Tuesday 13 November saw the launch of Purple Tuesday, which encourages retailers to be inclusive and accessible to the 14 million disabled people in the UK.
Whilst it is a great initiative it needs to insure retailers embed the needs of disabled people at the forefront of their thoughts every day of the year. Oddly enough disabled people shop throughout the year just like everybody else! With this in mind everyday should be a Purple Tuesday for disabled consumers, so here’s to trusting this is the start.
There are already some great positive initiatives out there, which I’d like to highlight in this blog as they can at times be overshadowed by negative experiences. I myself being a vision impaired consumer have had many a misfortune of being on the receiving end of not so helpful customer service, or navigating an inaccessible website making me want to throw my mobile/laptop out the window. On the flipside I have had the welcome break of being treated with respect and dignity enticing me to part with my hard earnt money.
The first of which I would like to mention is the concierge service at Stratford Westfield. They have two concierge desks where you can request assistance. The idea is that a member of the concierge team will assist you to the retailer you desire to visit and get the attention of staff at the store to aid you once there. At this point the concierge staff will leave, but not before instructing the retail staff member on what to do once the customer has finished and should they require further support. The concierge staff are there to support customers visiting Stratford Westfield to various shops and restaurants, but not to help in reading menus, search for gifts, as this is the responsibility of the business in question. The team can be reached on 020 82217377.
The second of which I would like to mention is the personal shopper service at Lakeside in Thurrock. You need to book this service in advance on 01708 684351. The idea here is that a member of the personal shopping team will find out what it is you are looking for and you can then either choose to go with the personal shopper to a number of retailers, or you can decide to wait while the staff go around and brings a handful of items to you. This service is free to use.
With the lead up to Christmas we will be arranging for a trip to Stratford Westfield where blind and partially sighted people will have the opportunity to try the concierge service with the view that they can use it independently in the future. This event is to take place on Tuesday 27 November, time to be confirmed.
If you would like to attend, please call Bhavini Makwana on 07976 448824, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We would love to hear your positive shopping experiences.
Masuma Ali, ELVis CEO