Shopping centers are not just places for commerce; they are vibrant hubs of community engagement, entertainment, and social interaction. In our quest for inclusivity and equality, it is essential to ensure that these centers cater to the diverse needs of all individuals, including those with disabilities. It is estimated that there are over 61 million people living with a disability in the US, and over a billion worldwide. By enhancing the experience of customers with disabilities, shopping centers can embrace a culture of accessibility and inclusiveness that benefits everyone. In this blog post, we will explore six benefits of improving the experience of customers with disabilities in shopping centers, highlighting the impact it can have on individuals and the overall success of these businesses.

  1. Expand Access to a Broader Customer Base

By prioritizing accessibility, shopping centers can tap into a vast customer base that has often been underserved. People with disabilities require well-designed and usable spaces to fully enjoy and engage in the shopping experience. When a shopping center becomes known for its inclusive approach, it creates a positive image that resonates with both the community of people with disabilities and their families. This can result in increased footfall, customer loyalty, and new opportunities for growth. Demonstrating a genuine commitment to the needs of people with disabilities can boost brand reputation and make the shopping center more appealing to new audiences.

2. Increase the Navigability of Your Space

Increasing the navigability of shopping centers for people with disabilities is of utmost importance in creating an inclusive and accessible environment. By implementing measures such as accessible digital maps with real time audible guidance, tactile floor indicators, ramps and accessible entrances and clear signage with high contrast, we enhance the ability of individuals with various disabilities to navigate independently and safely. This not only promotes a sense of empowerment and equality but also ensures that individuals with disabilities can fully engage in the shopping experience, access products and services, and make informed choices. Improving navigability also enables social interaction, reduces barriers to employment and entrepreneurship, and fosters a sense of belonging within the community, creating a more inclusive society that values diversity and provides equal opportunities for all.

3. Customizable and Real Time Maps Benefit Everyone

One way to enhance a space’s navigability is by providing interactive digital maps that customers can use to find the stores they need and navigate to them easily and independently. Digital maps provide a dynamic and user-friendly interface that allows individuals with and without disabilities to navigate the complex layout of a shopping center with ease. By incorporating features like voice-guided directions, text-to-speech functionality, and customizable accessibility options, these maps empower customers to independently plan their route, locate specific stores or facilities, and access relevant information such as wheelchair-friendly entrances, accessible restrooms, or designated parking spaces. This technology enhances the overall shopping experience, reduces stress and frustration, and promotes inclusivity by ensuring that every customer can confidently and efficiently navigate the shopping center environment.

4. Improve Spatial Orientation within Facilities

When it comes to accessibility, having a digital map isn’t always enough. By adding real time information to digital maps and offering them across multiple interfaces designed with accessibility in mind, shopping centers can create a truly inclusive shopping experience that benefits everyone. For example, shopping centers can enhance their maps with bluetooth beacons, which can provide customers with disabilities with real time information about their location and turn by turn directions along their route. This improves spatial awareness and allows customers to navigate more confidently and independently. Shopping centers can also integrate their maps onto mobile apps or physical kiosks throughout their facilities, giving customers real time access to maps wherever they are in the center. By incorporating real-time information and offering digital maps across multiple accessible interfaces, shopping centers can create an inclusive shopping experience that truly benefits everyone.

5. Make It Easier for Customers to Search for Specific Products

By integrating advanced search functionalities into the digital maps or accompanying mobile apps, shopping centers can make it even easier for customers to search for specific products. Customers can input their desired item into the search bar, and the digital map will provide real-time information on its location within the shopping center, guiding them directly to the relevant store or aisle. This streamlined search process saves customers valuable time and effort, enhancing their overall experience and increasing the likelihood of making purchases. By ensuring that customers can easily find the products they need, shopping centers not only improve customer satisfaction but also drive sales and foster a positive reputation as a convenient and accessible shopping destination. 

6. Comply with Accessibility Laws

Creating an accessible environment for individuals with disabilities is not just a moral imperative, but also a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. By investing in accessibility improvements, shopping centers demonstrate compliance with accessibility laws and regulations. Avoiding potential sanctions and legal consequences is essential for the reputation and long-term success of the center.

As a leading provider of assistive technology solutions, the team at Lazarillo understands the importance of improving the accessibility of shopping centers everywhere. We offer a comprehensive solution that addresses all of the benefits highlighted in this blog post. With our innovative digital mapping and turn by turn wayfinding technologies, shopping centers can expand their customer base by providing customizable and real-time maps that benefit everyone. Our digital maps incorporate features like interactive and searchable directories of vendors, voice-guided directions, real time updates, and customizable/accessible routes, empowering individuals with and without disabilities to navigate shopping centers independently and effortlessly. By enhancing spatial orientation through real-time information gathered through GPS technology and bluetooth beacons, and offering maps across multiple accessible interfaces such as mobile apps, web pages and physical kiosks, Lazarillo ensures a truly inclusive shopping experience for customers. Our advanced search and navigation functionalities make it easier for all customers to find specific stores and products, saving time and effort while increasing customer satisfaction and driving sales. Additionally, our solution ensures compliance with accessibility laws, protecting shopping centers from potential legal consequences. With Lazarillo, shopping centers can embrace inclusivity and accessibility, benefiting both customers with disabilities and the overall success of the center.

Enhancing the experience of customers with disabilities in shopping centers is an opportunity to foster inclusivity, improve brand reputation, and tap into an underserved market. By leveraging technologies like Lazarillo, shopping centers can facilitate access, enhance the navigability of their space, offer interactive digital maps to everyone with a full directory of services, and comply with accessibility laws. These measures not only benefit individuals with disabilities, but also create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all visitors. As we strive for a society that values diversity and inclusion, it is crucial for shopping centers to embrace accessibility as a core principle, ensuring that every customer feels valued.

Interested in learning more about Lazarillo? Feel free to schedule a consultation at the link below!