Tuesday 3 November 2020


Purple background with people signing within the purple background with white text reading purple Tuesday changing the customer experience 3 November 2020
What is Purple Tuesday?

Purple Tuesday is a day of action to call out improvements in the retail industry both online and in stores for disabled customers. The day will involve organisations of all sizes and from all sectors taking decisive and practical actions to meet the needs of disabled customers. 

This could include improving accessibility on the store's website,, staff undergoing training to better support disabled customers such as by learning basic BSL or other customer service training such as supporting customers with a Sunflower Lanyard, to gain an understanding of visible and hidden disabilities, making the physical space of stores more accessible, ensuring facilities such as the assessable toilets and changing room are ready to be used, ensuring emergency red cords are hanging freely, installing a Changing Places, and introducing quiet hours in stores for those with autism and other sensory impairments..

What is the 'Purple Pound'?

Across the UK, the 'Purple Pound' as is known is the consumer spending power of disabled people worth around £249 billion pounds yet worldwide less than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access this market.

On statistic shows that 75% of disabled people have left a store or website due to issues around accessibility.

Clicking away

This is in relation to the inaccessibility of websites or incompatibility with assertive technology used by disabled customers who because of this "click away" and leave that particular brand's website.

This could be for a number of reasons including poor mapping of the best for those unable to operate a mouse, the choice of colours or font choice on the website affecting those who are blind or partially sighted and conditions like Scotopic Sensitivity or colour blindness, images not having image descriptions (Alt Text), and the website not being compatible with assistive technology such as voice over and magnification.

Around 73% of potential disabled customers have experienced difficulties on more than a quarter of the website they visit. - Purple

Estimates show that around 4.3 million UK online shopper who have a disability click away from inaccessible websites; these people have a combined spending power of £11.75 billion. - Purple

Me as a Disabled Customer

As a disabled customer myself I've faced many barriers when shopping, both online and in stories. This could be the the website isn't compatible with magnification, or reading the screen. Or due to my Scotopic sensitivity I find certain colours or fonts more difficult. Then with my autism I find 'busy' screen with lots going on and lots of animation quite overwhelming.

Often I have to shop online as it the easiest for me as I am mostly housebound and I also find it easier online to find the best prices r the items I need especially living where I do we don't have a wide range of shops to choose from.

Then in stores I've found the whleo experience quite overwhelming as someone with autism - I would love more stores to put on regular quite hours.. 

It can also most often always be difficult to get parked even with a Blue Disabled Parking Badge and often these parking bays are abused leaving people like myself unable to get parked and as a result I'm unable to visit the store unless a disabled parking bay becomes available..

The photo on the left is of a tightly tied up red cord. The photo on the right is of the cord hanging freely ad accessible to be used.
After finding a red cord
tied up I contacted to store
and they sorted it out
Then even wth a very petite wheelchair it can be hard to navigate around some stores with clothing racks or displays not giving enough room to pass through or items being left on the floor; also the till being too high if they don't have a designated lowered counter. If I do want to try on clothes sometimes I find the accessible changing room out of action as it either being used for storage or often people with young children and/or with pumas or buggies - I can understand why families may opt to use the disabled changing room but the store should have family changing rooms alongside accessible changing rooms. This is because
like with disabled parking bays there are facilities I need as a disabled customer such as seating, grab rails, room for me, my wheelchair and my PA and also an emergency red cord - all things families don't need. That or the accessible changing room is being used by people with shopping trollies which I find inexcusable. 

Going back to the emergency red cord often this is tied up, out of reach and out of action; there would be no way I could get help should I say have a fall.

Alongside this I also look for representation of disabilities which so far I rarely have seen. I know of things such as the Mannequal designed by paraplegic disability campaigner Sophie Morgan. I also know that George at Asda used the model Kate Stanforth in a recent campaign - Kate has M.E, is a dancer and ambulatory wheelchair user. As well as this when I'm purchasing 'disability products' often the model used is elderly which massively puts me off as it makes me feel as though  shouldn't be needing such an item at my age. Younger disabled models are defiantly needed to promote disability aids, adaptations and equipment. Just a final note on clothing and accessories is finding things for myself which is comfortable and practicable with me spending most of my time sit or laid down but is equally stylish and fashionable. The brand FFORA who I've done a collaboration with has defiantly hit the mark in designing bags that can be attached to my wheelchair but in term of clothing that market could defiantly be improved upon.

Sunflower Lanyard Scheme

A caucasian woman with brown hair carrying a basket wearing a green sunflower printed lanyard speaking to a member of staff inside a supermarket.
The Sunflower Lanyard Scheme is for people with hidden disabilities or impairments to discreetly wear inside
a store a sunflower lanyard to identify themselves to staff that they have a hidden disability or impairment so that staff are better able to offer assistance to the individuals.

A few statistics by Purple

In the UK there are more than 12 million disabled people who have a combined spending power of around £249 billion.

80% of disabled people in the UK have a hidden or invisible disability or impairment - BBC

Businesses loose around £2 billion a month by not meeting the needs of disabled customers.

Around 3 in 4 disabled people and their families have left a store due to poor access or customer service.

Research has show that the following retail sectors loose the approximate amount of money each month due to inaccessibility.
  • High Street Shops - £267 million 
  • Supermarkets - £501 million

Articles, Resources & References