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.
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