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How will the European Accessibility Act benefit eCommerce?

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How will the European Accessibility Act (EAA) benefit eCommerce?

How will the European Accessibility Act benefit eCommerce?

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) is a significant step in making goods and services more accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This legislation will profoundly impact the eCommerce sector, ensuring that digital shopping platforms are accessible to a broader audience. Additionally, it has far-reaching implications for global companies operating in European markets. By mandating accessibility across all digital platforms, the EAA compels local and international businesses to adapt, promoting a more inclusive, intuitive, and user-friendly shopping experience worldwide.

Here's how the EAA will reshape the online shopping experience both within the European regions and globally.

What is the European Accessibility Act (EAA)?

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) represents the European Commission’s strategy to address the issue of marginalization, aiming to create a more balanced environment. It’s a comprehensive piece of legislation designed to improve the accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities. This Act covers many areas, including eCommerce, requiring businesses to adapt their digital platforms to meet accessibility standards. The goal is to ensure that everyone has equal access to information, products, and services offered online.

In essence, the European Accessibility Act is a landmark piece of legislation that holds the promise of a more inclusive society. Its impact is far-reaching, offering benefits not only to individuals with disabilities but also to older people, those with temporary impairments, and, indeed, the broader community. By removing barriers and promoting accessibility, the EAA is a significant step forward in recognizing the rights and dignity of all individuals, ensuring that everyone has equal access to the opportunities that modern society offers.

The state of eCommerce for people with disabilities

Most people never think twice about using their phones or computers. But for the 135 million marginalized individuals living with disabilities in the European regions, what others take for granted is a daily struggle. They are often left behind, struggling to access the very tools and services that should make things more efficient for them and bring everyone closer.

eCommerce, at its core, was meant to close the gap between a bad shopping experience and a better one. However, according to Forbes, 65% of consumers with a disability felt their purchasing choices were limited due to accessibility issues, with 43% abandoning online or in-person shopping due to bad design and other accessibility-related failures.

Moreover, individuals with disabilities shop online twice as often as the general population. A survey reveals that 24% make digital purchases weekly, and 3% shop online daily. When it comes to their online shopping preferences, accessibility ranks highest, followed by product variety and price. In fact, 36% mentioned they would opt for a website that may not offer the lowest prices but provides better accessibility. Many others need help finalizing a purchase, with some even giving up on the transaction entirely.

And when faced with the need to abandon a transaction, people with disabilities are not silent. The same survey cites:

  • 20% will directly contact the company,
  • 11% will leave a review, and
  • 8% will voice their frustration on social media.

However, regrettably, these attempts to seek support and feedback are frequently brushed aside, remaining unheard, unanswered, and unresolved.

What the eCommerce sector overlooks is this crucial fact: disabled people worldwide wield a massive spending power. In the UK alone, individuals with disabilities contribute to an annual spending of £270 billion. On a global scale, the disabled community is believed to have a disposable income of $8 trillion a year, $13 trillion, including their friends and family. These statistics should motivate companies to comply with the EAA, enhancing their eCommerce websites, and embracing the movement towards accessibility.

Ignoring this demographic isn't just a missed opportunity; it's a costly mistake. Although specific fines for non-compliance are not set in stone, businesses still face potential financial penalties. More than that, failing to cater to this significant market segment means sidelining a vast group of potential customers and neglecting a robust market eager for inclusion.

Who benefits from the EAA?

The EAA is designed to support the estimated 80 million people in the European regions with some form of disability. These individuals often encounter obstacles in accessing products and services that many take for granted. From difficulties in using public transport to challenges in accessing digital platforms and services, the EAA seeks to make accessibility a standard, not an afterthought. This legislation mandates that services and products, including smartphones, computers, eBooks, and eCommerce platforms, are accessible to everyone, ensuring that people with disabilities can enjoy the same level of access.

More than physical disabilities

Beyond individuals with physical disabilities, the EAA also extends its benefits to those with sensory impairments, such as the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as individuals with visual impairments. For these groups, the Act means improved access to digital content, with requirements for subtitles, sign language, and audio descriptions becoming more commonplace. This opens up a world of information and entertainment that was previously less accessible, fostering a more inclusive society where information is available to all.

Elderly individuals stand to gain significantly from the EAA as well. As the population ages, a greater number of people will experience reduced mobility, vision, and hearing. In Germany alone, 44% of the overall population is above 50 years old. The accessibility requirements introduced by the EAA will make it easier for people to maintain their independence and continue to participate fully in society, from shopping online to accessing public services.

