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Is online shopping accessible?

Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,013 Pioneering
edited December 2020 in Coffee lounge
Today is Cyber Monday, an annual event that follows Thanks Giving weekend and Black Friday, which is intended to encourage shoppers to do their shopping online.

Even before 2020, people didn't need much encouragement to do that, but after nearly 9 months of a global pandemic the appeal of online shopping has never been greater.

For disabled people, who have been disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus and are much more likely to be in a higher risk category and shielding, it is essential that online shopping is accessible and fit for purpose. 

Taking advantage of the Purple Pound

The Purple Pound refers to the spending power of households in which at least one occupant is a disabled person. The Purple Pound equates to an estimated £249 billion per year to the UK economy but yet very few businesses have direct strategies to tap into this consumer market and therefore a lot of that money goes unspent.

In fact, less than 10% of businesses in the UK have a strategy in place to utilise the spending power of those falling under the Purple Pound category. With approximately 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, and around 82% of the public regularly shopping online, you can start to see an emerging picture of a fundamental failing of the system to make accommodations for disabled people and their families.
5 pound bank note

Online shopping, is it accessible?

Being able to independently use the internet gives disabled people access to vital medical, travel and financial services. But also everyday services like grocery shopping and buying clothes online. And while the accessibility of online shopping has come a long way in recent years, and continues to evolve, there is still a long way to go. 

From my personal point of view, as a screen reader user, I find myself increasingly put off from doing my online shopping through a web browser on my laptop. I find that so many of the top websites these days, such as Amazon or eBay, have so many pop up graphics that interrupt the flow and focus of the screen reader, therefore turning what is supposed to be an enjoyable process into a rather tedious one. 
I much prefer to do my online shopping through an app on my phone, for the following reasons:
  • I generally find the mobile versions of shopping websites much more screen reader compatible
  • it is much more likely that there will be a dark mode option on a phone app
  • I find the zooming functionality easier on a phone, rather than a laptop
  • the condensed version of a shopping platform makes for much less clutter on a phone, and thus better navigation

The Big Hack by Scope has surveyed disabled people around the UK to find out about their experiences of online shopping, because one of the best ways to improve digital accessibility is to get feedback from those that good accessibility is there to benefit. 

When trying to find out what industries disabled shoppers experienced the most difficulty with, at the top of the list was groceries with 39% of respondents saying they experienced difficulty purchasing or ordering food or drink online. Train-booking websites were the second most common area, with 38% of users reporting difficulty using train travel services online. In third place, 36% of respondents reported poor digital experiences with clothing and footwear retailers.

It is thought that fewer than 1% of website homepages would meet current accessibility standards, and likewise that 97% of the largest websites out there would not be considered accessible. Let's have a think about just how many of those websites will be trying to sell something, a very high proportion I would imagine.

The Big Hack has also published data on what disabled customers are most likely to do when they are failed by a business online, the results are as follows:
  •  50% of respondents would not buy the item​ they are trying to get
  • 48% would find an alternative provider to buy the item more easily, such as a provider with a more accessible website.​
  • 32% would ask someone in their household to complete the purchase for them
  • 20% would do something else.

How accessible do you find online shopping?

Looking at this data, you would conclude that online shopping isn't accessible, nowhere near it, and when even large brands like Dominos have shown resistance to the concept of accessibility, it's clear there is still a very long way to go.
  • how do you like to carry out your online shopping?
  • are there any accessible websites you'd recommend, or contrarily any inaccessible ones you wouldn't?
  • is there a specific industry you think needs to do better?
  • How accessible do you find online shopping overall?
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Replies

  • Tizzy695Tizzy695 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    I shop on line for everything now as I am more or less house bound.It is a godsend!!! I am autistic with mobility problems and Agrophobia.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,013 Pioneering
    Thanks for the reply @Tizzy695

    I very much value online shopping as well, as you say when you don't or can't go out often at all it's such a useful tool to have, providing it is accessible.

    Do you have any favourite shops?
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  • Tizzy695Tizzy695 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    I know shopping at Amazon is frowned upon by many Abled  people but it is an absolute godsend to me as I can get all my shopping from one source,hasselfree
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,495 Scope community team
    I love Amazon! Revolutionised shopping for me.
    Scope
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

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  • Tizzy695Tizzy695 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Amazon is amazing! I buy anything from shoes to armchairs to a bolt to lock my door!!!Fuss free!!!
  • MrAllen1976MrAllen1976 Member Posts: 1,232 Pioneering
    I've done a LOT of online shopping during both lockdowns, there's deliveries for me most days from Amazon, eBay or wherever, in fact I've got Cyber Punk 2077 on Xbox coming from Game on Thursday.

  • LeelinkLeelink Member Posts: 14 Connected
    My only issue with online shopping is the minimum spend you have to do to qualify for delivery. For supermarkets its like £40. When you don't have that much or don't want to spend that much it seems unfair.
  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 6,249 Disability Gamechanger
    I do most of my shopping on line was a necessity when I was housebound. I can go out with assistance now so sometimes do go shopping . I have done all my xmas shopping on line this year and without it I think everyone would have just got vouchers

    I like amazon, sports direct, simply be, yours clothing 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,013 Pioneering
    Leelink said:
    My only issue with online shopping is the minimum spend you have to do to qualify for delivery. For supermarkets its like £40. When you don't have that much or don't want to spend that much it seems unfair.
    Yep, this is a big one. It's especially off putting when you sort of have to rely on online shopping, then the delivery fees end up being so high. 

    I love Amazon too, like everyone else here, and I think £20 is a decent threshold to qualify for free delivery
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  • MrAllen1976MrAllen1976 Member Posts: 1,232 Pioneering
    The most I've ever spent shopping at Tesco would be about £25 for a BIG shop, plus I live literally round the corner from the local one, so why should I pay delivery charges?

  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,013 Pioneering
    Same here @MrAllen1976, I live 200 seconds from ASDA and thankfully can get there and back safely, so shopping is a doddle :) 
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  • MrAllen1976MrAllen1976 Member Posts: 1,232 Pioneering
    Yeah and there's also an Aldi 10 minutes down the road.

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,780 Disability Gamechanger
    200 seconds is oddly specific @Ross_Scope...

    Aldi is my favourite supermarket @MrAllen1976
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,013 Pioneering
    I felt like counting one day @Tori_Scope, because I'm odd like that :) 
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,013 Pioneering
    edited December 2020
    The Festive Find present hunt

    image of the Christmas present for the festive find game
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 3,786 Disability Gamechanger
    @Ross_Scope

    That is the second present I've found.
  • Ami2301Ami2301 Community champion Posts: 7,014 Disability Gamechanger
    @Ross_Scope 4th present!
    Community Champion
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • chiariedschiarieds Community champion Posts: 6,337 Disability Gamechanger
    5th one....eventually found @Ross_Scope :)
  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 1,611 Pioneering
    I shop on amazon  and its great now because you can get shopping from morrisons on amazon now which is alot easier   my nearest town is five miles one way and 15 miles the other  and being on lockdiwn most of last year and still in lockfown helps alot 

    I also shop online at lush as I love my bath bombs  I also shop online at boots and argos  and Marks and Spencer  I love online shopping  as there is more choice I live in a village  so most people here shop in the same place  and prople have cloths the same it was funny one year we had a Xmas ball  and six people had the same dress 

    I did drive to town today  now I can drive again and got some bits and pieces  but I didnt like it iwas glad to get home  the world is a different place at the moment 
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