In today’s digital age, having an accessible eCommerce website is not only important for inclusivity and social responsibility, but it’s also a legal requirement. Websites must be accessible to people with disabilities per accessibility regulations. Non-compliance can lead to legal action and financial penalties. The eCommerce businesses must ensure their websites are accessible to all users.
Running a small eCommerce business? Pursuing federal contracts can expand the customer base and revenue. Qualifying can be daunting without familiarity with rules. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of qualifying for federal government contracts for your small eCommerce business. It includes the importance of accessibility compliance and how to fill out a VPAT template.
Register with the SAM
The first step in qualifying for federal government contracts is to register your business with the System for Award Management (SAM). This is the government’s central database of businesses that are interested in doing business with the government. To register, you’ll need to provide information about your business, including your tax identification number, and other relevant details. Once your registration is complete, the SAM will issue a Unique Entity ID to your business and you should be able to search for and apply for federal government contracts.
Accomplish a VPAT Template
One important aspect to consider when pursuing federal government contracts is accessibility compliance. The government requires that all products and services they purchase must meet certain accessibility standards. It is obligatory to ensure they can be used by people with disabilities. This is in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and requires that federal government agencies make their products and services accessible to people with disabilities.
To demonstrate your product’s accessibility compliance, you will need to fill out a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). A VPAT template evaluates product or service accessibility according to government standards. It helps the government assess compliance and determine if it meets accessibility requirements. Filling out a VPAT shows product accessibility, aiding qualification for federal contracts.
When filling out a VPAT template, it’s important to be thorough and accurate. You should provide detailed information about your product or service, including its features, functions, and compatibility with different devices and platforms. You should also describe any accessibility features or accommodations that your product offers, such as text-to-speech functionality, keyboard navigation, or color contrast options. It’s important to remember that the government takes accessibility compliance seriously, so it’s crucial that you provide accurate and detailed information on your VPAT template.
Provide proof of accessibility compliance
In addition to filling out a VPAT template, you may need to provide documentation of your product’s accessibility compliance. This could include test results from an accessibility testing company, documentation of your product’s compliance with relevant accessibility standards, or other relevant information. It’s important to review the government’s accessibility requirements carefully and provide all necessary documentation to demonstrate your product’s accessibility compliance.
Start applying for government contracts
Once you’ve completed your VPAT template and provided any necessary documentation, you can start applying for federal government contracts. One way to find contracts that are a good fit for your business is to search for contracts that are relevant to your industry or product. For example, if you sell computer software, you might search for contracts related to software development or IT services. You can also search for contracts based on the size of the contract, the location of the contract, or other relevant factors.
When applying for contracts, it’s important to pay close attention to the application requirements and deadlines. If you don’t meet the deadline or don’t provide all the necessary information, you could be disqualified from consideration. Additionally, you should review the contract carefully and ensure that your application meets all of the requirements before submitting it.
Keep your website compliant with accessibility regulations
If you’re awarded a federal government contract, congratulations! However, it’s important to remember that meeting the government’s accessibility requirements is an ongoing process. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and other accessibility regulations are in a state of constant change. You’ll need to continue to monitor and improve the accessibility of your product and ensure that everyone can access your website as well.
Make your eCommerce Website Accessible Conclusion
Accessibility is not only a legal requirement, it’s also a way to demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility. Using these guidelines and best practices, you can make your website compliant with accessibility regulations and provide a positive user experience. By implementing assistive technology and providing alternative text for images, your eCommerce website can be made more accessible. By prioritizing accessibility, you can create a more inclusive and welcoming digital storefront that meets the needs of all users.