Changes for US-based retailers on Facebook and Instagram

Changes for US-based retailers on Facebook and Instagram

Starting April 24, 2024, Meta will no longer allow businesses and retailers based in the U.S. to sell on Facebook Shop and Instagram Shop through an online store integration. This means that products and orders sold on Facebook or Instagram can only be managed in the Facebook Commerce Manager.

This will likely have an impact on integrated retail operations as outside checkout methods will no longer allow:

  1. Orders processed outside of Facebook and Instagram to be synced back to outside commerce platforms.
  2. Product stock quantity in 3rd party integrated systems to update automatically after a sale on Facebook or Instagram.
  3. Product tagging in social media posts.
  4. New custom and lookalike audiences derived from people who visited the shop.

This means that merchants will need to manually update both orders and products in any formerly integrated systems outside of Facebook and Instagram moving forward.

What are my options after this change by Meta?

While we are working to improve our integrations, we understand the impact these major changes will likely have on your business. The way that the changes are being made by Meta, it is likely there will be limited options for outside platforms to connect directly again.

To continue selling directly on Facebook Shop or Instagram Shop after April 24th, US retailers must switch their checkout method to “Checkout on Facebook and Instagram” within the Facebook Commerce Manager. Click here to find the detailed instructions provided by Facebook to complete this process.

Alternatively, you can stop listing products directly on Facebook Shop or Instagram Shop and add a direct link to your online store. While this means that you will not be able to list your products directly, you can still drive traffic to your own online store where you manage the entire shopping experience.

For more details, you can review the full Facebook announcement here.

4 Ways AI can improve your retail business

4 Ways AI can improve your retail business

In 2023, AI (artificial intelligence) has already made significant progress in the retail industry. Besides AI chatbots like ChatGPT and AI-generated visuals like those created by Midjourney, there are many more ways AI can be used in retail. For instance, AI-powered recommendation engines can help retailers personalize the shopping experience for each customer by analyzing their browsing and purchase history.

AI has the potential to revolutionize the retail industry and in this blog we’ll introduce to you 4 great ways AI will change the retail industry.

ChatGPT screenshot

1. Automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has various benefits, among which automation stands out as a significant advantage. AI is capable of automating tasks, leading to cost reduction, improved efficiency, and accuracy. By implementing AI-powered systems, businesses can free up their employees’ time to focus on more complex and creative tasks, resulting in a more productive and efficient workforce. An example of automation is the use of chatbots and virtual assistants, which can help customers with their queries at any time of day or night, reducing the workload of customer service staff while improving response time.

Projected impact of automation by core of merchandising activity by McKinsey & Company

We will definitely be seeing a wave of tools designed to automate more retail processes in the coming years. It’ll start with big box brands having access to these tools. However, in time—these tools will become accessible to smaller businesses.

2. Personalized recommendations

AI can continuously analyze customer data, such as purchase history, browsing behavior and demographics. It can provide product recommendations, choose the most attractive products and make every customer’s experience more enjoyable. Here are some examples of how AI can help with personalized recommendations

  • Contextual recommendations: The AI analyzes customer data such as location, time of day, and the weather. It then provides recommendations that are right for the customers currents needs.
  • Collaborative filtering: The AI makes recommendations based on other users preferences, it compares similarities between customers purchase history’s and preferences.
An example of how AI product recommendation could look

3. Fraud protection

AI is a great tool when it comes to security. AI systems can analyze patterns that show signs of fraudulent activities that may be difficult for humans to detect. It can detect abnormal transactions that differ from normal purchasing patterns. For example if a customer suddenly uses a new device, at a new location, or purchases larger quantities, AI can automatically flag such behavior as fraudulent activity. Fraud can be found in both e-commerce and brick and mortar stores, with theft an increasingly costly problem for retailers. A report in late 2022 states that shoplifting has become a $100 billion dollar problem. Here are a few examples of how AI can prevent shoplifting in your store.

