More merchants are finding that their websites are not inclusive to online shoppers with disabilities. For many, it may come as a surprise that their eCommerce site is lacking. When it comes to ADA compliance, it’s a lot of little things that add up.
The ADA (American Disabilities Act) stretches beyond just brick-and-mortar storefronts and is becoming increasingly significant in the world of eCommerce. Website compliance has grown more important as DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands are finding themselves bearing the brunt of legal ramifications for their online stores being non-inclusive.
Ensuring that your online storefront is not only accessible to all consumers, but also showcasing your brand’s value of diversity and inclusion is very important to a lot of buyers. In today’s climate, consumers are looking for more inclusive brands experiences.
Providing an equal and fair access to your website isn’t only the ethical thing to do, it’s also the right financial decision for your business.
Why ADA Compliance Makes Your Brand More Inclusive
ADA Compliance is an integral part of being an inclusive brand. Providing accommodations such as visual aids and verbal search capabilities on your website are all ways to reach consumers that may not be able to use your website otherwise.
If your online store is not ADA compliant, it risks not only deterring potential segments of site visitors, but being completely inaccessible to willing buyers. In the U.S. population alone, there are 57 million individuals with disabilities who collectively represent $540+ billion in spending power. Being inclusive to these groups is both ethical and necessary towards your business growth.
Some brands have taken the ADA as an opportunity to go above and beyond compliance. If your website is built on the Shopify or Shopify Plus eCommerce platform, there are numerous third party integrations that provide better accessibility than what is required.
For example, the eSSENTIAL Accessibility app helps users with disabilities preventing them from the ability to type, use a mouse, or properly read a screen. The app gives these users the ability to navigate a website via motion-sensing capabilities and provides a consistent omnichannel customer experience.
These innovations aimed at making shopping experiences more inclusive are paving the way for how eCommerce will look in the future. Consumers are growing more accustomed to having access to helpful tools and seeing inclusive brands.
What Happens If Your Website Is Not ADA Compliant
If ensuring your brand is inclusive is not reason enough to focus on being ADA compliant, it’s also important as more and more brands are being faced with demand letters and lawsuits for not complying with the law. Many of BVA’s clients have already encountered legal issues surrounding ADA, and it’s important to address as soon as possible before the fines start to add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Any plaintiff can sue a company for a non-compliant site. To provide some context, in the first half of 2019 over 3,200 website accessibility lawsuits were filed, a 51% increase compared to the previous six months.
In Canada, fines for non-compliance can go up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for each subsequent violation. This is an ongoing issue that doesn’t go away until actions have been taken towards compliance.
How BVA Addresses ADA Compliance
BVA, a leading commerce agency, is partnering with eSSENTIAL Accessibility (eA) to help solve ADA challenges for brands. eA is an enterprise-class digital accessibility platform and Shopify Plus partner that helps organizations achieve and maintain digital compliance, while enhancing the customer experience for people with disabilities.
If you are interested in learning about how you can get a free audit of your website’s current ADA compliance or leverage the eA solution, please feel free to reach out to us here!
MORE ABOUT BVA
BVA incubates and grows the direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that people love. With the largest and most versatile client roster in the industry, we’ve launched more brands on Shopify Plus than any other agency and currently manage a client portfolio that generates nearly one billion dollars annually in gross merchandise volume (GMV).
Through a customer-centric approach, we create measurable and executable commerce strategies that drive brand awareness, immersive customer experience, high conversions, profitability, and customer lifetime value. Having built and scaled brands like Rebecca Minkoff, Tommy John, Chubbies, Native (P&G), RedBull, and UNTUCKit, we leverage our unmatched expertise to forge the future of commerce for leading and emerging DTC brands.
Megan Holett is the Sales and Marketing Coordinator at BVA. Her role involves bridging the gap between sales processes and agency marketing through content creation and other initiatives.