High Streets Turning Down Business through Lack of Accessibility

High Streets Turning Down Business through Lack of Accessibility

High street retailers are losing out on significant sales growth by ignoring the “purple pound”. This is the administrative jargon for the spending power of disabled people. At the time of the London Olympic Games, Britain’s purple pound was estimated by the government to be worth £80 billion. In early 2015 and through a continuing recession, the government cited a figure of £225 billion.


Lost Sales Opportunities

Businesses have to sit up and take notice of this spending power, but at the moment it seems to have eluded many retailers. Think of a cosy pub in a small town or narrow street – even if there are only three steps to access the front door, this could be too much for an individual using a wheelchair. Narrow entrance doors are a further common problem. An even greater issue is the position of toilets – often up or down stairs and rarely wide enough to be accessed by those with a disability.

This leaves the disgruntled customer little option but to try and find somewhere else to spend his or her money. However the same problem often repeats itself in theatres, cinemas and concert halls.

Today’s purple pound amounts to at least 12 million potential customers, not including their family and friends who may be accompanying them out. For businesses wanting their share of the purple pound, the issue can be solved easily by installing platform lifts.


Not Always a Great Expense

Many people tend to think that lifts and ramps will be costly to install. Since the 1995 introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act, a large number of businesses are still unsure about how to improve access and fear that the costs of lift installation will not be paid back through increased sales.

Access improvement starts with a couple of simple portable metal ramps that can be placed over one or two steps at the shop front. These ramps can accommodate each of the wheels on a wheelchair and permit comfortable access inside as long as the shop floor itself is cleared of unnecessary clutter. Arranging parking facilities for disabled badge customers is another strategy if space and local regulations allow.


Inclined and Vertical Platform Lifts

For a more permanent solution, there are a wide variety of sizes of vertical and inclined platform lifts that could be fitted in small business premises. Inclined platform lifts are designed to travel along guide rails that can be mounted on the outside or inside of a stairway. The lift will work outdoors and indoors as well as for curved or straight stairs.

A vertical platform lift will work in a contained space. Wheelchairs can be accommodated within an enclosure to access different levels of a building. They can have a lifting capacity of up to 400kg and a maximum lifting height of 17 metres. These lifts are completely self-contained and allow the wheelchair user to move about independently.


Next Steps

Whichever route a business takes towards a more accessible premises will represent positive steps towards increasing their share of the potential purple pound spend. Platform Lift Company work with businesses of all sizes to help improve their accessibility, if you want to discuss a project in more detail then get in touch today.