Accessibility will be at the core of a new online marketplace when it launches next year. EnableAll will take an accessible-first approach, designed around the needs of disabled people while connecting sellers across industries with customers.
Mike Adams, chief executive of Purple – the organisation which runs Purple Tuesday in the UK to raise awareness of the needs of online shoppers – came up with the idea for the marketplace. He says: “Disabled people simply want to be able to access the online market in the same way as everyone else, and although change is happening, it’s not fast enough. The beauty of building a marketplace from scratch is that we are not tinkering around the edges of an existing behemoth, we’ve pressed fast forward and can launch with a product that is built around the needs of disabled people.
“EnableAll is ready to challenge the status quo, to disrupt the online market and, through demonstrating the art of the possible, encourage more businesses to consciously choose to include everyone. We remain passionate about supporting organisations to improve their own accessibility – now we are also excited to invite them to join us on this journey and unlock the benefits EnableAll will provide.”
The site will feature in-built solutions that are designed to work with any assistive technology that individuals use. It will feature screen readers, magnification software alongside tools that support those with mobility issues or colour blindness. It is set to launch internationally early next year, and merchants are invited to register their interest in selling on the marketplace now.
A poll carried out for last month’s Purple Tuesday found that UK businesses lost out on an estimated £412m at the peak of the pandemic because their websites were inaccessible. Purple estimates the combined spending power of disabled people and their families at £274bn in the UK alone – but says that only 3% of the top one million websites meet international accessibility standards.
Kevin Cooper, managing director of EnableAll, says: “Fifty seven percent of global online sales take place in a marketplace environment every year. Today online accessibility remains poor, and shopping online is no exception. EnableAll provides the opportunity for merchants to connect with and sell to a currently excluded audience, unlocking the spending power of millions of people whilst building their wider brand through demonstrating social awareness. Disabled people will be able to browse, compare and buy with confidence, knowing that their needs have been catered for from the outset. EnableAll will deliver fully inclusive ecommerce and I’m very excited to be part of this journey.”
News of the marketplace comes on the International Day of People with Disabilities and was announced at a reception in the UK Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020. Laura Faulkner UK commissioner general and director, Expo 2020, says: “I am delighted that with EnableAll the UK is innovating and setting standards for businesses to follow and that this is being launched at Expo 2020 Dubai where the world has come together to develop solutions for the future. Ensuring online sites and services are accessible for all presents a huge business opportunity for organisations to reach new customers around the world.”
The site is backed by the digital technology division of social care provider CareTech.