Ensuring that products, services, and public systems are fully accessible by all members of the population is a vitally important topic. In fact, there are many laws in place that govern this very issue, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These laws have been put in place in order to protect the rights of those with disabilities.
In most cases, businesses have responded to these laws by implementing a variety of physical provisions for their visitors, often in the form of automatic doors, wheelchair ramps, and easy access to entrances and exits. However, the unfortunate reality is that many businesses forget the importance of making their websites and digital content accessible for their customers. Most businesses set up their websites and online stores without putting any real thought into their level of accessibility, usability, and functionality, which can leave disabled users frustrated and unable to interact with the site. For eCommerce store owners, this should start to ring alarm bells in your head, since excluding any demographic from your service is far from an optimal business strategy.
In this article, we will take a look at the importance of ADA compliance for Shopify stores, as well as the profound benefits that a more accessible store can bring to your business.
From a business standpoint
Don’t lose out on potential customers
The World Health Organization estimates that roughly one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, suffer from some form of disability or impairment. That’s a lot of consumers that you could be inadvertently neglecting from your service.
As the competition heats up in the eCommerce industry, margins are getting thinner, and it is becoming more difficult to turn a profit – and it doesn’t seem as though it’s going to get easier any time soon. As a result, most store owners are laser-focused on improving their conversion rates to increase the efficiency of their store by implementing various sales tactics. But, what if you could open the door to an entire new set of untapped consumers instead?
As it turns out, disabled people make up one of the most lucrative market segments in the world. The majority of this group comprises Baby Boomers, who control a significant proportion of the global disposable income. With a few tweaks to your website and a renewed focus on accessibility, your Shopify store will immediately gain more exposure to this market, which could lead to a positive uptick in your bottom line.
Over the past few years, the number of web accessibility lawsuits has been on the rise. In most cases, plaintiffs have been filing for damages against websites that have detectable accessibility issues that have prevented those with disabilities and impairments from accessing the service.
To make matters worse, many companies are experiencing multiple ADA lawsuits simultaneously. Even if a settlement is reached, the courts have still been awarding damages to plaintiffs until the company in question improves the accessibility of all public-facing digital experiences.
Shopify store owners need to be on high alert, as eCommerce is one of the industries that has come under the most pressure from lawsuits and litigation. Since Shopify stores tend to have multiple product pages and continuously changing content, they are much more likely to present web accessibility issues that users can file against. Moreover, as many of the more established companies remedy their accessibility issues and achieve compliance with the various guidelines, it seems as though the smaller eCommerce stores are next in the firing line, especially after the pandemic brought more attention to smaller, up-and-coming eCommerce brands.
It’s the right thing to do
Rather than focusing on the potential revenue that web accessibility can bring to your business, it’s also important to remember that making provisions for disabled people is simply the right thing to do.
No user should be excluded from purchasing a product or service. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that is not the case. In addition to this, being seen to take a stance on web accessibility by putting provisions in place for your disabled visitors is a great way to build some positive PR and boost the public perception of your brand.
Make accessibility a priority
With the new and innovative technology at your disposal (such as accessibility overlays), there is no reason why any Shopify store owner can’t strive for compliance with their website and increase the level of accessibility, functionality, and usability of their digital content.
In doing so, you will be able to create more revenue-generating opportunities through accessing one of the most lucrative (and neglected) market segments in the world, while also decreasing the risk of being dragged into the courts to defend against a costly web accessibility lawsuit. And if all that wasn’t enough to convince you, then remember that making provisions for your disabled visitors is simply the right thing to do, since offering an open and inclusive service to all is one of your primary responsibilities as a business owner.