Moreover, the EAA extends its advantages to those with mental and learning difficulties, including ADHD and low literacy levels, as well as those with situational disabilities like an immobilized arm or temporary vision loss. Each encounters distinct obstacles in their daily activities and accessing information, highlighting the critical need for inclusive design and practices that accommodate a broad range of needs and spectrum.

When does the EAA take effect?

Scheduled to be implemented on June 28, 2025, the EAA provides businesses with a generous timeline to refine their operations, guaranteeing that their platforms become fully accessible to everyone. This deliberate pace facilitates a smooth transition, allowing for the step-by-step introduction of required adjustments. It ensures that every involved party has the opportunity to adequately prepare and adapt their services and products without the need to hasten through the process.

This systematic approach is critical to preserving the integrity and effectiveness of the accessibility improvements. It underscores a commitment to inclusivity, ensuring when the EAA comes into force, it brings about meaningful and well-integrated enhancements that benefit all users, particularly those with disabilities, thereby fostering a more inclusive digital environment.

5 benefits of the European Accessibility Act for eCommerce businesses

For eCommerce businesses, the EAA presents the following advantages:

  1. Increased audience: By making websites accessible, businesses can tap into a larger market segment, including one in four adults in the EU with disability. This expansion of the potential customer base can lead to increased traffic and, ultimately, more sales.

  2. Increased conversions: Accessibility features, such as alternative text for images and voice navigation, not only help those with disabilities but also enhance the overall user experience. A more navigable and user-friendly website attracts more visitors and encourages them to stay longer, increasing the likelihood of conversions. Companies prioritizing accessibility are poised to gain their share from the staggering $6.9B a year versus their competitors who are less accessible.

  3. Improved user experience and satisfaction: Enhancing the user experience leads to higher customer satisfaction. By removing accessibility barriers, not only do people with disabilities benefit, but the general population does too. Users are more inclined to revisit and recommend websites that are easy to use and accessible. This positive user experience can boost customer loyalty and bolster the brand’s reputation.

  4. Enhanced SEO: Search engines favor websites that are accessible to a broader audience. By complying with the EAA, eCommerce platforms can improve their search engine rankings, making their products and services more visible to potential customers.

  5. Positive brand image: Commitment to accessibility demonstrates corporate social responsibility, enhancing the brand's image. Companies prioritizing inclusivity are seen as more trustworthy and forward-thinking, attracting customers who value ethics and inclusivity.

How can organizations become compliant with the EAA?

Ensuring accessibility across all digital platforms, be it a comprehensive website, a simple landing page, or an online storefront, presents a significant challenge for businesses. It will not happen overnight. It demands the allocation of resources aimed at achieving compliance and, importantly, safeguarding the future viability of the business.

At the very least, businesses should think about investing in solutions that enable the following:

  • Enriching product information: In the online marketplace, poor product descriptions frequently result in lost sales. Beyond just missing out on sales, unclear and illegible product descriptions can also negatively impact a business’s reputation. Understandably, managing a large volume of product information is challenging but can be streamlined with a solution that enables centralized information enrichment.
  • Multi-channel distribution: One common oversight in achieving accessibility is focusing on making a single channel accessible while neglecting others. Both the disabled community and the broader public interact with a variety of channels and platforms. Encountering inconsistent information across multiple channels can be a significant deterrent. Implementing a solution that streamlines the sharing of enhanced product information and digital assets across diverse platforms is crucial for ensuring comprehensive compliance.
  • High-quality adaptive content: For accessibility purposes, it's crucial that high-resolution images and videos retain their clarity when magnified. This feature is vital for users who require enlarged content, bigger text sizes, or simplified layouts, as well as those who need the ability to easily adjust audio volume. Having a solution that simplifies the management of accessible multimedia content is essential to achieve this goal.
  • Compliance documentation: Keeping a detailed record of accessibility optimization efforts for assets, including when these modifications were made, is crucial for achieving EAA compliance. This documentation plays a key role in internal audits and in demonstrating adherence to the EAA standards. Utilizing a system that monitors the entire lifecycle of asset changes is essential for ensuring ongoing compliance and facilitates the adoption of new requirements with ease.
  • Feedback loop: Integrating feedback mechanisms enables businesses to consistently track and enhance accessibility based on user feedback. This continuous improvement cycle can be efficiently managed through solutions that offer built-in feedback management capabilities.

