In a recent survey we asked our online community to share some of their thoughts and experiences when shopping with their child.
The results are in and we plan to use the findings to support the GoTo Shop campaign and show retailers how they can make their stores more accessible to special needs families.
So, what did we learn?
Our survey was undertaken by parents of children aged from 13 months to 25 years with a variety of conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Down’s syndrome, Autism and Metabolic Disorders.
86% of participant’s children were wheelchair users.
We asked parents what their preferred method of food shopping was; only 7% chose online while the rest preferred to physically go to the store or a combination of both.
However, 66% then went on to say that they have, at one point, felt forced to shop online due to accessibility issues at their local supermarket.
This highlights the need for retailers to be more inclusive because, although parents want to shop in their stores, they feel that it is not always an option.
The majority of those asked said they choose to take their child shopping with them but 85% find supermarket shopping to be a challenge.
We asked parents to expand on exactly why this is the case and found that the majority of participants found supermarket shopping to be a challenge because of issues surrounding inaccessible shopping carts.
In fact, 63% described a problem with pushing a cart and wheelchair simultaneously or that there was no suitable cart available to them.
“We need 2 people if we want to shop with our son, one to push the cart and one to push the wheelchair. Otherwise, I can only grab a few things”
A further 6% stated they needed to arrange childcare in order to carry out their supermarket shopping.
“I cannot take my son shopping so I have to fit it in around school hours”
When asked what additional features parents would like to see in their preferred store, 60% said they need an accessible changing area and 49% an accessible shopping cart.
One of our most overwhelming statistics shows that 91% of parents said they would be willing to travel to an alternative store if they offered a more accessible shopping experience.
This highlights the importance for retailers to be more inclusive or face losing customers.
Similarly, if supermarkets were more accessible, 58% of parents said they would be more likely to spend a longer amount of time instore; a considerable benefit to the retailer.
The survey has given some valuable insights into the issues faced by parents of special needs children and provided findings we can present to retailers in the hope they will strive to provide a more accessible shopping experience to ALL their customers.
It’s clear from the results that one major issue faced by special needs parents is that supermarkets do not offer a shopping cart which is safe and suitable for their child.
This means many are forced to shop online, arrange childcare or a second person, or struggle with a wheelchair alongside a shopping cart.
At Firefly, we want this to be a thing of the past by making sure #EverySupermarket provides at least one GoTo Shop cart.
You can help us to achieve our goal by taking our campaign leaflet and requesting a GoTo Shop at your local supermarket.
For more information on how you can get behind the GoTo Shop campaign, e-mail us at [email protected]