There is no doubt that eCommerce is on the rise, with sales expected to hit $4.5 trillion by 2021. The eCommerce market in North America grew by 16% in 2018 and represented over $500 billion in sales and digital influences nearly 60% of all retail sales.
Given the importance of the internet in driving sales, marketers should ensure that their websites are engaging and functional for all potential shoppers. This means ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for websites.
A Technological Divide
As consumers continue to use the internet to shop and learn about products and brands, it is important that marketers ensure their campaigns have a broad reach. This includes factoring ADA compliance into their website content and digital marketing campaigns.
Over 15% of the United States population, which totals 56.7 million Americans, suffer from some sort of disability. Many disabilities affect an individual’s ability to interact with web content. These impairments include:
- Visual Impairment: Individuals with low or no vision will not be able to see visual content on a website.
- Hearing Impairment: Consumers with hearing impairments will not be able to interact with or benefit from video and other multimedia marketing efforts.
- Physical Disabilities: To the extent that web content requires interaction from a mouse or other computer peripheral, individuals with physical disabilities may be limited in their ability to navigate the site.
In fact, Pew Research Center has found that individuals with disabilities are three times less likely than those without a disability to go online.
This technological divide gives forward-looking marketers an opportunity to create significant brand loyalty by ensuring their content aims for ADA compliance and reaches disabled individuals.
Untapped Purchasing Potential
Marketers who optimize for ADA compliance have the potential to access a significant consumer market that has been underserved by current eCommerce offerings.
The total disposable income for U.S. adults with disabilities is almost $500 billion, making it comparable to the African American and Hispanic market segments. The discretionary income of working-age people with disabilities is about $21 billion, making it significantly higher than that of African Americans ($3 billion) and Hispanics ($16 billion). It would be unheard of for a marketer to avoid either the African American or Hispanic markets, and the same should be true for individuals with disabilities.
Additionally, the possible benefits of ADA compliance extend beyond the individuals themselves. Disabled individuals are surrounded by support groups of family members and friends who are likely to put their purchasing power behind brands that accommodate their loved ones.
Benefits Beyond Sales
The benefits of ADA compliance by revising web and marketing content for accessibility go beyond increasing the market segments purchasing their products.
First, ensuring accessibility also has the potential to increase a company’s search engine optimization (SEO). Many of the actions required for improving accessibility also improve search rankings, such as adding alternative text and creating a logical site structure.
Second, preparing content with an eye towards ADA compliance generally results in content that is easier for all users to navigate. It has been found that if the navigation of a website is too complex or confusing, it will cost sales and customers.
While focusing on ADA compliance has many potential benefits, it also can help avoid less obvious drains on the brand and the bottom line. Brands should familiarize themselves with relevant laws and regulations relating to accessibility.
Companies that fail to follow these guidelines towards ADA compliance may open themselves up to costly lawsuits and negative PR.
Work With Industry Experts
Given the number of guidelines regarding accessibility, overhauling your web content and marketing materials towards ADA compliance may seem overwhelming. Interested in making sure your website is fully ADA compliant? Speak to one of our web accessibility experts today.