Over 1.7 million businesses from 175 countries trust Shopify to host their store. Even more, 10,000 brands use Shopify Plus, which their site calls “the only cost-effective enterprise platform that’s built for change.” Clearly, Shopify is doing something right when it comes to e-commerce.
Shopify provides a user-friendly foundation, yet if you are using Shopify, it's important to realize that additional work is nearly always needed to ensure an inclusive, ADA-compliant website.
At UsableNet, we've helped many companies as a Shopify Plus Accessibility Partner. We've compiled our 3 things to know and do around accessibility for your Shopify Plus website.
1. Take Responsibility for ADA Compliance
You may assume a Shopify site will have built-in accessibility for your e-commerce brand. This is a very common assumption. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. It is your company's responsibility to provide equal access to everyone. It's up to you to make sure the 1 in 4 Americans with a disability has an equal experience when using your e-commerce site.
Shopify strongly commits to its own accessibility plan and even offers some accessible templates. Yet, the help Shopify provides merchants is limited. Shopify does not ensure or check for ADA or WCAG compliance. Shopify does offer some assistance by recommending accessibility partners, who are experienced in working with Shopify vendors on accessibility, to guide you.
Taking web accessibility into your own hands can provide a huge opportunity for you to serve a massive demographic, 61 million Americans, that you may be missing out on now. Web accessibility builds brand integrity, enhances innovation, improves SEO, and can help you avoid ADA lawsuits. To learn more about the business case for web accessibility, check out this blog!
2. Understand the Legal Risks for Inaccessible E-commerce Websites
As part of the retail industry, Shopify brands are in the top targeted industry for digital ADA lawsuits. Last year, 78% of all digital accessibility lawsuits involved retailers, including those hosted on Shopify.
Not only that, but your e-commerce website is likely to receive multiple lawsuits. To learn more about why Shopify Plus companies are likely to be sued more than once, read our blog outlining some of the most common trends found by our UsableNet data team after reading through literally thousands of ADA-based lawsuits filed in federal court for digital accessibility.
With more and more businesses facing these serious ADA Compliance cases, like other Shopify merchants, you may be searching for ways to make your company website and apps more accessible. You can explore some of the most common accessibility issues cited in lawsuits by reading our comprehensive ADA lawsuit report.
3. Find a Shopify Plus Accessibility Partner
Chances are that if a business chooses to host their company site on Shopify, or any similar hosting site, there will be some extra work needed to tackle web accessibility. Don't know where to start or don't have the time to add accessibility to your company to-do list? If you're a Shopify Plus brand, you're in luck!
One of the perks for brands that use Shopify Plus is access to its renowned Shopify Plus Partner Program. This group is made up of more than 270 hand-picked partners that provide various Shopify services and solutions.
Shopify Plus Partners are divided between the categories of Service Providers and Certified App Partners. Accessibility compliance services are listed among the service providers with accompanying details including a firm's approach, case studies, and history.
Check out UsableNet's Shopify Plus page by clicking here!
An important thing for Shopify brands to note: don't waste your time with any automatic overlay or widget vendors. These options don't offer true accessibility and are getting sued in court at an alarmingly increasing rate. Instead, invest in your company’s future by using a Shopify Plus accessibility partner that offers a holistic, in-depth approach to digital usability.
Learn how to Make your Shopify Website Accessible
Want to learn more about designing accessible Shopify websites? Our simple ADA Compliance checklist outlines some easy steps that every Shopify Plus brand can take to achieve a fully compliant e-commerce store.
While you're here, consider UsableNet's ADA compliance strategies. As a certified Shopify Plus Solutions Partner, we have helped many Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants create fully accessible websites, including Ampro Industries, Pacha Soap, Hibbett Sporting Goods, Catrice Cosmetics, and more!