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E-Commerce Checkout Usability

69% of all e-commerce visitors abandon their shopping cart. Why?

After months of user testing and research, the most significant usability study on e-commerce checkouts is ready.

We’ve tested 15 of the biggest e-commerce sites and boiled it all down to 63 actionable guidelines that will help you get the lowest possible shopping cart abandonment rate.

E-Commerce Checkout Usability Report
“It's a very useful study.”

Geoff Canyon, Director of Product Management at Answers.com

  1. 63 actionable design guidelines divided into 6 categories.
  2. 41 user quotes illustrating what customers think as they abandon the checkout.
  3. 423 screenshots showing you concrete usability issues and solutions.
  4. 7 case studies of real life examples illustrating what works and what doesn’t.
  5. 192 print-optimized pages exploring the customer’s checkout experience.
  6. A convenient checklist for you to use when implementing the guidelines.
  7. Online review tool for assessing your own site(s) across the 63 usability guidelines.
  8. Benchmark database with checkout reviews of the top 100 sites.

Slide through the report

“Great UX report on checkout forms/process we have used in a few audits recently.”

Chuck Longanecker, Founder of UX studio Digital Telepathy

Is your checkout better than Apple’s, Zappos’, or Walmart’s?

The findings in this report are based on our own original research study. A group of users in the age range of 20‐58 were recruited to test the checkout user experience on 15 of the largest e‐commerce websites. The tested checkout steps range all the way from "shopping cart" to "completed sale" – the entire checkout process.

In total, the test subjects encountered more than 500 usability issues during the study. These 500+ usability issues have been distilled into 63 checkout user experience guidelines, each marked with a "severity" and "frequency" factor – providing you with concise design guidelines that will help you improve the performance of your checkout process.

Tested sites: 1-800-Flowers, AllPosters, American Apparel, Amnesty Shop, Apple, HobbyTron, Levi’s, NewEgg, Nordstrom, Oakley, Perfume.com, PetSmart, Thomann, Walmart, and Zappos.

“The report is based on facts and includes many pragmatic, fully tested and easily implementable actions.”

Tom Wilson, President of The CareGiver Partnership

Table of contents

  1. Introduction 6 pages
  2. Guideline categories:
    1. Data input 35 pages 15 guidelines on data validation, input formatting, form field types, etc. + Perfume.com case study
    2. Copywriting 21 pages 8 guidelines on form field labels, button naming, contextual words, etc. + PetSmart.com case study
    3. Layout 41 pages 15 guidelines on page structure, text formatting, security badges, etc. + Walmart.com case study
    4. Navigation 21 pages 8 guidelines on drop-down carts, checkout steps, breadcrumb links, etc. + AllPosters.com case study
    5. Flow 19 pages 7 guidelines on proceed buttons, data comparison, proximity, etc. + Nordstrom.com case study
    6. Focus 28 pages 10 guidelines on account registration, cross-selling, coupon codes, newsletter, etc. + Zappos.com case study
  3. Getting started:
    1. Apple.com checkout case study 6 pages
    2. Checkout usability checklist 4 pages
  4. Methodology, authors, etc. 6 pages
“Best checkout report I've read to date.”

Rikard Stolz, E-Commerce Optimization Manager

Benchmark & Review Tool

Based on the findings from the research study we’ve benchmarked the checkout processes of the top 100 grossing e-commerce sites in the US. This has lead to the most comprehensive e-commerce checkout database in the world with 508 checkout steps reviewed, 975 screenshots, and 3,000+ examples of the 63 checkout usability guidelines presented in the report.

When you purchase the checkout usability report you also get full access to this interactive database. It is fully integrated with the report so you have the top 100 e-commerce sites as concrete examples and inspiration for how to implement each checkout usability guideline.

Furthermore the benchmark database include tools that allow you to review your own (or your clients’) checkout process and see how it stacks up against the competition.

“.. Worth every dollar. It's well done, good looking and simply very useful.”