  • Video surveillance: AI-powered video surveillance can be used to monitor the store and identify suspicious behaviors. By identifying patterns such as how long a customer stays in a specific part of a store, unusual body language or repeated visits to the same section.
  • Sensor technology: Some stores use sensors to track the movement of merchandise. AI can be used to analyze unusual patterns in product movement. For instance, if an item is misplaced or repeatedly picked up and returned to the same location.
  • Predictive analytics: AI can also be used to analyze historical data about shoplifting incidents in your store. It can identify patterns or trends that may have resulted in a higher likelihood of shoplifting. By identifying these patterns you can prevent shoplifting by increasing security in an area that has a higher pattern of shoplifting, or changing the layout of the store.
Vector art of a hacker behind a laptop with a lock symbol on it

4. Lowering business costs

AI can greatly lower the operational costs at your business by making it easier to automate and collect large amounts of data to automate routine tasks. Some examples of how retailers use data to lower business costs include:

  • Optimizing operations: AI can identify various inefficiencies in business operations. Then it can streamline the processes, reduce waste and improve overall efficiency.
  • Supply chain management: AI can also analyze the data from suppliers, transportations providers and other sources. This can help with reducing transportation costs, improve delivery times and the overall cost of carrying inventory.

Not only can AI reduce business cost, but it can also increase business sales. AI can help with demand forecasting, allowing you to better understand your customers’ buying behaviors and to anticipate their needs. This can lead to improved inventory management and more effective marketing strategies, resulting in increased sales and customer loyalty.

Vector art of predictive analytics

AI has already made significant progress in the retail industry and has the potential to revolutionize it in the coming years. AI-powered automation, personalized recommendations, fraud protection, and lowering business costs are just a few examples of how AI can benefit retailers. With AI’s ability to collect and analyze large amounts of data, it can greatly improve operational efficiency and customer experience, ultimately leading to increased sales and customer loyalty. As AI technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how it transforms the retail industry and the shopping experience for consumers.

We are always excited to see what’s brewing in the world of retail. If you are too, consider subscribing to our blog

How To Use ChatGPT For Retail

How To Use ChatGPT For Retail

If you’re not familiar with Chat GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), you’re missing out! It’s an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that’s been making waves lately, with people finding all kinds of creative ways to use it. Here’s a quick overview of what it’s all about.

Typing in "How to use ChatGPT for retail purposes" on the ChatGPT prompt input text box

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT logo
ChatGPT logo

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence program that’s been trained to understand and respond to human language. Think of it as a really smart robot that talks to people through text messages. If you ask it a question or task, and it will check its database of knowledge to give you the best answer or solution. As more and more people use it, ChatGPT, powered by AI, becomes smarter.

Some well-known brands are already using the AI technology behind ChatGPT to support their retail businesses. For example, H&M created an AI style assistant which helps customers pick clothes that fit their style and budget. Another example is Domino’s (the pizza chain). They have created an AI which allows customers to place orders, track their delivery, and get answers to frequently asked questions.


The AI technology that ChatGPT has made mainstream will continue to grow. The best part is that ChatGPT is still cost-effective so independent retailers can also get in on the action.

How to use ChatGPT as a retailer

ChatGPT can automate customer service queries, give personalized product advice, create targeted marketing messages, and generate reports on customer behaviour and trends. With ChatGPT, retailers can use the latest AI tech to streamline their operations and make informed decisions. Here are a few of the ways it’s already being used today:

A. Creating retail marketing

A stylized image of a robot looking at a phone with a target icon next to them.

One of the easiest ways to use ChatGPT is for retail marketing. For example, you can use ChatGPT to generate ideas, create drafts, and optimize written content.

1. Content creation

ChatGPT can be used to quickly generate unique and engaging content for retail stores. For example, it can be used to create product descriptions, promotional materials, and more. By leveraging the power of AI, retailers can create content that is tailored to their target audience, resulting in improved engagement and clicks. Businesses can also use ChatGPT to analyze customer feedback and utilize the insights to create more effective marketing materials.

If you have a social media account for your store, try using ChatGPT to generate a caption for your next post. For example if you are posting an instagram post for Valentine’s Day, you could ask the following on ChatGPT: “instagram caption for a valentine’s day post”. ChatGPT will then automatically create something appropriate for you.

