4 Key Reasons to Support Online Shoppers This Holiday Season
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, retailers are hoping for a big surge in online sales, as current lockdown measures mean in-person shopping is unlikely. Trends from this weekend will undoubtedly set a precedent for Christmas shopping habits next month.
There has already been a significant shift to online shopping in recent years. Last year on Black Friday, 142.2 million people in the US shopped online, compared to only 124 million people who chose to shop in-store. Meanwhile, in the UK, online shoppers spent well over £1.5 billion on Black Friday. In fact, the number of online shoppers on Black Friday surpassed those of Cyber Monday, which is typically when shoppers flock to the internet in droves to pick up the best digital deals.
Online Shopping Trends in 2020
The tendency to buy online has only been amplified in 2020, due to the social distancing measures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry research suggests that:
Online holiday spends in 2020 is expected to surpass $189billion in the US and £84.5 billion in the UK, an increase of nearly 33% on 2019 figures.
66% of shoppers will increase their online spend this year
65% of shoppers will buy online to avoid crowds
This is good news for online retailers, and many businesses are looking forward to a period of increased profitability at the end of what has been a difficult year. Typically, even small businesses receive revenue boosts of over 100% during the holiday season, and data shows that around 38% of consumers this year will make a deliberate effort to shop local and support smaller businesses.
Financial Gain: the result of being inclusive
It is incredibly important that companies take steps to support disabled customers online, as we already know from sources like the Click Away Pound Survey, that:
71% of web users simply leave a site that they find hard to use.
83% of people with access needs limit their shopping to sites that they know are accessible.
86% of users with access needs would spend more if there were fewer barriers.
The annual online spending power of people with access needs is now £24.8 billion in the UK and $490 billion in the USA.
From these statistics, it should be fairly obvious that the business case for making websites more inclusive is a no-brainer.
Providing the right experience for people’s buying habits
It’s also worth thinking a little more in-depth about your target demographic. Millennials were the biggest spenders on Black Friday in 2019 with an outlay of hundreds of pounds/dollars per person and a 25% increase in year-on-year spending from 2018. Millennial and Gen Z generations are incredibly socially conscious in their purchasing habits, so if your company isn’t viewed as being inclusive, some of this group simply won’t spend on your site.
FACT: Less than 10% of businesses have a plan in place to target the disability market
Consumers Need Accessible Websites
A word of warning to retailers – just because the potential market is there does not guarantee you a share of the spend. What many online store owners forget is that a significant percentage of their potential customer base includes buyers who face barriers when accessing websites.
Those with learning difficulties, visual impairments, physical disabilities, and varied linguistic needs find e-commerce sites incredibly difficult to navigate and use for a multitude of reasons. This makes online shopping an almost impossible task, and these users will need additional support to be able to use your website at all, let alone make purchases on it. So the key to gaining more traffic and sales is to make your website accessible to everyone.
Last month (October 2020) over 162,000 people used Recite Me assistive technology to aid their online journey, and all over the world companies are using assistive technology to enable website visitors to better read and understand their content.
“Being able to make your website welcoming and easy to use for all customers is key to creating the perfect online experience.
Ross Linnett, CEO & Founder of Recite Me
Case Study: Awin
Awin is a global affiliate marketing network that partnered with over 15,000 advertisers and more than 211,000 publishers in 2019, generating over 150million sales in total. Responsible for connecting businesses and customers around the world in sectors ranging from finance and telecommunications to retail and travel, equal access to all website visitors has been an important consideration for the Awin team. Awin recently launched a Recite Me toolbar on their American and Canadian websites so that site visitors can access information and services barrier-free.
"At Awin, diversity and inclusion is not an initiative but core to who we are as a company and how we run our business operations. Recite Me allows us to ensure an inclusive online environment and positive user experience for all of our partners and employees. We couldn’t be more thrilled to provide this tool for their website usage. "
Alexandra Forsch, President of Awin US
How to create an Inclusive Online Shopping Experiences
While many businesses invest heavily in enhancing branding and the general user experience (UX) to maximise their online stores and sales, not enough seem to have considered accessibility and inclusion factors. Assistive technology is one of the easiest and lowest-cost solutions to provide equal access to all consumers. For example, the Recite Me toolbar removes barriers for all users by:
Accounting for differences in vision - users can adjust the font size, font type, and use a screen reader for better focus and ease of reading.
Removing barriers for people with learning difficulties - toolbar functions include options for changing colours and colour contrasts between background and foreground, the spacing between words, and stripping out distracting graphics.
Providing information in clear language - we provide text to speech in 35 languages, on-screen translation in 100 languages, and inbuilt spell check and thesaurus functions.
Making your website easier to navigate - keyboard accessibility allows users can navigate to interactive elements, which in turn, can also be used with keyboard functions.
Providing accessible publications - our DocReader means PDF documents on your webpage are also accessible.
Hundreds of organizations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with disabilities and are seeing great results.
“The Recite Me accessibility and language support toolbar enables all website visitors to browse and purchase hassle-free. People who face online challenges because they either have a disability, learning difficulty, visual impairment or speak English as a second language, can now use a wide range of support functions to aid their shopping.”
Mat Robinson, Hornets Retail Store, Watford FC