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How to Expand Your eCommerce Clientele and Include Those with Disabilities

Online Business

How to Expand Your eCommerce Clientele and Include Those with Disabilities


A constant goal for ecommerce stores is to increase relevant traffic to the site. The more people you can get in front of, the more chances you have to convince someone of your value and make a sale. Anything you can do to improve your reach is crucial to those with an eCommerce store, and yet, there is still a low-hanging fruit out there that is widely ignored by most but could produce significant results. One way eCommerce businesses are seeing boosts in traffic and conversions? Making their ecommerce store website accessible.


How Web Accessibility Helps Your eCommerce Store

Web accessibility is the general term used for the edits you can make to your website to improve its usability or access to accommodate customers with a wide range of disabilities. Three main reasons drive eCommerce businesses to make the change to their site:

  • Reach a vast number of users. Those with disabilities represent a huge chunk of the United States population. Approximately 25% of Americans have some form of disability, which isn’t expected to decrease. By transforming your eCommerce store’s elements into accessible, you can grow your potential buyers by 25%!
  • Improve UI for all users. Many improvements you make when changing an accessible site can benefit all users, improving your sales. Most of the edits made when implementing an accessibility strategy fall into the User Interface (UI) category of web development. Plenty of modifications will be specific for individual impairments, but they make sense for everyone. An example is that an accessible site allows users to pause flashing ads, which can cause seizures for people with epilepsy and are often just plain distracting and possibly even annoying to other users. Users will spend more time browsing and perhaps making purchases by having a simpler site to navigate and not having annoying distractions.
  • Avoid a lawsuit. In recent years, web accessibility has gotten much attention, mainly because of new regulations from The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), making it easier than ever for a non-compliant site to be sued for discrimination. This threat, of course, is something that any business owner would want to avoid at all costs.

What Web Accessibility Entails (And How to Implement)

Many accessibility features can be implemented for various disabilities. For example, screen reader compatibility for the blind or visually impaired, keyboard navigation for motor impairments that prevent using a mouse or trackpad, closed captioning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, UI improvements, cognitive issues, and many more. While you can knock out some significant improvements independently, the biggest problem is keeping up with the changes. Every time you edit your website, you must ensure your content is accessible. Manual work like this is rarely sustainable as a company grows and an eCommerce site.

Now, at this point, you might feel a headache as you think about all the time and money it will take to get this up and running. Don’t fret; there are simple solutions.

The most common way people tackle this issue today is to work with a third-party web accessibility platform. For example, an automated web accessibility platform accessible handles all the leg work utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Even more importantly, they scan their clients’ websites every 24 hours to find new elements to remediate so there are no gaps in your accessibility.

A service like this is not free, but compared to the amount you would need to pay a team of software developers, the cost pales. In addition to adapting to changes, that cost would mean you would need dedicated developers to be constantly working. If something were to slip through the cracks, you could get sued, making it an absolute no-brainer to use an automated solution.

In short, using a platform that uses applications to change front-end user interface aspects and AI-powered backend changes that can adjust your site depending on the specific requirements of the particular allows you to see that “overnight” growth we were talking about.

The True Benefit of Web Accessibility

Taking on a strategy that works to improve inclusivity ties is why you started your business in the first place. You want to maximize the value you bring to the world, so you can’t ignore users who would love to interact with your business and benefit from that value.

Making sure everyone can use your site as intended is the right thing to do; that’s obvious, but it’s also the right thing to do financially and for more considerable brand growth and reputation. Customers are becoming increasingly aware of social issues, and eCommerce sites are not immune. Having a site focused on helping those with different needs might be the positive brand image that pushes you past just being another eCommerce company and establishes your brand and stance on inclusivity (and, again, bringing in an entirely new group of users!).

In short, as soon as you possibly can, you should seek out a platform that will make the necessary changes to your site to be accessible. It would help if you did not take this internally because it will be a significant expense and time commitment. The benefits you will receive are increased traffic (possibly up to 25%!), a more user-friendly website, safety from lawsuits stemming from growing regulations, an improved brand image, and, most importantly, more sales from customers who never would have interacted with your site. It just makes sense to pursue web accessibility.

Eula Boone

I have written professionally since 2010 and have been an investor since 2015. My finance blog, economydiva.com, is one of the most visited blogs in the world, with more than 3 million readers a month. I love sharing what I know about investing, saving, and managing money and providing practical tips on how to be a smart and savvy money manager.