Prompting ChatGPT to generate a retail instagram caption for Valentine's day

While ChatGPT can help you save a lot of time, it’s important to remember that the answers may be too generic if you don’t give enough detail in your request. The best way to improve this is to add more context to your request by adding something like “from a health store to its audience” so that the AI can try to personalize the caption to your business.

Prompting ChatGPT to generate a retail instagram caption for Valentine's day with additional context
See how much better that is?

Expert tip: Whenever possible, provide ChatGPT with as much context as possible for the best results

2. Getting customer feedback about your store

ChatGPT is a great tool that can help you learn more about what your customers are saying about your products or services on Google and other platforms. It can help you identify areas where you can make improvements and provide a better overall experience for your customers. For instance, if customers are consistently giving your store low ratings due to slow delivery times, this data can help you take action and make changes to your delivery process so that your customers are getting their orders in a timely manner.

Amazon customer reviews module

To conduct this analysis with ChatGPT, you’ll first need to collect all the review texts from your review platforms. You can then paste all the text into ChatGPT and prompt it to “conduct a sentiment analysis”. The data can help you spot where you need to make changes, such as better customer service, better product quality and faster delivery. After finding areas that need improvement, you can use ChatGPT to create messages/campaigns aimed at addressing the issues and improving customer satisfaction.

B. Retail customer service

You can use ChatGPT to improve the customer service your store provides.

1. Responding to customers

Retailers can use ChatGPT to respond quickly and accurately to customer inquiries. It can help automate customer service request and even provide personalized product recommendations based on customer needs. This can help save time and money for customer service teams, allowing them to focus on more complex customer issues.

If responding to customer messages on your digital platforms is no issue, you could always consider using ChatGPT to edit your responses before sending them off. Ensuring that you’re using the best grammar, tone, and language can go a long way—making sure you sound as professional as possible.

2. FAQs

Flat icon of message bubbles with the one in the center being labelled "FAQ"

Retailers can use ChatGPT to quickly and accurately answer frequently asked questions (FAQs). This can be a huge time-saver for customer service teams as it can help answer customer questions without the need for a human representative. You can use ChatGPT to create a library of FAQs that customers can search through to find their answers. Store owners can also use ChatGPT to refine and update existing FAQs as needed. Plus, it can be used to generate personalized, targeted responses for customers based on their queries. This helps ensure that customers are getting the most accurate and helpful answers possible.

C. Other creative uses

Lastly, here are two other handy uses for ChatGPT.

1. Data cleanup

Making sure your data looks uniform to create reports or run analyses has never been easier. With ChatGPT you can provide it some data then ask it to make sure things such as format are consistent across the board. For example if you have a list of dates you need to paste into a spreadsheet but they’re all in different formats, you can ask ChatGPT to convert all of the dates to a format of your preference. Take some time and think about how you can use ChatGPT to save your time when doing administrative work.

Expert tip: When working with data, be sure to think about whether there are any privacy concerns. While ChatGPT can be very helpful, it is important to consider any regulatory or policy requirements before you share any personal or confidential information.

Prompting ChatGPT to format date texts

2. Translations

AI robot translating speech

Finally, you can use ChatGPT to translate your writing. This will help you easily communicate with all of your customers. If your store is in a bilingual community and you are not as a confident in one of the languages, you can use ChatGPT to translate your store messages, signs, website content, social media content, etc.

Prompting ChatGPT to translate a message into Spanish for a Fruit Retailer

What’s great about ChatGPT’s translations compared to current translators (e.g., Google translate) is that the AI is able to understand and translate expressions, slang, and other subtle parts of languages that traditional translators struggle with. What’s also amazing about ChatGPT is that it will consider the context and tone of the phrase being translated which is super important in getting an accurate translation. If you need to use translation tools in your retail operations, look no further than ChatGPT.


AI is going to continue to shake up the world of business. We highly recommend that you consider trying out ChatGPT now while there is still free access as we predict they’ll become more of a standard business tool in the coming years. We’re excited to see how AI tools will help retailers work less while selling more!

Besides AI, here are some 6 retail marketing strategies that are and will continue to shake up things in the retail industry. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated in all things retail!

