The American With Disabilities Act is a civil law that ensures people with disabilities have the same access to life as non-disabled people.
If you’re a retail company with a physical store, you’re probably already aware of what you need to do to make your stores accessible in person.
Did you know, however, that there are also guidelines in place that dictate measures you must take to make your online website just as accessible, too?
For a long time, lots of companies got away with not being ADA compliant due to vague instructions and no clear guidelines.
With the introduction of the Standards For Accessible Design section of the ADA in 2010, and Title III in 2018, making sure your website is accessible is an absolute must.
You might think that this is more important for healthcare companies, and those who specifically market towards disabled people, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
In fact, a broken down version of the official legislation shows that ADA standards apply to all commercial and public entities, including businesses and the internet.
If you still aren’t convinced, here are some compelling reasons why you should make your retail companies website ADA compliant as soon as possible.
You Risk Being Sued If You Aren’t
In the last few years, the number of companies being sued for inaccessibility related to the ADA has greatly increased. With the introduction of Title III in the middle of 2018, it’s expected that these numbers will continue to rise over the next few years.
As these numbers do so, more and more companies who don’t make early changes will find themselves facing staggering fines, which according to Digital Authority Partners can be up to $75000 for a first expense, with the price rising for further breeches.
You might think you’re safe from this because you’re not marketing towards disabled people specifically, but this isn’t necessarily true.
A number of different companies, including Amazon and Netflix, have found themselves facing lawsuits due to inaccessible websites. Even Beyoncé isn’t excluded, with someone suing her website because it didn’t have alt text on images for visually impaired people with screen readers.
As a retail store, you’re likely to face similar problems to Beyoncé, as it’s likely you’ll be showcasing a number of photos of the items you have for sale.
Though it may not have happened yet, remember it only takes one person to step in and complain before you’re facing a whole lot of legal trouble that your company could do without.
You’ll Be Excluding Some Of Your Target Audience
Throughout this article, we’ve been talking about the belief that ADA compliance isn’t so important if you aren’t marketing specifically towards disabled people.
With over 25 million people living with a disability in the US alone, it’s almost guaranteed that they will make up some portion of your target audience.
By not catering for this section of your target audience, you could be unknowingly excluding potential returning customers with high value for changes that aren’t overly difficult to implement.
Not only will this affect your online sales, but it could potentially affect your in-store sales from those who like to see the selection online before viewing it in store.
Being Non ADA Compliant Can Ruin Your Reputation
Would you rather purchase from a business that does everything possible to accommodate its customers, or one that purposely excludes them because making things accessible seems like too much work?
I’m betting most people would rather the former, especially with the rise in awareness and making ethical choices with retail stores.
You might not think that becoming ADA compliant will have much of an impact because the average consumer probably knows nothing about it, but it only takes one person to sing your praises to receive a positive impact.
If you are ADA compliant, you could attract more disabled people to make purchases on your shop, and may have higher customer satisfaction levels than you would without it.
It’s worth noting that by not becoming ADA compliant, the opposite effect may also occur, where you lose business because of your ignorance. You may also find people talking negatively about your inability to make appropriate changes, which could make acquiring new customers harder, too.
It’s More Cost Effective
When it comes to the monetary cost of not being ADA compliant, being sued isn’t the only thing you need to worry about.
In addition to the potential $75000 fine we mentioned earlier on in the article, you also have to think about the cost of making changes after you have been caught.
This might shock you, but making changes to become ADA compliant gets a lot more expensive the longer you leave it.
The cheapest way to do it is when you’re building your website, as most web developers will do the necessary work to comply with legislation for you.
Even if your website is already established, making changes before ADA lawsuits become commonplace and web developers start charging an optimum fee to make changes can save you lots of money.
Just think, if you leave it until you are caught, you could be looking to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds between fines and making changes to your website when you could have been compliant and saved yourself lots of money by getting things right to begin with.
Now that we have provided you with all of the important reasons behind making your retail companies website ADA compliant, we hope we have been able to convince you to make the changes.
Not only will the initial investment save you potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds in the long run, but it also makes your services more personal to those who use them.
Put yourself in the shoes of a disabled person for a moment, and imagine how good it must feel to be able to access a website freely, without the restrictions usually placed on us by a non-understanding society.
Instead of having your reputation ruined by not catering for disabled people, be a front runner in your industry and do what’s necessary to start making changes today.
This article comes from Julian Gnatenco @ JGBilling medical billing group
To read more on topics like this, check out the technology category.