assists their owner.
Include People with Disabilities in Your Marketing
It’s one thing to say that your store is inclusive, but it is an entirely different matter to show it through your marketing strategy. Positive brand reputations can affect the success of your business, and by developing the image of diversity and inclusivity of your store, people with disabilities may be more likely to support your business.
Train Your Team
Having a team ready to handle people with disabilities can help give them a better shopping experience. For example, it is an advantage to have someone who understands sign language in case a person with a hearing condition needs assistance. Or you can also train your team to know your products so that they can provide better assistance for those with certain conditions.
Why stop at the bare minimum of complying with ADA regulations when you can make your store even more accommodating for those with disabilities? It is a great way to welcome those with disabilities, which can result in a better customer experience for everyone.