Furthermore, organizations need to focus on technical aspects and actively pursue accessibility by taking the following steps:

  • Conducting accessibility audits: The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) were established to guarantee accessibility of websites and digital content for individuals with various disabilities. Organizations can engage specialists to conduct in-depth accessibility audits of their eCommerce platforms following these guidelines. Such audits identify existing accessibility barriers, highlighting areas that need improvement to comply with EAA standards.
  • Implementing AI Solutions: Companies can use AI technology to create clear product descriptions, making information accessible to individuals with cognitive disabilities. Additionally, AI assists in automating the process of conducting accessibility checks and making necessary modifications.
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  • Updating websites and regular maintenance: Committing to accessibility requires ongoing dedication. Organizations should regularly update their websites to integrate new technologies and resolve new accessibility challenges, ensuring that their digital presence remains accessible and inclusive for all users, regardless of emerging trends or advancements in technology.

Non-compliance can pose serious consequences to an organization. Here are some possible implications of non-adherence to the EAA:

  • Damage to the brand reputation: Failure to comply not only damages a brand’s reputation, especially in the eyes of people with disabilities and their allies. It also shrinks their customer base and risks losing even their most loyal customers.
  • Lawsuits: Organizations can become vulnerable to legal action as users can file lawsuits against non-compliant companies. This further tarnishes a brand’s reputation.
  • Financial penalties: While not yet set, non-compliance can become a costly mistake for organizations.
  • Missed opportunities: The Act requires that all products be accessible to all; hence, businesses risk losing business opportunities by failing to adhere to the EAA.

How can Contentserv help ensure compliance?

Contentserv's Product Experience Cloud (PXC) is a powerful suite of cutting-edge tools designed to revolutionize how companies manage product information and deliver optimized experiences. With its advanced AI capabilities, PXC stands out as a valuable solution for businesses aiming to comply with the European Accessibility Act (EAA).

Here’s how:

Centralized workflows and automations

Contentserv’s experience-centric solution, Product Information Management (PIM), streamlines adherence to EAA requirements through centralized workflows and automations. Its component to manage high-quality data ensures that information is both accurate and up-to-date, accessible not only to individuals with disabilities but also to the wider public. This system ensures that compliance is not just met, but also maintained efficiently over time, reducing the manual workload and potential errors.

Rapid integration of new technologies

Contentserv's powerful integration features allow businesses to quickly adopt new technologies and seamlessly integrate accessibility tools and platforms into the PIM ecosystem. This integration ensures that individuals with disabilities can easily access and engage with product information through assistive technologies. Explore our Marketplace to discover a wide selection of AI-driven integrations and connectors, each designed to cater to various industry needs.

Quick implementation of new requirements

Contentserv facilitates the quick implementation of new requirements for specific product attributes and information needs. By ensuring that product information is consistently reliable, businesses can better serve all customers, including those with disabilities, thereby aligning with the EAA's goals. High data quality also improves decision-making and operational efficiency within the organization. This built-in flexibility allows businesses to respond to regulatory changes promptly, ensuring continuous compliance with the EAA, ultimately positioning businesses as leaders in accessibility and inclusivity.

Efficient channel supply

Contentserv streamlines the distribution of product content across diverse channels. Its multichannel publishing feature facilitates easy content management and distribution. By standardizing cross-channel product information enrichment through efficient data management and integration, Contentserv’s PIM system minimizes onboarding time for new products, reduces errors, and ultimately boosts team efficiency. This approach significantly eases the challenges associated with distributing product content across multiple channels, making it more accessible and compliant with EAA requirements.

Closed-loop insights for continuous optimization

Feedback collected from multiple channels helps businesses gain a deeper understanding of their customers' needs, allowing for the continuous refinement of their products and services. A common issue faced by individuals with disabilities is the neglect of their feedback and requests by many companies. By leveraging closed-loop insights, businesses can more accurately identify and cater to customer demands, enhancing their offerings for everyone. This approach not only maintains but can also boost sales by ensuring that products align with the diverse and changing expectations of their customer base.

Contextualized experiences

Contentserv's Product Experience Management (PXM) plays a crucial role in aligning with the EA by offering tailored product experiences that meet the diverse needs of all users, including those with disabilities. PXM focuses on the careful management and contextualization of product content across various channels, locations, and specific user requirements. This approach ensures that product information is not only accessible but also relevant and engaging to each individual, regardless of their accessibility needs.


With its AI capabilities, Contentserv's Product Experience Cloud offers a comprehensive solution for companies striving to comply with the European Accessibility Act. By automating accessibility checks, enhancing product descriptions, and ensuring continuous compliance, PXC enables organizations to create more inclusive and accessible digital experiences for all users.

Contentserv’s all-in-one Product Experience Cloud – for EAA

Use our AI-driven capabilities to ensure compliance with the European Accessibility Act (EAA).