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As an eCommerce business owner, you probably pride yourself on knowing your customers in and out. But have you ever heard of this guy, John?
John is a veteran who suffers from permanent wrist strain that prevents him from using a mouse without significant discomfort.
Because of the above, he’s invested considerable time, money, and effort into using the internet with the help of the following:
- Keyboard navigation without a mouse
- Ergonomic keyboards
- Remote touch via his mobile phone
- Voice recognition software installed on his mobile phone and computer
These technology aids help John traverse the internet, but he still has problems handling certain content barriers like forms, and he still spends considerably more time trying to navigate websites because of all the content that his assistive technologies can’t skip.
How prepared would you say your website is to meet and serve John?
If John were to ever land on an eCommerce website that fails to meet digital accessibility standards, it would be impossible for him to complete the checkout process for the simple reason that the process would time out before he can complete his purchase.
All his time, money, research, and effort spent in trying to use the internet would be for nothing.
Imagine if that eCommerce website were yours.
According to the World Health Organization, over 15% of the world’s population self-identifies as having a disability. That’s 1.3 billion people as of now, making this the largest minority group in the world.
According to the US Census Bureau, there are 56.7 million Americans who currently have a disability. Over half of these people rate their disabilities as “severe”, with around 12 million admitting that they require help with important tasks in their everyday lives.
These numbers tug at your heartstrings, but what do they mean for your bottom line? According to the Click-Away Pound Survey 2016:
- 71% of customers will abandon a website that has accessibility issues
- Over 80% of respondents admit they would strongly prefer doing business on eCommerce websites that place the fewest amount of barriers in their way over eCommerce websites with lower prices
- 90% of those who click away would never reach out to the website for support, so eCommerce sites don’t even know they are losing this money
Digital accessibility could be costing you millions of dollars in lost revenue each year, and you wouldn’t even know it.
But what is digital accessibility in the first place? and Why is it so important for you to start taking it more seriously?
Is this just another short-term trend like the new Barbie movie, or are there larger issues at stake if you fail to adopt the right mindset about accessibility?
What Does Digital Accessibility Mean for Your eCommerce Website?
Digital accessibility means ensuring that every facet of your eCommerce website is coded, designed, and optimized to enable everybody–especially the disabled–to use it fully on any device. This applies to a wide array of disabilities, including movement, sight, and cognitive ability.
eCommerce businesses that fail to implement digital accessibility would lose these paying customers to their more thoughtful competitors who took the time to cater to the entire customer base.
Not only do disabled customers bounce off non-compliant eCommerce sites to their competitors, but search engines also penalize eCommerce websites that are not digitally accessible.
Understanding Digital Accessibility for Your eCommerce Website
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a standard by which you can know if your website is compliant or not.
These are a set of international accessibility standards that have been developed through the World Wide Web Consortium, in cooperation with organizations and individuals. Their goal is to provide a single reference by which digital accessibility can be measured as governments, businesses, and individuals strive to meet the needs of their audiences, disabled or otherwise.
Benefits of Digital Accessibility to eCommerce Businesses
Benefits of digital accessibility include:
- Increased Market–Everyone Can Use Your Website
Digital accessibility increases the number of people who are able to make purchases on your website, thus it increases the spread of your available market. And the more people who are capable of using your website, the more potential your eCommerce business has to make revenue.
- Increased Business Value
The more digitally accessible your eCommerce website is, the more valuable your business is. This goes without saying because the greater the usability of your website, the more users you can serve, and by extension the more useful the website is.
- Improved Ranking on Search Engines
Search engines like Google and Bing are obsessed with providing a great user experience to searchers. They do this by promoting websites that provide a great user experience to visitors over those that don’t.
- Increased Traffic and More Revenue
The better your website rankings, the more eyeballs you’ll have on your eCommerce website. This in turn increases your potential revenue many times over.
- Increased Protection from Lawsuits
Digital accessibility keeps you safe from lawsuits having to do with non-compliance. Both large and small businesses have been sued for compliance violations in eCommerce in the past, and you don’t want to be the next.
Even with WCAG guidelines, staying abreast of the concept of accessibility and all the technical details you actually have to apply to be compliant can take some work. That’s why we keep our doors open to any and every question that you may have about digital accessibility. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like to know more about accessibility or if you would like to implement it on your website.