6 Retail Marketing Strategies For The Next Decade

6 Retail Marketing Strategies For The Next Decade

There is an art to marketing your brand to retail shoppers. Because marketing is constantly changing, you need to adapt your marketing strategy as customer habits change over time. Here are 6 retail marketing strategies that will shape retail marketing over the next decade.

1. Personalized Experiences

A growing marketing strategy is the use of personalized ads and experience. 80% of shoppers reported that they’re more likely to do business with a brand that offers a personalized experience. Additionally, almost half of most customers want to see ads targeted at their interests.

Digital illustration of personalized marketing

So what is personalized experience? This generally means customizing promotions and discounts to the wants of a specific customer versus a generic message to all customers. Understanding the individual tastes and wants of your customer has never been easier. Modern POS systems allow you to track customer info, as well as their purchasing habits which you can use to create personalized experiences for them. For example, if a regular customer often buys colorful socks, but they have not made a purchase recently, you could send them a personalized in-store offer related to socks to encourage them to visit the store.

Google’s image search is going to be a game changer in retail marketing. Searchers can upload images onto Google and reverse-search them, finding where others have uploaded the image on the internet. Give it a try here.

Google's reverse image search
Make sure you press on the camera icon to search by image

This can allow people to see images of a product online, save it, then find easily find stores that sell the item. There is a reason why Gartner said that visual search is one of 5 technologies that will have a great impact on the world of digital marketing in the years to come. It can improve nearly every stage of the buyer’s journey. We predict that marketing strategies that use product images and content with visual search will become common practice within the next 5 years.

Google's visual search results
An example of what Google’s visual search results look like. On the left is the image used for the search, on the right are the results. Notice how the matching images shows the price since its an e-commerce link.

Featured snippets are short descriptions on websites that help you show up at the top of a Google search. The purpose of a featured snippet is to help users find a quick answer. You have probably experienced it before when you Googled a question and saw a quick answer at the top of the search results. That was a featured snippet.

This feature of Google is especially helpful as attention spans continue to decrease in recent years. Currently average attention spans are only 8 seconds long. This means it is essential to catch someone’s attention quick, or risk losing it altogether.

Featured snippets help reach catch audiences’ attentions quickly, however it can be difficult to get featured snippets. Check out this article on how you can optimize content for featured snippets. It’s worth mentioning that TAKU Retail is the first retail management software to be a trusted Google Partner. TAKU can help businesses appear higher up on Google search results and Maps when people search for you online.

Featured snippet example

4. ChatGPT and AI Chatbots

Art of a robot behind a phone. On the phone display there is a mockup of a chat between two entities.

You have likely heard about how people are now using ChatGPT to search for information or to learn. But there are an increasing number of ways that AI chatbots can help retailers save time and money including:

  • AI-generated marketing content. With access to so much data, AI chatbots are an easy way to quickly write content for social media or even the text for marketing campaigns on the fly. Think less writer’s block, and more engaging posts.
  • Writing standardized company policies. While you would still want to have legal policies (e.g. your privacy policy) reviewed by a lawyer, you can draft general company, handbooks or order policies with ChatGPT in several minutes.
  • Researching product trends for purchasing. ChatGPT’s knowledge is limited at this point, but the advantage of AI is that it will get smarter over time. It’s ability to analyze data from millions of websites makes it more likely to highlight product trends for you faster than searching for them online.
  • Scheduling tasks, and overall time management. ChatGPT can help you create a daily work schedule and handle time-consuming tasks including things such as performance reports, shift schedules, etc.
  • Solving problems. Because of the knowledge it has access to, ChatGPT is very good at generating ideas, drafting business plans, and estimating the costs to solve problems for your business. You should still always get secondary advice, but ChatGPT is a good starting point, even if only to check that you’re on the right path.

5. Accessible and inclusive content

Example of organized web content
Check out Zapier’s guide to accessible web content

This is one of the most underrated of the 6 retail marketing strategies we are touching on today. It’s important for marketing content to be of quality, but what’s the point if it’s not easily understood? Making content more accessible could include adjustable font sizes (or more legible ones), more use of images to convey information for cognitive or reading impairments, and transcripts for videos/podcasts to name a few. The goal is to ensure that as many people as possible can actually engage with your content, and hopefully understand it. Reducing barriers to your content is key and will ensure you can maximize your reach.

