‘Shopping from a wheelchair is a nightmare’
Retail companies need to do more to make their stores more wheelchair accessible, specially product placement height in aisles.
Shopping in store is difficult enough during holidays, dealing with overcrowded aisles and impatient consumers can be a hassle. But the holiday season can also be a challenge when the stores don’t keep you in mind when designing their store. A challenge for wheelchair users to shop in store can be an understatement.
“There’s music and moving lights and large crowds and it’s just difficult to maneuver anywhere,” stated Carol Kaufman-Scarborough, a professor of marketing at the Rutgers School of Business-Camden.
Kaufman-Scarborough has studied consumers with disabilities since 1995 and has found that most consumer research failed to consider customers with mobility issues – such as those having to shop from a wheelchair – as well as people with hearing, vision and cognitive impairments.
Kaufman-Scarborough stated, “Many of the problems these shoppers face are unintended. Store design choices can seem like good practice, but in reality, there are problems with aisle width and display height. Overcrowding reduces access, comfort and mobility.”
An example, Kaufman-Scarborough stated is, “stores like Hollister has a choice in its store designs. Adding a porch with steps to the front of the store should have been an obvious problem.”