The 2019 holiday shopping season is almost upon us.
That means there are plenty of potential sale opportunities for your business. But if your website isn’t accessible, it also means you’re going to lose a a lot of those sales.
One-in-four adults in the United States has a disability. That’s a huge consumer market you’re failing to sell to if your website isn’t accessible. Here are four predictions and recommendations to avoid that costly oversight.
Related: Maximizing Profits on Cyber Monday with Web Accessibility
1. More than half of holiday sales will be made on mobile devices
In some surveys, about half of holiday shoppers indicated they plan to use their smartphones for their holiday shopping, and one-fourth also said they’ll use their tablets for the same purpose. Some estimates even predict mobile shopping will account for more than half of all sales.
Wherever these figures land, this is for sure: your website needs to look and work great, and be accessible, on a mobile device.
Some websites when viewed on a mobile device sometimes cause issues such as screen sizes, navigation limitations, lost of function keys, or layout options (can’t turn it for landscape viewing). These types of limitations can prevent people from transacting on your site.
To get a preliminary idea of how accessible your mobile site is, give your website an accessibility test by using it on a smartphone or tablet and see how you fare.
2. Virtual Assistants and voice search will play a bigger role
Did you know that 24% of online shoppers use voice-activated virtual assistants when shopping? Also, about 8% of online shoppers use voice-activated devices such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home as part of their shopping experience.
Why are voice virtual assistants so popular? For many, they're easy to use and let people complete tasks without opening their laptop or finding their phone, going to a website or app, or waiting for a page to load or needing to sign in.
Instead, the user asks their device to do everything for them.
Ensuring that your website is compatible with this technology as well as other web browsing techniques that don't rely on keyboard use could boost your sales.
Related: Assistive Technology 101: What You Need to Know
3. Social media offers a viable shopping opportunity
Social media accounts for more than 30% of the time that consumers spend online.
Platforms such as Facebook Shops, Shopping on Instagram, and Buyable Pins on Pinterest let you list and sell products directly on those apps, so buyers don’t even need to visit your website.
You need to be sure that your social media pages are accessible for those with disabilities.
Check that all your images have alternate text descriptions, any videos have captioning, and pro-tip: only capitalize the first letter of each word in hashtags.
4. Getting a "meaningful experience" will be a top selling factor
One consumer report stated that 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.
If customers can't access your content, research your products, or make purchases on your website due to preventable accessibility barriers, they will have no chance to have a positive experience.
You can also improve the customer experience by providing your customers with more ways to communicate and get in touch with you. This includes email, phone, live chat, and contact forms. Many customers will abandon shopping carts if they cannot access customer support or find answers to their shopping needs.
Did you know that we offer a 24/7 phone line dedicated to accessibility support for visitors of our clients' websites?
Here to help with all your accessibility needs
Accessibility is critical in retail year-round, but is perhaps highlighted during the busy holiday shopping season.
For a free consultation and to start formulating an accessibility compliance strategy for your business, contact us.
Or, get started with a free website accessibility scan.
We look forward to helping you achieve, maintain, and prove digital compliance.