6. Metaverse marketing

Read our guide on metaverse shopping here

If you’ve read our metaverse blog post, you’ll know that more and more people are embracing the digital world. Technology will continue to change how humans interact with each other, extending to how they interact with businesses as well. This is why so many retailers are investing into marketing on the metaverse. Read our metaverse post to learn more about how augmented reality (AR) is being leveraged by big brands such as Ikea to enhance their customers’ shopping experiences.

The next decade is going to be an interesting time for marketers and entrepreneurs alike. As new strategies for promoting your business will continue to grab people’s attention, the promotional game is surely to continue to change. Make sure you’re staying ahead of the curve by subscribing to our blog.

Stay up to date with all things retail
How to Build Resilience In Your Retail Business

How to Build Resilience In Your Retail Business

Originally published on August 18th, 2021.

Every so often, retailers are affected by things out of their control such as recession, inflation, seasonal natural disasters and pandemics (just to name a few). One of our customers had a huge setback when a large truck crashed into their storefront because of black ice. Bottom line is, you always have to be ready for surprises. Without the right precautions in place, this could put a huge strain on your businesses and could lead to closure. In an uncertain world, we want to make sure you have the right tools to manage your store so we have put together a few tips below to help you stay resilient through any unforeseeable events.

retail visibility


  • Conduct a physical inventory count to verify inventory amounts. Record any losses of inventory that are damaged, or expired, or spoiled. You’ll want to make sure that the inventory you have counted matches stock levels in your POS or inventory management system.
  • Review your inventory to decide what needs to be discounted and promoted immediately to bring in cash flow and to minimize the losses from your most outdated stock.
  • Contact your suppliers and vendors to get an update on order lead times and ensure accurate delivery schedules. You don’t want to sell what you can’t fulfill.


  • Use new hiring tactics. Write engaging job descriptions, promise of more hours, and offer a rewards-based incentive program so that your staff can stay invested with the success of your store.
  • Review loss prevention and security policies with employees. Don’t forget to review your POS access rights to make sure the staff permissions are still accurate.
  • Staffing alternatives with technology. Labor is hard to come by these days, modern omnichannel systems like TAKU Retail (with features like our self-checkout kiosk, and automatic inventory sync) can reduce the amount of hours needed to run your business.

Retail Store Exterior and Interior 

  • Regularly make sure that the storefront is clean by washing windows and doors, and cleaning high-traffic areas thoroughly.
  • Have the store’s new merchandising plan and products tags ready for staff. Ensure that all of your staff are informed of any new changes and are scheduled to help display stock before you open. 
  • Place promotional signage around the store. 

Retail Operations Management

  • Organize back office tasks: Review your fulfillment processes as cashiers need to have easy access to product or curbside orders at the front of the store to minimize their walking around the store.
  • Review receipt management procedures and train staff to put receipts directly into shopping bags instead of handing them to customers or ask customers if they want an email receipt instead. Remember that privacy regulations require that you get positive customer consent to save their emails for future use so an email marketing tool to capture consent that will allow customers to unsubscribe themselves. 
  • Enable staggered pickup times. Requiring customers to make an appointment to pick up their purchases to avoid huge lineups outside of your store. E-commerce providers such as TAKU eCommerce allow customers to choose a pickup time and date at checkout. Alternatively, you can use apps such as Eventbrite, Calendly or Acuity Scheduling, many of which are free for a single store account.

cloud pos

Security, Technology, and Utilities 

  • Ensure that your utilities are working properly: This includes heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), phone, internet,  electricity, and plumbing etc. If any of your utilities were disconnected while you were closed, it’s a good idea to call the utility companies to make sure they are working before you re-open. 
  • Check all surveillance and security cameras to make sure they are working properly.
  • Ensure alarm systems are working and consider updating alarm codes if needed. 
  • Verify that your retail POS system, credit card terminals, and scanners are ready to process sales. Before opening, ring in a test sale to make sure your POS is good to go.
  • Make sure that your payment terminal (PIN pad) is capable of accepting contactless payments. Know what your contactless limits are and increase them if you are comfortable with the higher risk (contactless “tap” payments are subject to chargebacks).
  • If things are a bit dated, consider updating your security system. You can look at online reviews comparing different systems to get a better idea.
retail incentives

