Author: 22 Mar 2023minutes read
Baymard Institute, an independent web research institute focusing on ecommerce usability and optimization, has been assessing ecommerce websites since 2009, and has compiled a vast benchmark database that contains almost 200 different leading ecommerce websites, more than 215,000 ecommerce user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) elements, and over 140,000 best- and worst-practice implementation examples.
Focusing on leading ecommerce sites, Baymard researchers discovered that a site can achieve a good overall UX performance by providing a good experience across 4-5 areas of the site (homepage, on-site search, product listing pages, etc.) and only a mediocre experience in 2 or 3 areas. At the same time, providing a poor experience across even 1 or 2 areas will make it almost impossible to reach a ‘perfect’ level of overall UX performance.
According to these findings, the best way for most ecommerce sites to reach a high level of UX performance is to assess the entire user experience holistically and address all major UX obstacles across all areas based solely on UX impact (rather than trying to seek perfection within a specific area).
Ensuring that this baseline is covered is no easy feat, and Baymard Institute has established over 650 individual guidelines that should be reviewed to ensure that any user is well supported when interacting with any given website.
For a research report, commissioned by Buy with Prime and Amazon Pay, Baymard Institute has observed over 110,000 hours of large-scale usability testing to highlight eight UX optimizations you can implement for your website in 2023.
Here are three ways you can improve a shopper’s overall experience:
During Baymard Institute’s testing of direct-to-consumer (DTC) and other sites, it observed that users rely heavily on homepage content to inform their holistic understanding of the site and brand.
Users were quick to assume the homepage would preview everything important about the brand and its products. During testing, when users felt the homepage lacked enough detail about key product or brand information — essentially, when the homepage failed to effectively highlight why the brand and its products were special — users quickly lost interest in the brand and were more likely to abandon the site.
When testing these sites, 62% of users at some point engaged with non-product and non-order related content (information found on pages titled “About Us”, “Our Story”, “Our Process”, and so on). Providing pages dedicated to this type of content helps users “get to know” the site and is often a critical part of their decision to purchase from a particular site.
Testing also revealed that “going the extra mile” and providing a handful of such supplementary pages will help users “fill in the story” about a particular site, to the point where they get more comfortable with purchasing from the brand.
When arriving on a new or unfamiliar ecommerce site, users can easily be overwhelmed with where to begin browsing products. On these sites, new users often need an overview of the available product range as well as additional guidance towards where to begin exploring and which products will be the most promising.
During testing, Baymard Institute saw that navigating to a “Best Sellers” category was a popular way to begin browsing the product catalog: 23% of users on sites that offered a “Best Sellers” category used it, often as their first navigational choice from the homepage.