A Teaching Innovation on Retail Environmental Design for Consumers with Disabilities

Meng-Hsien (Jenny) Lin, William J. Jones, Akshaya Vijayalakshmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of Study: A teaching innovation that bridges the gap identified in current retailing textbooks, which pay
minimal attention to serving consumers with disabilities in the marketplace, is proposed and assessed. This retail
class project considers not only the legal and profit benefits for the firm, but also the inclusion and sense of
normalcy for a consumer from a societal marketing perspective.

Method/Design and Sample: Forty-one students working on the retail project were invited to participate in a pre- and post- test survey that investigates 1) their knowledge of disability regulations and accommodations required
of retail outlets and 2) the usefulness of the project in advancing their careers and academic learning. In addition
to the use of a “cognitive walkthrough” method of data collection for the class project, students were introduced to
the concepts and model of servicescape and consumer normalcy in preparation for the project.

Results: Results indicated that learning objectives were met and student expectations were achieved through the
implementation of the retail project.

Value to Marketing Educators: The implications of considering consumers with disabilities in retail
environmental design includes: the physical needs of adapting to consumers with disabilities and the
psychological need of consumers wanting to be included and perceived as “normal.” The innovation extends
students’ learning about consumers with disabilities while reinforcing traditional retail concepts, such as store
layout, visual merchandising, consumer behavior, and the notion of a servicescape. The project is adaptable to
various marketing courses.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal for Advancement of Marketing Education
StatePublished - 2017


  • Consumer disability
  • Consumer normalcy
  • Retailing
  • Servicescape


  • Marketing
  • Education
  • Disability Law

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