Jan Jursa, curator of IATV and the UX Storytellers book

Compared to other industry reports

eConsultancy Checkout Optimization Guide Baymard Institute E-Commerce Checkout Usability Nielsen Norman Group E-Commerce User Experience
Pages: 66 pages 192 pages 2,140 pages
Guidelines: 70 guidelines 63 guidelines 874 guidelines
Source: Author’s thoughts User testing User testing
Benchmark: No Yes, 100 sites reviewed No
Review tool: No Yes, interactive auditing tool No
Price: $300 $150 $996
Refund: No Yes, 14 days full refund No
“Thank you for your great work - compact, insightful and helpful!”

Holger Maasen, Information architect and owner of IAMA.de

Get your report now

Get your copy of this report instantly delivered as a PDF file for $150, and start lowering your shopping cart abandonment rate at only $2.4 per actionable usability guideline.

Get Report & Benchmark

Refund policy: We stand by our research and offer you a full 14 days “no questions asked” refund. If you’re not satisfied, simply e-mail us at christian@baymard.com for a full refund.

Report details

  • Title: E-Commerce Checkout Usability
  • Authors: Jamie Appleseed, Christian Holst
  • ISBN: 978-87-994365-2-1
  • Published: June 2013
  • Delivery: Instant PDF-download (DRM-free), 35mb
  • Content: 192 pages, 63 guidelines

Benchmark details

The benchmark database has four components:

  • Review: Interactive checklist for reviewing your own sites
  • Guidelines: 63 usability guidelines with examples from the 100 benchmarked sites
  • Top 100: The checkout processes of the top 100 grossing e-commerce sites
  • Step type: Navigate the checkout processes by type of checkout step

Report license

The report and Baymard Pro account are intended for internal use - for you and your team.

You and your team are allowed to both print and digitally distribute the report to employees within your own organization (i.e. within the same legal entity), as long as it is not accessible to anyone outside it.

We trust our customers, so all reports we sell are unrestricted – this means that no DRM or other restrictive technologies are used.


Research is conducted and published by Baymard Institute, and written by its two founders:

  • Christian Holst – User experience engineer with a master's degree from the Technical University of Denmark. He has worked with designing user experiences in both the hearing aid and the credit card industry before co-founding Baymard Institute 2009.
  • Jamie Appleseed – Has a decade's worth of work experience designing and coding websites, with a focus on user experience. He has worked as lead developer on numerous web projects at web agency Spoiled Milk before co-founding Baymard Institute in 2009.

Baymard Institute’s research is used by:



“Excellent check-out usability benchmark of the world's top 100 grossing e-commerce sites from Baymard Institute http://t.co/oIqCZ5Sb”

“This is very, very useful! Let me check what we can do to improve the usability in the Smashing Shop.


“@OptimiseOrDie @paulrouke Best checkout resource has to be from the Baymard Institute guys: http://t.co/38LO0dG4”

“I can not tell you how much help your benchmark studies have been for our company, e-commerce and UX teams. We have used and continue to use these reports for baseline benchmarks as we build test protocols or eye tracking scripts etc in lab.


“Just read through all 144 pages of the @Baymard E-Commerce checkout usability report. Amazing stuff, very helpful. http://t.co/tPcbHKFm”


“This #ecommerce checkout guide is worth every penny. Highly recommended. #cro http://t.co/FPVAYDr1”

“These reports are fabulous. The content is exactly what our team has been looking for, and so much more! Extremely helpful, thank you!

“I just purchased your E-Commerce Checkout Usability guide today and it is fantastic. I will certainly be recommending it to my friends in the E-Commerce industry [...]

“I have found the M-Commerce and E-Commerce reports very useful, thank you!

“Really good rundown on all these thing. I definitely think we got a lot of value out of it, and we’re excited to get it all in and do some A/B testing on this.

“We implemented the majority of your checkout recommendations and a/b tested most of them, in every instance your recommendation provided the catalyst for us to make an improvement. Your approach and methodology has proven itself to be valuable. Now, when a new report comes out from your office we just buy it right away.

