Visa is not alone in failing the visually impaired

Access to cash is not the only failure in accommodating the needs of the visually impaired, a new study reveals.

Mindi Chahal

As the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) slams Visa over their failure to provide “talking cash machine” facilities at the Olympic Park as promised, it seems like shopping in general is also taking a hit.

A new study from Cass Business School, part of City University London, suggests up to 17 per cent of visually impaired people do not engage in any form of shopping due to the stress caused by failures to accommodate their needs.

Produced in association with the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), which has collected evidence from a sample of 675 blind and partially-sighted people, the report concludes that shopping is one of the most stressful activities for visually impaired consumers.

Vincent-Wayne Mitchell, Cass professor of consumer marketing, says the fact that many companies have failed to accommodate the visually impaired at London 2012 is a prime example of the difficulties they face in day-to-day living.

Globally, the number of visually impaired people is around 314 million and the report suggests this is likely to double by 2030. These figures support the researchers’ calls for more assistance from consumer bodies and public policy makers in accommodating the needs of the visually impaired. But how can retailers get involved?

Mitchell believes more retailers should install tactile keypads on payment devices, provide assistance to retrieve merchandise and provide Braille product lists and menus to make it easier for visually impaired customers to order, browse and make choices.

It often takes media coverage of major brands failing in these areas to spark debate and research. With VISA promising the RNIB that they would convert two of eight Olympic Park cash machines and failing to do so, it begs the question of other promises made and not kept in aiding the visually impaired, not just in access to cash, but as this study shows access to retail and restaurants.

Do you want to be recognised for peerless data insight? Then it’s time to enter the Data Strategy Awards 2013.

There are 19 awards to enter and the deadline for entry is Tuesday 9th October 2012. Gongs will be handed out on Thursday 7th February 2013 at the Lancaster London.

For details of the categories and how to enter click here.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here