Retail companies need to do more to make their stores more wheelchair accessible. Especially product placement in aisles.
Shopping in stores is difficult enough during holidays. Overcrowded aisles and impatient consumers can be a hassle. The holiday season is also challenging when the stores don't keep you in mind. Challenges for wheelchair users to shop in a store can be an understatement. The width of certain aisles can make it difficult for users to maneuver through. Placing common goods too high on a shelf is another issue users face.
“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. All of these variants combined make it tough for any person.
Kaufman-Scarborough has studied consumers with disabilities since 1995. She has found most consumer research has 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.”