Retail outlets could improve their share of a £249 BILLION market simply by improving toilet facilities.
Purple Tuesday- November 13- is the UK’s first accessible shopping day; it will see retailers introduce new measures to make shopping more inclusive for customers with disabilities. Ahead of the event, leading accessible toilet solutions provider Closomat, is advising that just providing appropriate toilets can have a major impact on customer numbers and the customer experience.
It is a fact some of the participants of Purple Tuesday have already recognised, including Bullring Birmingham. Closomat has added a state-of-the-art assisted accessible toilet- Changing Places- to Bullring’s customer facilities offering.
“How often, when you’re out shopping, do you go to the toilet?” asks Kelvin Grimes, Closomat away from home project manager. “If you stop for a cup of coffee, a bit to eat, it is highly likely you will use the restroom there. And if you are out for a few hours, you will find somewhere to go. But if you, or someone you are with, is disabled, finding a toilet is a different matter. Many need help to transfer to and from the wheelchair. Many need help lifting. And many need changing. None of those tasks can be done in conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets.
“We know, from personal experience and our work with campaigners for assisted accessible toilets- Changing Places- that too often disabled people, and their carers, make a conscious decision NOT to go somewhere if they believe they won’t be able to find suitable toilets. Some 20% of the UK population is registered disabled. Can you afford to exclude 20% of your potential customers? And don’t forget, many disabled people need a carer to help them, so you exclude them too. WE know too that venues that HAVE provided appropriate toilets report an increase in customer visits.”
The ideal solution is the provision of a Changing Places toilet. Provided in addition to standard wheelchair accessible toilet facilities, a Changing Places is bigger (12m2), and has additional equipment- specifically a ceiling track hoist, adult sized height adjustable changing bench and privacy screen.
Aware that for many outlets, space is at a premium, Closomat and campaigners have together devised a compromise- Space to Change. This features just an additional 5m2 onto a wheelchair accessible toilet to accommodate a hoist and adult-sized changing bench.
Outlets wanting to explore the options can do so using Closomat’s website, acknowledged as the ‘go to’ resource for assisted accessible toilets:
The site includes explanations of the different facilities, their requirements, plus typical layouts, CAD downloads, and NBS specification clauses, plus a raft of supplementary material including white papers, case studies.
Closomat is the leading provider of away from home assisted toilet solutions. It is unique in that, in-house- it can deliver a complete project management service, and subsequent service/ maintenance. It has already completed Changing Places installations across the country, from West Quay in Southampton to Silverburn in Glasgow, for retail brands including intu, IKEA and Morrisons.