Imagine you’ve just opened a store on a popular shopping street with all of the latest gizmos. On a busy day, you notice to your horror that about 1 in every 5 prospective customers struggles to mount a high step at the entrance to your store. And even worse -- they get frustrated and turn away, taking their business elsewhere!
Though less apparent, this is essentially what your eCommerce business experiences every day that it’s inaccessible to people with disabilities. For example, approximately 20% of the US population has a disability of sorts that impacts the way they interact with your website.
Just as it’s common sense for the shop owner to add a ramp to the shop entrance, so it is for a digital merchant to make their eCommerce website accessible. While it is first and foremost the right and inclusive thing to do (to serve all kinds of customers and promote positive brand reputation), it also presents fantastic benefits to businesses (naturally, to earn more money).
What is web accessibility and why does it matter?
Web accessibility is the process of making websites usable by people with disabilities. This includes people with visual, auditory, physical, and cognitive impairments, as well as those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and voice recognition software. By making your website accessible, you can ensure that everyone can use it, regardless of their ability level.
There are a number of reasons why web accessibility is so important. Check out the most crucial of them below and see how your website can benefit from adopting these changes.
Boost web traffic and tap into lucrative markets
Web accessibility opens up your eCommerce business to an additional over 1 billion people worldwide. In the US, people with disabilities bring an estimated yearly disposable income of over $544bn. They shop more frequently than normal customers, spend more on each transaction, and are more loyal.
To get a sense of the size of this opportunity cost, inaccessible US-based eCommerce businesses lose approximately $6.9bn just from people who are blind to their accessible counterparts. Web accessibility is therefore a fantastic way to tap into a lucrative market with few competitors.
Higher SEO rankings and conversion rates
No one outside of Google knows exactly how the SEO algorithm works. We do know, however, that web accessibility can boost your website ranking on search results, making your website more visible.
Why? Since web accessibility improves user experience, bounce rates (the percentage of visitors exiting from a site after viewing only one page) are reduced, while visit duration and conversion rates are increased. Thus, increasing web accessibility should be part of your content testing strategy.
Inaccessibility exposes your business to costly lawsuits
Web accessibility is mandated by law in the USA, Canada, the EU, and other countries. As a result of increased adoption and enforcement, the number of web accessibility-related lawsuits and demand letters has skyrocketed in recent years.
Legal settlements run into the $10,000s. And that’s not counting the reputational costs you may incur at a time of heightened sensitivity to Corporate Social Responsibility. This is something you’d probably like to avoid.
Web accessibility doesn’t have to be complex
Web accessibility laws enforce the prescriptions stipulated by the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), a technical document spanning 100s of pages.
In the past, web accessibility used to be an arduous journey, involving dedicated consultants and special developers that are experts in the WCAG. Predictably, this can be a very long and costly option. Good news, making your website accessible today doesn’t have to be so complex!
Thanks to such AI-powered solutions as accessiBe’s accessWidget, web accessibility can be fully automated, highly scalable, and affordable for businesses of any size.
Making your eCommerce website accessible is a no-brainer
Web accessibility is common sense for any eCommerce business. Not only does it boost your business by potentially increasing your web traffic, market size, and SEO ranking, but it also mitigates costly legal risks. And all the while doing the right thing! It’s a no-brainer.
Ready to make your eCommerce business accessible? Check whether your website complies with accessibility requirements in seconds using this free testing tool.
Already running an eCommerce store on nopCommerce? Extend its functionality with the accessiBe plugin, an AI-powered web accessibility solution to increase the accessibility and usability of any website.