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EDITORIAL Calling for action: accessible websites, rethinking stores and sustainability

Sustainability is good for business (Image: Shutterstock)

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on a series of issues – from accessibility to sustainability – that retailers are set to benefit from, as long as they take action. 

We report on findings that UK retailers and others with inaccessible transactional websites have missed out more than £411bn that disabled people had to spend – and didn’t – during the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. That’s according to research from Purple, the company behind Purple Tuesday. The annual event this year takes place today to celebrate the commitments that businesses have made towards improving the customer experience for disabled people. eBay, which supports Purple Tuesday, has advice on practical ways for retailers to make their websites more accessible. 

Website – and store – accessibility are both issues to consider as a greater proportion of shopping takes place online. Today we report on Retail Economics predictions that the UK clothing sector will next year become the first apparel sector in Europe to see more than half of its sales take place online. It says in a new report that retailers with stores should act now in order to woo shoppers back to stores, with multichannel collection and returns services, trying clothes on and digital in-store all good ways to do that. 

And we report as a new study suggests that fewer shoppers are now concerned about the impact of ecommerce on the environment, while 26% don’t care. Sendcloud, which commissioned the study, says retailers need to explain to customers why green delivery options matter. has now raised more than £1.7m for UK independent booksellers, a year on from launch. The platform first launched in the US to safeguard independent retailers there at a time when in-store shopping was shutting in Covid-19 lockdowns – before opening in the UK. 

Analysis from the IMRG suggests that shoppers will spend as much as 10% less over the Black Friday period than they did last year. It also suggests more Black Friday events will start earlier than they did last year, with the week before Black Friday becoming the most likely week to launch, although the day itself will still be a peak for spending. 

In today’s guest comment, Alex Dal Canto of Acquia argues that the employee experience is key to retail success. 

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