Across the country the high-street is a buzz with shoppers. However, the disabled community are distinctly lacking representation within stores. Purple Tuesday is changing the face of disabled shopping, founder Mike Adams OBE reveals why.
“It is giving disabled people the confidence to get outside,” enthuses Mike Adams OBE, about the international reach of Purple Tuesday.
On high streets and within businesses, accessibility may not be entirely what it needs to be. Purple Tuesday is a driving force behind the disabled community as the initiative looks to change the consumer experience for the disabled community.
The combined consumer spending power of disabled people and their families is worth £249 billion, and rising – known as the Purple Pound – and from an economical perspective, businesses are missing out on a significant target market.
Purple Tuesday is taking place today, Tuesday 12 November 2019
“We know that 75 per cent of disabled people and their families have walked out of businesses due to poor access or customer service,” explains Mike. “The most important aspect of consumer facing businesses is the customer experience.”
Purple Tuesday – taking place today (12 November 2019) – was an initial success when it was launched in 2018. Now in its sophomore year, Purple Tuesday is going beyond the high street for greater reach.
“When we started, most people thought Purple Tuesday was about supporting wheelchair users and blind and deaf people. When we talked about how four out of five disabled people had a hidden impairment it realigned how people thought about disability – that was incredibly important,” emphasises Mike.
“Purple Tuesday’s main beneficiaries are disabled people because they get a better customer experience.
“50 per cent of people in the UK will either have a relative who is disabled
or someone in their close network,” continues Mike.
“What really resonated with staff and businesses is: would they want their disabled relative or someone in their close network to come into the business for which they worked and get worse customer experience because they had a disability?”
As a business, building relationships with customers is imperative. This year sees participation from both large and small companies looking to move forward. However, Purple Tuesday is more than just one day.
Mike emphasises: “Purple Tuesday is not about one day. We don’t want changes to take place on just one day, Purple Tuesday is about what businesses can do 365 days a year.”
From changing signage on accessible toilets to highlight hidden disabilities or getting members of staff to learn hello and goodbye in British Sign Language, to getting an audit of a website to make it more accessible: small amends can make a difference.
And, for Mike, he believes if more companies make adaptations for disabled consumers it’s only a matter of time before there is a ripple effect of change.
He concludes: “If companies start selling to disabled consumers then there will be a momentum, I believe, for those companies wanting to hire disabled people to reflect their customer base.”
Discover how you can get involved with Purple Tuesday or learn which organisations are getting involved by visiting the Purple Tuesday website.