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    An Essential Resource for Shopify Plus Merchants on Web Accessibility

    by UsableNet
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    As a proud Shopify Plus Service Partner, UsableNet is delighted to share our website’s new essential resource for Shopify Plus merchants, Web Accessibility for Shopify Plus Merchants.

    Shopify provides a robust e-commerce experience with a user-friendly foundation, but most websites require additional work to ensure full accessibility. UsableNet is experienced in supporting Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants as a proud accessibility partner with Shopify brands like Barton Perreira, Pacha Soap, Marc Fisher, Quay Australia, Catrice Cosmetics, and more.

    Updated regularly by UsableNet's ADA digital accessibility experts, we hope this new resource will become a go-to information hub for the Shopify community to learn about ADA, WCAG, and digital accessibility requirements and best practices.  

    Merchants will be able to easily find curated blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, reports, and other content specific to the current initiatives in the Shopify Plus community.

    What does web accessibility have to do with Shopify Plus e-commerce?

    With the 23% rise of ADA digital lawsuits in the past year and disappointing web accessibility findings, more companies are recognizing the urgent need to implement ongoing web accessibility into their business strategy.

    Retail businesses, especially, are taking the heat for inaccessible sites and paying harsh consequences in the form of thousands of lawsuits. Between 2017-2019 more than 66% of the retailers listed in the 2019 version of the Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 were named in an ADA web or app-accessibility cases from 2017 through 2019.

    Of those sued, more than 40% faced more than one lawsuit. Check out this blog post on why retailers are more likely than other industries to receive multiple lawsuits.

    The retail industry tops the chart when it comes to ADA-based digital accessibility lawsuits. In 2020, retailers received 78% of ADA lawsuits which totaled to nearly 2,000 digital accessibility lawsuits in the retail industry alone.

    The UsableNet data team found other key trends when reviewing plaintiff claims in federal ADA-based digital lawsuits. UsableNet uses our lawsuit data findings to inform the content we create for our partners, like our ADA lawsuit report.

    Findings from lawsuits in 2020 that seemed to disproportionately impact impacting retailers included: 

    1) 20% of lawsuits in 2020 addressed accessibility of apps

    2) Websites using “accessibility” widgets and overlays are being sued

    3) WCAG 2.1 is the new standard cited in ADA lawsuits in 2020

    Why Should I make my Shopify Store Accessible?

    The business case for web accessibility is well documented and stronger than ever for retailers in today's digital world. An accessible Shopify store enables your business to:

    1. Serve More Customers

    One in four U.S. adults—over 61 million Americans—have a disability that impacts major life activities.

    2. Build Brand Loyalty

    People share experiences—good and bad—with their social circle and the larger world. 

    3. Increase E-commerce Sales

    Disposable income for working-age people with disabilities is about $490 billion. 

    4. Avoid Costly Lawsuits

    Websites and apps that are inaccessible to people with disabilities are in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

    How can I make my Shopify website accessible?

    1. Plan your company's digital accessibility roadmap

    Just like cybersecurity or financial accounting, web accessibility is a long-term process and must be maintained in the same manner. Companies should incorporate the principles and strategies of their digital accessibility roadmap into each department's short and long-term goals.

    A great starting point for all Shopify merchants is to create an accessibility statement and policy. This helps every team member gain an equal understanding and knowledgeable foundation to guide the company's future accessibility efforts.

    2. Begin the process of accessibility remediation

    An integral step of a retailer's accessibility journey is involving a holistic, ongoing solution that ensures full ADA and WCAG compliance across all web and mobile platforms. At UsableNet, we believe that involving users from the disability community is a necessary step in achieving genuine inclusive design.

    3. Ongoing accessibility maintenance for your Shopify website

    One of the biggest mistakes companies make is forgetting to include and maintain accessibility measures with site updates and adjustments. Check out these five tips for maintaining web accessibility with WCAG practices. 

    What services does UsableNet provide for Shopify merchants?

    As a Shopify Plus Solutions Partner, UsableNet offers three diverse options for Shopify Plus stores to choose from based on their accessibility needs and goals. 

    1. Assistive: Leave Accessibility to Us

    Make your Shopify Plus website fully accessible with our proven end-to-end solution. We make your website ADA/WCAG compliant, monitor, and maintain accessibility. This option takes care of all the heavy lifting, leaving your company free to focus on other aspects of business growth. Shopify Plus retailers such as Soludos and Heyday Skincare have found Assistive to be an invaluable solution.

    1. AQA: Empower Your Team

    Test, remediate, and monitor accessibility fast. AQA delivers your team a holistic view of your WCAG compliance and integrates with your existing tools.

    1. Accessibility as a Service

    We provide everything your team needs to meet the ADA and WCAG. Find out why merchants like UNTUCKit have chosen Accessibility as a Service.

    Contact UsableNet to discover which service is right for you.

    Interested in learning more?

    Our partnership with Shopify Plus is one of the many reasons we're proud to call ourselves an industry leader in digital accessibility. A partnership with UsableNet means full commitment to your Shopify website’s accessibility, now and in the future.

    We take pride in the fact that our work is quick, cost-effective, and, most importantly, maintained to support ongoing ADA compliance on today's ever-changing websites.

    Go to UsableNet's Shopify Page 

    Ready to take your Shopify store to the next level by ensuring your site’s full WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility? Contact us today and learn more about taking advantage of UsableNet’s expertise as a Shopify Plus Solutions Partner.

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