Retail Marketing

  • Run promotions to give shoppers incentives to shop and highlighting relevant seasonal products. Remember to add this information to your online store, Google My Business, and all of your other social media channels. Read more about how to use Google My Business to attract local shoppers in your area here.
  • Let people know that you take orders online – TAKU helps retailers showcase their products 24/7 online and accepts payments easily and quickly (read more here). Fulfill orders in-store and allow customers to schedule a pickup time so that customers can pop in to pick up their items without the stress of long wait times or lineups.
  • Update Google My Business. Update your Google My Business listing and let customers know you are open for curbside pickup or delivery. Remember to adjust your hours of operation on your listing if you decide to shorten your store hours! 
  • Get added to local directories. Add your business to local directory listings (Bing, Yahoo etc.) to make it easier for shoppers to find you online. Support Retail is one of our favorite directories and was created during the COVID-19 pandemic as a free tool to help connect local businesses to shoppers in the area. Being featured on local directories with links to your website improves SEO which also means that you are able to have your website appear ahead of your competitors on search engines such as Google.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to add a few relevant tips for retailers that have reopened or planning to reopen soon. We understand that it might be a little overwhelming, but completing this list can help your employees and staff feel safer, and create more trust.

The world can be a shaky place right now, and there may be some rough times ahead. You can rest assured by following the tips outlined in this post. When you build resilience in your retail business, you can handle uncertain times with the utmost confidence and certainty.

Want to learn more about how to be seen as the top result on Google (or other search engines)?

best local seo practices
How Can I Make My Business Accessible

How Can I Make My Business Accessible

Accessibility is an important feature to have in any business. Around 15% of people around the world live with a disability of some sort. In the US alone, this statistic is 26% of the population – about 61 million adults with a disability. Given the numbers involved, it’s important for retailers to consider whether their operations and products appeal to disabled people’s needs.

Besides automatic doors and wheelchair ramps, there is still a lot that retailers can do when it comes to accommodating disabled people.

Why is accessibility important

Icons for the different types of accessibility needs

As we’ve mentioned, a good portion of the world lives with some form of disability. And as a retailer you want to make it as easy as possible for all potential customers to shop with you. A survey conducted in the UK reported that 78% of disabled people found it difficult or impossible to access most shops and malls. Making stores more accessible to 78% of disabled people is an easy way to increase your customer base and improve sales.

Access for people with disabilities improves access for everyone.

Community Tool Box

At its core, accessibility in retail is ensuring as many people as possible can easily shop with you. When most people think of making a store more accessible, they often think about making it easier for people who use wheelchairs or canes to access the store. But accessibility can include more than that. It is also about making sure anyone can read the signs in your store, or that anyone can feel comfortable in your store.

The types of accessibility issues

The types of accessibility issues

There are a few types of potential accessibility issues your shoppers could have. The common barriers to accessibility are:

  • Visual: This is for people who have a hard time seeing things, or even those who cannot see at all.
  • Mobility: This is for people who have difficulty moving around, such as people in wheelchairs or people with crutches.
  • Auditory: This is for people who have a hard time hearing or cannot hear at all.
  • Learning and/or cognitive: This is for people who may have learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

It is important to consider whether your store is inaccessible to people who fall under one or more of these categories. Are you doing enough to provide a satisfying shopping experience to these people?

The issues that arise from inaccessible retail

Besides just the financial losses a store can get from inaccessibility there is more to consider. At the end of the day, people with disabilities are still people. We must be empathetic to their concerns and needs.

Boy in wheelchair looking at stairs

When stores are inaccessible, people with disabilities are further made to feel like they are not a valued member of society. Just imagine if every time you had to go shopping you had to deal with an obstacle course at the same time. It would make you think that the business does not want you there or is making it as hard as possible for you to be there. Unfortunately, this is the reality many disabled people have to live with.

