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Black Friday Online Shopping and the Exclusion of the Purple Pound

Black Friday has become a global shopping phenomenon, offering consumers the promise of incredible deals and discounts both in-store and online. While this shopping extravaganza is celebrated by many, it's essential to acknowledge that not everyone benefits equally from these sales, particularly individuals with disabilities who make up a significant portion of what's known as the "Purple Pound." In this blog, we will explore how Black Friday online shopping may inadvertently exclude people with disabilities and what steps can be taken to create a more inclusive shopping experience for all.

The term "Purple Pound" refers to the spending power of individuals with disabilities and their families. This demographic group comprises a substantial portion of the consumer market, with an estimated annual spending power of billions of pounds. However, despite their significant economic influence, people with disabilities often face barriers when it comes to accessing goods and services, both in physical stores and online.

Online shopping has undoubtedly made it more convenient for many people to participate in Black Friday sales. However, the accessibility of online shopping platforms remains a challenge for those with disabilities. Websites and mobile apps must be designed with accessibility in mind, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can navigate, make purchases, and take advantage of deals.

Common accessibility barriers faced by individuals with disabilities include:

  1. Inaccessible website design: Many online retailers have websites that are not optimized for screen readers or voice command software, making it challenging for visually impaired individuals to browse products and complete transactions.

  2. Poorly designed interfaces: Cluttered and confusing website interfaces can be particularly challenging for individuals with cognitive disabilities.

  3. Lack of alternative text: Images and graphics without descriptive alternative text make it impossible for those with visual impairments to understand product details or discounts.

  4. Complex checkout processes: Lengthy and complex checkout forms can be daunting for individuals with dexterity impairments or cognitive challenges.

  5. Inadequate customer support: Limited customer support options, such as live chat or phone assistance, can leave those with disabilities feeling isolated and unsupported.

To create a more inclusive Black Friday online shopping experience, retailers and online platforms can take several steps:

  1. Web Accessibility Compliance: Ensure that your website or app complies with accessibility standards such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). This includes providing alternative text for images, clear and consistent navigation, and keyboard accessibility. Which CityMaaS' AWARE can provide an automated free report for you.

  2. User Testing: Conduct usability testing with individuals with disabilities to identify and address specific accessibility issues on your platform.

  3. Inclusive Design: Implement inclusive design principles from the beginning of the development process to ensure that your website is accessible to all users.

  4. Customer Support: Offer multiple customer support channels, including live chat and phone assistance, to accommodate various communication preferences.

  5. Promote Accessibility: Communicate your commitment to accessibility by providing information on your website about the accessibility features available and how to access them.

Black Friday online shopping has the potential to be an exciting and inclusive event that benefits all consumers, including those with disabilities who wield significant purchasing power. However, to ensure that the Purple Pound is not excluded, retailers and online platforms must prioritize web accessibility and make their websites and apps user-friendly for everyone. By taking these steps, we can create a more inclusive shopping experience where no one is left behind during the Black Friday frenzy.

CityMaaS Assist Me can help make your website more accessible by enabling pre-set personalised assistance levels to ensure everyone can access your website. Start your 14 day free trial today!

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