Supporting vulnerable customers guide

This readable and practical guide from the Association for Convenience Stores provides guidance for retailers serving vulnerable customers, such as those with dementia. It covers advice around language to use, actions to take, and store design to ensure everybody feels welcomed and able to access stores, including retailers on our local high streets.

Date added 28 September 2021
Last updated 28 September 2021

*This resource is about inclusive customer service. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to experience and accessibility priorities for High Street vitality and viability*

This readable best practice guide from the Association for Convenience Stores, produced in consultation with the Alzheimer’s Society, provides guidance for retailers serving vulnerable customers, such as those with dementia. It covers advice around language to use, actions to take, and store design to ensure everybody feels welcomed and able to access stores. It can be used, therefore, to help to enhance inclusivity on our high streets and town centres. The resource provides practical advice about the following vulnerabilities:

  • Customers who are living with dementia.
  • Customers who are blind or have visual impairments.
  • Customers who are deaf or have hearing impairments.
  • Customers with learning disabilities.
  • Customers living with mental health conditions.
  • Customers who use wheelchairs or walking frames.
  • Customers with a facial disfigurement.

The guide also covers inclusive store design, including the following advice:

  • Lighting- ensure entrances are well-lit, and lighting throughout the store is consistent and natural where possible to minimise shadows and glares.
  • Payment– make the payment process as easy as possible, such as contactless options.
  • Toilets– ensure toilets are clearly signed and without restricted access.
  • Signage– include clear signage throughout the store, including to key services such as toilets, exits, and payment points.
  • Flooring– ensure consistency in floor surfaces and remove any obstructions to mobility.
  • Accessibility– ensure the store is accessible for all, including the provision of ramps and steering away from deep pile carpets.
  • Seating- seating throughout the store is important for those who may have mobility difficulties and want to rest when shopping.