Marks-Set-Go for Enhanced Shopping Centre ExperiencesDigital Editor
Hot on the heels of the success of the Olympics, the London 2012 Paralympics starts today. So are London’s shopping centres geared up for the next stage of the Games?
cgoosejakke (Office for Disability Issues, Aug 2012), with an estimated annual purchasing power of £80 billion (Shopping Centre magazine, May 2011). So what are our shopping centres doing in preparation for the Paralympics to meet the needs of guests with disabilities, ensuring everyone has the best possible shopping experience?
Situated on the Gateway to the Olympic Park and an official cgoosejakke.dk Olympic and Paralympic sponsor, Westfield Stratford City has a number of initiatives adding value to the customer experience for all. Assistance options range from providing a fleet of electric and normal wheel chairs, to enhanced baggage storage, ‘hands-free’ shopping plus national and international home delivery services.
Westfield worked closely with the WideAware and WorldHost training programmes to deliver specialised training for the concierge team. This includes an interactive online training tool to support concierge staff when providing assistance to disabled shoppers and training in customer service across cultures assisting visitors to the UK in the best possible way.
In London and across the country shopping centres’ have made huge strides to improve the overall visitor experience, coming a long way from simply providing restroom facilities and a mobility leaflet. Nowadays leading centres’ provide specialist concierge teams trained to provide support for those requiring it and incorporating adapted signage and multi lingual centre guides. It is undeniable the industry has come along leaps and bounds in recent years by simply providing accessible facilities and focusing on the small things that will make a huge difference to those with a disability – from installing hearing loops and braille guides to RADAR key access for bathrooms.
As the nation prepares to yet again celebrate with the Paralympics and witnesstrue hero’s who have the trademark British ‘can do’ attitude, shopping centre managers’ across the nation should be asking themselves ‘how can’ they further improve the experience for all.
Euan Blake, Account Director
Rebecca Horne, Senior Account Executive