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High street experience encourages disabled consumers to use e-commerce sites

15 January 2014 - 12:57 by David Aiken

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A new poll conducted by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has found that shoppers with disabilities are far more likely to carry out safe shopping online, rather than visiting the high street, because of the issues they encounter with accessibility and staff at bricks and mortar stores.

Three quarters of the young people who were questioned in the study said that they would prefer to avoid town centres and instead buy products via the web because it was hard to get around in a wheelchair. In addition, many expressed disappointment in retailers for not training staff in how to deal with disabled shoppers who do choose to visit the high street.

Five hundred disabled consumers aged between 16 and 30 took part in the study, with almost half claiming that they feel like they do not receive the kind of attention they require when they visit a high street outlet. This is in part because store assistants are accused of addressing only the able bodied people who accompany the youngsters on their retail excursions.

The good thing about shopping online is that virtually anyone can carry it out and the experience is just as engaging, irrespective of your circumstances.

The charity has published a new set of guidelines, formulated in conjunction with the young people involved in the study, to help high street retailers make a better effort when it comes to helping disabled people make the most out of bricks and mortar shopping.

Of course, all the evidence suggests that the high street is sliding further into irrelevance, as consumers from all backgrounds choose to shop online rather than in their local town or city centre. This means that disabled youngsters are not alone in embracing online shopping to the full.