Six ways to tap into the billion-dollar disability consumer spending market

diversity, people with disabilities,, inclusive

While market analysts puzzle over the unusual spending habits of the newer generation (Gen Z and Gen X), and entrepreneurs struggle to find new and exciting ways to market to these consumers, a significant portion of consumers are overlooked, the buyers with disabilities. As a buyer with a disability, finding retailers that sell clothing, accessories, household products and that offer services that are appropriate and applicable can be incredibly difficult. While there’s no lack of demand or financial resources, there’s a fundamental lack of products and service providers. By building a business with this target market in mind, businesses can build their wealth while also making the world a more accessible place.

Here are six steps to making it happen:

1. Get to the roots and start with your strategy

If you want to target a particular demographic, you have to tailor the advertising platforms you use, your choice of words, and the content you include around what appeals to them. Since no one can pretend to know what it’s like to be in someone else’s position, you can only really pin down an excellent strategy if you ask for input from people with lived experience. As the saying goes, “nothing about us without us”. In practical terms, this could mean ensuring that the opinions and voices of staff members with disabilities are sought out and listened to. It could also mean hiring a disability consultant for the life of the project.

2. Get known and get involved in community efforts

Consumers can smell a rat and it’s obvious when support for the disability community is just for show. Showing up and supporting events within the community (when the cameras are off), and sponsoring where possible is a much better way to form better ties within the community. Also stay on top of local affairs, attend local council meetings where it affects people with disabilities, talking about the ways in which you wish to show your support as a brand.

3. Collaborate with local disability organisations

There are so many organisations that support people with disabilities, find them, reach out, and offer your support. Encourage your team members to participate and volunteer within these organisations, and arrange special days out of the office to enable a good team-building effort. Also, consider sponsoring some of your products or services when there are fundraisers or other events.

4. Represent disability awareness in your workforce

Hiring workers with disabilities won’t only display your support to the disability audience, but it will actually improve your brand’s favourability across the board, with all consumers. If you want to benefit from the perspectives of your employees with disabilities, try to hire diverse employees with cross-disabilities (meaning not everyone has the same or similar limitations) to get a broader understanding of the needs you are meeting.

5. Create an employee advisory committee

There is only one way to ensure your brand remains consistent in its commitment to being accessible to workers with disabilities and buyers with disabilities, and that is to create an employee advisory committee. This committee will form as a bridge between the company and the workers with disabilities, giving them a platform to provide feedback so that the business can improve its accessibility, benefit from new ideas, and take constructive feedback into its strategies.

6. Advertise in disability media and mainstream media

Without being tokenistic, without using inspiration as the theme for your marketing, and without making a big deal about it, include your support for the disability community in your marketing. Talk about how your products or services are designed to include consumers with limitations. You should demonstrate how your products simplify their lives, improve their appearance, or make them happier, exactly as you would to any other consumer.