Will Only Accessible Websites Gain Profit from the E-commerce Boom?

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Have you ever heard about ADA? It stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. It ensures that every person with a disability, be it a hearing, vision, cognitive, or motor impairment, can enjoy the services of brick and mortar outlets without worrying about being discriminated against due to their disability.

However, many companies still don’t know that the accessibility ADA talks about is their responsibility also in the digital world. Their websites and mobile apps need to be as accessible to people with disabilities as the company’s physical locations.

Does that have an impact on their revenues? Definitely. How exactly does it affect them? Well, that’s something that we will be focusing on in this article, so read on if you want to find out more.

E-Commerce and Digital Accessibility

There’s no denying that e-commerce is a big thing in the US – especially now, with the pandemic situation and people unable to go to physical stores. According to the statistics, in the second quarter of 2020, e-commerce accounted for 16.1% of total retail sales. What’s more, if we compare Q2 of 2020 with the second quarter of 2019, we will see a noticeable growth – 44.5% to be precise.

As we already mentioned, e-commerce sites need to be as accessible for people with disabilities as physical locations are. Contrary to what some people might think, it is not limited to a specific country – due to the internet, we are now part of the global market, which means that every website needs to be ADA compliant.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case, as people checking SquareSpace accessibility found out. While there is space for improvement there, they are not fully compliant with the WCAG 2.0 Level AA requirements. The same thing goes for several other websites. However, what they might not realize is that due to inaccessibility, they are losing thousands of potential customers. It is estimated that over 15% of the global population (more than one billion people) experiences some kind of disability.

How Inaccessible Websites Lose Customers and Revenue

While there are no clear statistics about how it affects the US e-commerce market, let’s take a look at the Click-Away Pound Survey performed in the UK in 2019. According to the previous report from 2016, more than 4 million people have abandoned a retail website due to accessibility barriers, taking with them an estimated amount of £11.75 billion. In the newest report, from 2019, the estimated amount of lost revenue reached £17.1 billion.

People tend to talk more about the bad experiences they had, so if someone with a disability looked at your website and couldn’t navigate through it, they will most likely tell their friends and families about it. Word spreads fast, and if it reaches enough people, it might put your reputation at stake.

However, every coin has two sides. Some business owners might not even be aware that their website is not accessible for people with disabilities and that they are losing potential revenue due to that fact. As the survey found, only 8% of customers who encountered accessibility barriers contacted the business owner about it.

This is why it’s crucial to check whether people with disabilities (no matter what type) would have no problem navigating through your website.

How to Make Sure Your Website Is Accessible

Contrary to what some people might think, making your website accessible for all is not that difficult – or at least, it doesn’t have to be. The important thing is knowing what you should do to make that happen – thankfully, there are several online resources explaining that, including the globally accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

While there is a lot of factors that contribute to website accessibility, here are some of the key areas of an e-commerce site that you need to pay attention to:

  • checkout – if you want the customers to finalize the transaction, you need to make sure that every step of the checkout is compliant with accessibility standards
  • form fields – all form fields should have proper labels and error messaging
  • color schemes – there are many online tools that allow you to create color palettes compliant with ADA, as well as check your website’s color contrast
  • alt text – every piece of non-text content should have an alt text that clearly describes what is it
  • mobile shoppers – the percentage of people doing online shopping on their phone is growing with each year, so if you want your website to be truly accessible, you need to make sure that the mobile version of it is also thoroughly tested

The Bottom Line

So – Will only accessible websites gain profit from the e-commerce boom? Not really. Of course, accessible websites will profit way more than their inaccessible competitors, but they will not be the only ones. However, the good news is that even if your website is not accessible at the moment, you can always change that.

After reading this article, we hope that you have a better understanding of how accessibility influences the business’s profit and how a business can make sure that its website is ADA compliant. Who knows, maybe you’ll be implementing some of the things we mentioned on your own site? Good luck!