Digital Accessibility: Building an Advantage for the Buying Cycle


Each holiday season provides a massive boost to the bottom lines of retailers everywhere. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) estimates nearly 30% of annual sales for retailers comes from the window between November and the year’s end.

The awesome news? Q4 2019 holiday sales numbers rose a staggering 4.1%, according to Matt Shay, president of the NRF.

The question that’s on everyone’s lips, however, is what to do when the yearly bonanza ends.

Growth through Omnichannel Convenience

The NRF’s winter 2020 retrospective points retailers to the quickest path for better sales come the next seasonal blitz. Take a look at the highlights of the survey’s results:

  • 97% of shoppers backed out of a purchase due to inconvenience.
  • 83% say convenience during shopping is more important than 5 years ago.
  • 43% say they spend more time shopping than ever before.
  • 58-66% say they would pay more for convenience – this spans all categories.
  • 38% value convenience during the research and exploration stage in online shopping.

The kicker?

9 out of 10 shoppers are more likely to choose their retailer based on convenience.

For shoppers with disabilities, accessibility-driven convenience isn’t just a preference, it’s a necessity.

Overall, excellent web accessibility is a driving factor for omnichannel convenience across your website, mobile presence, and apps. Building that into your ramp-up for this year’s final retail quarter will mean you’ve set the stage for great experiences for millions of shoppers with disabilities.

Digital Accessibility: Building an Advantage for the Buying Cycle

The Buying Power of Shoppers with Disabilities

To add some fuel to your fire, keep in mind that building inherent web accessibility into your apps and websites goes beyond empowering brand-loyal customers. It means your bottom line will grow, too.

After initially passing the Americans with Disability Act, the ADA estimated the buying power of Americans with disabilities to be nearly $220 billion. Today, people with disabilities have a disposable income of $490 billion. The Harvard Business Review found that 30% of office professionals meet the federal government’s definition of having a disability.

That means nearly 1 in 3 of those office pros will love and appreciate a retail site that meets their basic expectations of convenience and accessibility – what better recipe for brand loyalty.

The Flip Side: Inaccessibility’s Negative Impact

The cost of inaccessibility isn’t only measured in lost sales.

You may recall that Domino’s lost its appeal to the Supreme Court in October 2019. However, as far back as 2008, national retailer Target settled a class-action lawsuit with the National Federation of the Blind for a staggering $6 million.

Ever since, the trend for these reputational and financial hits has kept a steady pace and a strictly upward trend, with more than half of all accessibility lawsuits landing on retailers.

What Makes A Website Accessible?

Since the benefits of accessibility include better sales and risk mitigation in one fell swoop, it helps to get a basic understanding of what makes a site or app accessible.

It’s actually much more straightforward than you might think.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) lays out web accessibility principles in its quick reference guide:

  • Make information and interface items presentable in ways users can perceive
  • Make user interface components and navigation operable
  • Make information and operation of the user interface understandable
  • Make your site or app robust enough to work with a variety of assistive tools and technology

These principles can go into action with very simple fixes. Some include updating a site’s color contrast, text visibility, adaptability to those who depend on or assistive technology, navigation simplification, and more.

The Path Forward: Taking Your First Steps

With all that is at stake, looking for ways to enhance the consumer experience and engage more customers with an accessible omnichannel experience makes perfect sense during the post-holiday lull.

Ensuring your business’s accessibility will help you reach millions of people with disabilities as they shop, search and explore your retail shopping site and mobile app. 

For this reason, User1st is hosting our next webinar, “Retail - Enhance Your Consumer Experience through Digital Accessibility,” on February 20th at 1 p.m.

The webinar covers 4 foundational dimensions of web accessibility in retail and how they apply to your business. Join us to explore ways to:

  • Capture More Customers
  • Care for Your Customers
  • Comply with Accessibility Standards
  • Implement Technical Solutions

Join us to start building your holiday edge and mitigating risk through a website or app that provides a convenient and accessible omnichannel shopping experience.

We look forward to seeing you there!

[Reserve Your Spot for the Webinar]

Written by Raegan Bartlo