Some other consequences that can arise from your store being inaccessible are:

  • Injuries
  • Exclusion
  • Stress & anxiety
  • Problems getting to certain products or services

This surely makes you ask, how can I make my business more accessible?

How can you make your business accessible

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what accessibility is. Now we can move on to the most important part – how to actually make your business accessible to more people!

Evaluate your store

The first step is to take some time to assess your store. Are there places where people may have trouble with accessibility? Perhaps a certain aisle is too tight for people to move through easily if they are using a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair. Or maybe some of your signs are hard to read due to small lettering. Even things such as lighting can affect accessibility. Make a list of all of the potential issues within your store so you have an action plan to start.

Illustration of a cheklist

Understand your region’s accessibility regulations

Each country, state or province has its own rules and regulations when it comes to accessibility. Make sure you do some research into what your region specifies. This will also help you prioritize tasks within your action plan.

Examples of accessibility features

Accessible parking

Here are some common solutions to accessibility issues. Keep in mind, these are just a few examples.

  • Ramps and automatic doors
  • Accessible parking
  • Large lettering on signage (72pt font is a standard size for more accessible readability)
  • Wide doors to allow people in wheelchairs or walkers to pass through
  • Braille on some signs
  • Comfortable lighting (not too bright but not too dark either)
  • Using patterns instead of only colors for differentiation for those with poor color vision
  • Flexibility at the point-of-sale (portable card processing machines or with long cables, ample room at self-checkout stations, etc.)
  • If you have TVs or screens, make sure closed-captioning is turned on
  • Include people with disabilities in your marketing
  • Be open to suggestions from people with disabilities

Take action!

Now that you know your region’s regulations, and you know what in your store needs work, you can begin taking action.

Once you have core accessibility issues resolved, you can take extra steps to make your customers with accessibility feel more included. Examples of this include:

Shopping cart with magnifying glass attached
This store has magnifying glasses on shopping carts to make reading fine print easier (Source).
  • Offering products which will appeal to people with various physical needs
  • Quiet spaces to give consumers a break from all of the hustle and bustle in your store. This is very effective for customers who experience sensory overload.
  • Have magnifying glasses that allow visually impaired people to read smaller texts and labels
  • Review websites and online stores for sufficient meta information for user navigation (versus just product information) as those who are visually impaired often use audio tools to read aloud online content
  • QR codes on product labels which will allow customers to inspect product information from their smartphones which have built-in accessibility modes
  • Hiring employees who know sign language

These extra steps will really help customers with disabilities feel included and accommodated.

Train your staff

Accessibility training

While having accessibility features is a great thing, it is important that your staff, the people who represent your business, are also trained to serve customers with disabilities. Making sure that all of your staff are trained in the basics of accessibility etiquette will result in every customer getting the best customer service. You can find some services and products that help with disability awareness/etiquette training here.

Online accessibility matters too

Web accessibility illustration

As mentioned above, accessibility doesn’t just stop at your physical store, but extends to your online sales channels as well. A survey in the UK showed that businesses lose a combined £17 billion due to a lack of online accessibility. This highlights the economic importance of making your digital sales channels accessible, beyond it being the right thing to do.

Make sure it is easy to navigate your website and that you include alt-texts on all images and navigation functions (e.g. buttons). Since people with visual impairments use applications to read aloud website content, alt-texts on images help describe and differentiate them to users.

Ensure readability on your website. Use legible fonts, clear color contrast and appropriate font sizes. This extends to captions on any video that may be on your website. Also make sure that you are using headings to organize text content on your site. Having a structure to your text content allows it to be more understandable to users with cognitive disabilities. For more info on web accessibility check out this Hubspot article.

Accessible businesses thrive

The best type of businesses are able to serve as many customers as possible. And offering access to those with disabilities, improves access for everyone. This makes your business more successful and a stronger member of your community. Please take some time as soon as you can to evaluate where you can improve accessibility in your business.

To stay up-to-date on all things retail, including our Recession Proofing Your Business series, make sure you subscribe to our blog. Click or tap on the banner below to subscribe today!

Stay up to date with all things retail