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The importance of inclusivity in e-commerce

(Source: Supplied)

After dealing with a worldwide pandemic, offering a sense of community has never been more important. People feel isolated and alone, now more than ever.

Ensuring your e-commerce brand is catering to all genders, ethnicities, identities, abilities, races, and physical sizes is crucial to ensuring your business thrives. With the new wave of shoppers, expectations are at an all-time high. Here are a few ways your e-commerce brand can implement change.

Sizing

Sorry, we don’t stock your size… This is something we see all too often, especially in fashion. Offering a “one size fits all” mentality gets retail businesses nowhere. Customers lose trust in your product and also in your brand. Providing sizes for all walks of life can seem expensive and it might be, to begin with. The investment you make can increase your overall brand’s value in the long run. This goes for larger sizes and smaller ones too. A brand that chooses to only stock the “average” size may not make it at all in our modern society as “beauty standards” are slowly depreciating.

Representation & race

Marketing people with a completely airbrushed face and body is not an accurate depiction of what the majority look like and does not showcase representation in your brand. This creates unattainable beauty standards, which can be detrimental to young people’s mental health.

Real people want to see their clothing on real people. All races and ethnicities should be included in your products, campaigns, and marketing. This has been a detrimental issue for makeup brands with a limited range of products for POC. This has been making waves and we’ve seen a boom in product shades and options over the past couple of years.

Opt for more natural imagery that is not airbrushed or edited heavily. This can include showcasing acne, stretch marks, and blemishes. Making your customers feel seen can increase the chances of purchase, as they can envision themselves in or using your product.

Gender & queer inclusivity

Gendered clothing can be triggering for non-binary and genderqueer people. Do they opt for feminine or masculine clothing? Marketing your clothing to one gender can be detrimental to your business, so try and include everyone in your campaigns and in your online store imagery. Queer representation is important to make everyone feel seen. The LGBTQIA+ community should be able to shop online and feel that they are welcome on your site.

Language

Using inclusive language in your text can make everyone feel heard and comfortable. Have multiple gender options for signing up to EDMs and news. Don’t include gender filters; instead, use filters for the type of clothing provided. This can make a world of difference to a queer customer and can assist in tailoring options for repeat site visits. Avoid any form of offensive, stereotypical or condescending language. 

Accessibility

With an accessible and disability-friendly website, you can ensure everyone can find what they need. Using bold typeface with larger fonts and/or audio descriptions for vision impairments and captions to go along with videos for hearing impairments can make a world of difference to an online shopper.

Many people live with mobility issues and impairments. Making your styles and designs inclusive ensures your products are available for everyone to choose and wear. Making your products tactile or including embossed lettering can also assist customers in being happy with their product.

Limit the “noise” and busyness of your site by factoring in neurodivergent people who may be overstimulated by too many things. Making the page easy to navigate for people with dyslexia with keyboard-based navigation and the addition of search by voice and/or alt tags can change the overall shopping experience for someone.

Practice what you preach

Is your company inclusive from the office to your outreach? Starting with your team in ensuring everyone is respected and heard is an important part of your overall brand. If you’re preaching inclusivity within your online representation, you should be practising it in all aspects of your business.

Inclusivity is all about belonging and creating a sense of community. Ensure your customers and employees are happy and engaged by including every single one of them!

About the author: Ashley Hudson is CEO at Retail Global.