The very fabric of the World Wide Web emerged from the idea of creating equal opportunity for everyone, including people with disabilities. One in five of us (20%) have a disability, possibly limiting our ability to interact with websites and purchase items.
That said, ecommerce accessibility is not just about having a strong moral and ethical obligation. Optimising your ecommerce site to be fully accessible, will help you avoid costly litigation, improve your search engine ranking, enhance conversation, and gain you more repeat customers.
Here, we explore the five key benefits of having an accessible ecommerce website.
- Promoting equality
Just as visitors to a high-street retailer would hope to be able to enter and freely move around your store without restriction, ecommerce owners with a strong moral compass mirror this experience online. They appreciate that importance of Alt text accurately describing a product image, the ability to navigate a site using a keyboard, screen reader compatibility, and so much more.
- Increased sales
Particularly for ecommerce sites, a more accessible website can translate directly to better sales. The shopping cart, checkout process and associated forms need to be properly coded to support keyboard navigation, screen readers and other assistive technology. When you do this, a higher percentage of customers can make purchases.
A simpler and more accessible online shopping experience can lead to higher rates of conversion among all site visitors. Basic principles of digital accessibility, such as adequate contrast and easy navigation, enhance the user experience for everyone.
- Protection from lawsuits
Domino’s pizza recently lost a lawsuit following a complaint from a visually impaired customer who said he was unable to complete a pizza’s purchase using the company’s iPhone app. Domino’s Pizza were ordered to make their website and app accessible.
The case was a win for disability advocates, who have argued that if businesses do not have to maintain accessible sites, disabled people could be effectively shut out of substantial portions of the economy.
The Equality Act 2010 says changes or adjustments should be made by businesses and organisations. This is to ensure that disabled people can access certain things including goods and services. This shouldn’t just apply to brick-and-mortar shops, but to online shops too.
Having an accessible ecommerce website protects you from such lawsuits which are likely to become more common.
- Branding and reputation
Empathetic brands stand out more than their competitors. Whether online or at local brick-and-mortar shops, customers want to do business with purpose-driven companies run by people who care. Companies with a reputation for authenticity and a sense of purpose grow an average of three times faster than their competition. They also experience higher market share gains.
Having an accessible ecommerce website communicates dedication, social responsibility, and a high level of commitment to customer service – all attributes that will benefit your brand.
- Improved SEO
Unlike accessibility, SEO is something companies don’t usually hesitate to spend money on. And yet many accessibility guidelines are the same as SEO techniques. For example, valid HTML, clear link names, using text rather than images of text, providing text alternatives for images, etc. This means that incorporating accessibility at the same time, will help to improve websites’ search engines ranking.
Also, having an accessible ecommerce website that provides a good user experience for everyone will:
- Increase website traffic
- Increase conversion rates
- Reduce bounce rates
Having an accessible ecommerce website is more important than ever as businesses rely on online sales during social distancing. Those businesses that spend the time, effort, and money to make their sites accessible are the ones who will stay ahead of the competition.
Reach out to us today and we’ll provide you with clear guidance and advice on how you could make your website more accessible.