Online shopping takes many forms for internet users. Some prefer to browse with their desktop computers or laptops, while others use their phones to look for products online. Various preferences inform a person’s online shopping habits.
On the other hand, some people have certain shopping practices due to constraints such as poor internet speed, lack of tech knowledge, or even disabilities. When designing and building a shopping website for your online audience, it must take a great variety of online shoppers into consideration.
Factoring in these differences allows you to create an accessible online store that individuals with different home countries, ages, and devices can comfortably visit.
Why Should It Matter to Your Business?
Web accessibility, in simple terms, means that a website or online tool is designed to be easy to use for all people, even when they have certain limitations or disabilities. Poor web design can create walls that prevent some users from understanding or accessing something on the web, which essentially excludes them from using that website, product, service, or tool.
Accessibility is essential to your business because it broadens the scope of consumers you can serve with your goods and services. When an online visitor is not pleased with something about your online store, they will have no issue choosing another brand over yours. This costs you potential customers and sales, which threatens business growth and longevity.
If you want to have a successful online store, you must create an inclusive website that welcomes every visitor to browse, regardless of who they are.
How Can You Pursue It for Your Online Store?
Many factors go into creating an online store that is truly for everyone. These are good places to start in setting yours up.
- Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
You will not know if your website has glaring problems unless you try it for yourself. Visit your online store from the position of a consumer and take note of every issue you encounter, big or small.
Start simple. Where do your eyes lead you when you load the webpage? Is your text legible against your background? Is the website layout navigable, or does it overwhelm the eyes?
When you are browsing the store, are there descriptions of the products? Do they state what materials or ingredients were used to make the item? Be mindful of your images and videos, too, as you need alt text and subtitles to give customers an easier time.
Try checking an item out from your cart. Does the page prompt you for the next steps? Does your checkout page clarify what to do if you pay using a credit or debit card such as a digital Mastercard or even via cash on delivery?
By simulating shopping on your website, you experience it firsthand, and you can then find initial points for improvement.
- Make your store user-friendly across devices
You must also never forget to optimize your website on various devices, from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets. Make sure that different web browsers can load it, too.
According to Oberlo, almost 50% of consumers use their mobile devices to shop online. Whether you have a website or your own app, mobile-friendliness lets you keep customers and attract new ones.
- Seek out actual feedback from online shoppers
Browsing your shop from the position of a consumer offers insight into a number of things you might need to fix. However, this should never take the place of actual comments and suggestions from real shoppers who visit your website. The different customers who shop in your online store can offer varied insights that will help you build a more inclusive shopping experience.
For instance, customers with color blindness or bad eyesight can inform you if some buttons or blocks of text are unreadable. Consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing can also tell you if your instructional videos are difficult to understand.
Reach out to customers, even your regulars, to find out what barriers they encounter while shopping and what you can do to respond. You can also seek assistance from certain groups that cater to persons with disabilities to learn more about creating an inclusive online store.
Accessibility Is Inclusivity
Remember that your website is only as accessible as it is inclusive. The last thing you want for your business is to alienate a customer before they even find out what you have to offer. Pursuing accessibility should not just be a business advantage but an integral part of your practice.