It has been a tough couple of years out on the high street. We are still managing to survive yet we have had to make some changes into how we operate. Cutting back on spending has been our focus along with improving our sales through marketing, excellent customer service and reliable products. One of the ways we have managed to keep trading while others around us have closed is by being flexible and making cutbacks, such as moving into a cheaper property.
Moving to a smaller shop was never going to be easy for us but it was a step we needed to make in order to keep our doors open. The reduced cost in utility bills and rent have meant we could afford to cut back on our prices to keep serving the customers excellent quality goods while they also struggle to keep their heads above water. It’s a war out on the high street but one that can be won with careful planning and even more careful spending.
The Doorway Caused Instant Problems
Sadly when we moved to the new premises we noticed that there were some problems that needed to be fixed right away. The door to the shop was a huge problem as it was small with a step up to it. We serve items to everyone and there is no way we want to turn anyone away from our store so we had to address the issue of access so that all our customers, new and old, would be able to enter and exit the shop without any problems. The door was a problem and so we set about sorting it out right away.
We contacted some access consultants and spoke to our landlord. Thankfully the agent was more than willing to help us to make improvements. We were given permission to replace the door and add a small ramp to the exterior of the property. The landlord even chipped in with some of the costs which was not something that we were expecting to happen.
Why go to so much Trouble?
Why did we go to the trouble of sorting out the access? You may think we were silly spending our money that we didn’t need to while making cutbacks everywhere else. When you think about it carefully it does make perfect sense. We make our living by selling to the public. Our product range includes items for men and women of all ages, so we have to be able to welcome men and women into our store. Without them we can’t make sales, which would result in us having to close down and only focus on online sales.
The new doorway and ramp now meant that everyone had the ability to access our store. People that use wheelchairs, mobility scooters, mums with pushchairs and prams and anyone else who might have problems with a small door and a step can now come and go without any problems. The door only needs a slight nudge for it to then open on its own, meaning it’s easy for everyone to open. Shoppers overloaded with bags don’t have to battle with the door anymore!
Your Customers are Your Lifeline
Providing excellent customer service includes welcoming people from all walks of life into your shop. Investing in making your property more accessible makes perfect sense. We saw an increase in footfall immediately and all of our old customers who couldn’t access our new shop were thrilled that we went to the effort to welcome them in. A simple change to the entrance can result in a dramatic rise in sales, something worth considering I think you’ll agree.
Aki Hashimoto specialises in writing, providing DDA Audit and disabled access news to businesses in the UK. Find out more by following @EqualityAct2010 on Twitter.