Improving Your Store’s Accessibility

Failure to account for your store’s accessibility for customers with disabilities—more than 50 million in the US—can cost you greatly, both in lost business and in lawsuits. Some business owners struggle to keep the matter in mind during day-to-day management, though. To ensure that all customers can engage with your business, here are some points to consider and address.

Accessible Parking

Accessibility begins before customers even enter the store. The most obvious aspect of this is providing handicapped parking spaces and keeping them free of obstructions, but this is not the only element to bear in mind. Make sure that:

  • snow, ice, mud and debris are cleared away from accessible parking spaces and their surroundings;
  • sidewalk and parking pavement are maintained, and that you call for asphalt sealing South Bend INwhen large holes or cracks form;
  • an accessible route exists from the parking area to the entrance, free of obstacles.

Accessible Routes Within the Store

The entirety of the store’s interior should be readily accessible by all customers, from the entrance and checkout to the restrooms. While most stores are designed with this in mind to start, accessibility can be unintentionally hampered by displays, excess inventory or building maintenance. When setting up seasonal or promotional displays, make sure they don’t obstruct aisles or paths. This means sufficient width for wheelchairs, cane detection for blind customers and the removal of trip hazards.

Additionally, restrooms, fitting rooms and elevators should be maintained to facilitate use by disabled customers. Remove furniture and equipment that limits maneuverability or obstructs doors and elevator call buttons.

Accessible Customer Service

Make sure that employees are trained and equipped to meet the needs of disabled customers, as well. Keep them informed on where accessible store features are and how to maintain accessibility throughout the store. Also, make alternate formats of printed information, such as Braille or large print text, readily available and up-to-date.

Clare Louise

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