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Purple Tuesday - The UK's accessible shopping day

13th November 2018.

Purple Tuesday is the UK’s first accessible shopping day, created to raise awareness of the needs of disabled consumers, the Purple Pound and promote inclusive shopping.

Taking place on 13th Nov 2018, Purple Tuesday has been created and co-ordinated by the disability organisation Purple (www.wearepurple.org.uk) and is supported by some of the UK’s biggest retail brands.

Nearly one in five people in the UK has a disability or impairment, and over half of households have a connection to someone with a disability. Their collective spending power – the Purple Pound – is worth £249 billion to the UK economy.

However, this potential is not being fully realised. There are still real (and perceived) barriers that make it harder for disabled people to find work, spend money online and in store, and enjoy a drink or meal out.

Purple Tuesday isn’t just a one-day shopping event, like Black Friday. The aim of the day is to increase awareness of the value and needs of disabled consumers and encourage changes in business practise that improve customer experience over the long term.

For retailers, this will result in the opening up of their products and services to the widest customer base possible. 

 

Hello, can I help you? 

Research shows that the fear of unintentionally offending a disabled customer by saying or doing the ‘wrong thing’ is the biggest barrier for customer service staff. Swerving a first conversation can feel like the less risky thing to do. 

This short guide is designed to support you to become more confident in providing good customer service to disabled people, as you do to all customers. 

 

Did you know?

Almost 20% of UK adults (13 million people) have a disability.

80% of disabled people have ‘invisible’ or hidden impairments. 

Only 5% of disabled people use a wheelchair. 

75% of disabled people have left a store or website because of poor service and/or accessibility issues.

 

Some practical hints for you 

Talk to a wheelchair user directly and make eye contact with them rather than the floor, or the person they are with. 

Let a blind person reach out for your arm to guide them around the store rather than you giving them your arm.

Teach yourself hello and goodbye in sign language. 

Stick to clear facts when talking to people with autism or Aspergers. 

 

Language tips

• Refer to ‘disabled people’ or a ‘person with disability’ rather than ‘the disabled’ or ‘a handicapped person’. 
• Avoid phrases like ‘suffers from’ and say instead ‘living with’.
• People with mental health issues have a condition rather than are crazy, mad or sad. 
• Refer to people without a disability as ‘non-disabled’ rather than ‘able-bodied’.