“It is immensely valuable having a thorough, independent study to help validate my work and in particular, help facilitate buy-off from stakeholders. Baymard has quickly become one of my most trusted resources for the UX/UI field.


“The state of #eCommerce checkout design 2012 (via @smashingmag): http://t.co/YaGKoteV #UX”

“It's a very useful study.


“Great UX report on shopping cart checkout forms/process we have used in a few audits recently. http://t.co/vkpeYOAS”

“I am just thrilled by this study, it's helped me in the construction of my online store checkout. All points in this study make incredible sense, and I cannot help but incorporate all of these suggestions. Incredible.


“A very useful guide to compare your checkout to the top 100 e-Commerce retailers. http://t.co/Bigqetps”

“I wanted to write you a note to tell you how much I've gotten out of the Usability Benchmark I bought this Summer. We often get asked to for help with checkout usability and I often refer people your way. Keep up the great work!


“Love Baymard's Checkout Usability Report, http://t.co/zPb64Auk. A must read for E-Comm UX teams.”


“Usability research: 'E-Commerce Checkout Usability. Exploring the user's checkout experience' Great! http://bit.ly/gu9MlU (baymard.com)”

“I love the information that you guys provide and have bought a couple of reports. Love them.


“If you are a User Experience Designer and have not read this report on check out form usability, than you should http://t.co/tdw0CKjY #UX”


“Geeking Out: “E-Commerce Checkout Usability” by Baymard Institute… I loves me some UX insights—http://t.co/GXxos8K3Nt | @Baymard”


“Comprehensive #usability benchmark of Top 100 Grossing E-commerce sites by @Baymard http://t.co/96SZ71Yv .. love the visual navigation”


“Must read for merchants & designers: The State Of #ECommerce Checkout Design 2012 http://t.co/bHiSUFko via @smashingmag”


“designing a checkout experience? This is one of the coolest resource I've seen: http://t.co/CB1X2GTY”


“RT @Vjeux: Screenshots of top 100 e-commerce UIs from carts to payments. Very informative http://t.co/Q9lBOWWb”


“'At least 59% of potential web shoppers abandon their shopping cart.' Another reminder of the need for user testing. http://bit.ly/dNvk9b”


“Wowsers, this is quite a list. RT @userfocus: A great resource for e-commerce checkout patterns http://t.co/oegZsyxu”


“WOW! A #usability benchmark of the top 100 grossing #ecommerce sites, with 500+ checkout steps reviewed http://t.co/k5Qg1Gql”


“after benchmarking checkouts for a couple of hours last week... this resource is magical http://t.co/ISKOfyGE”


“A great resource for e-commerce checkout patterns http://t.co/izns3qFS”


“Some really good information about UX and shopping cart systems http://t.co/SnqlZwyu”


“E-Commerce Checkout Usability. Double GGood. @Baymard http://t.co/yHZajLdU”


“59% of online shoppers abandon their cart. Imagine if that happened in physical stores! Usability research available: http://bit.ly/iarZXD”

“I've already made good use of your study. I found it to be well done, well structured [..] So thanks a lot!

“I must say that I have enjoyed reading your checkout study. It has some great tips which we will be applying to our own business.

“Great piece of work! I have referred to it dozens of times in the last few weeks as we're building a new cart.

“I like your checklist very much it helped very well in optimization projects.

“Every 10 years or so comes a report on usability for e-commerce sites that is really worth buying.

“The purchase price of this guide is absolutely nothing compared to the benefits you'll get!

“I think your report is excellent.

“We purchased your wonderful e-commerce usability report and it is in fact very useful to our current work and research.

“We have been very impressed with your work on the Checkout Usability report. [... Our] 4.0 release will include many of your useful guidelines.

“An invaluable e-commerce tool that is easy to read and full of practical suggestions. It impressed our digital team so much that our entire checkout experience has been designed using the 63 suggested guidelines. If you sell online, your business should be reading this study.

“I really enjoy what you guys do. I bought your guide over a year ago to help a large website I consult to improve their checkout.

“Thank you for your great work - compact, insightful and helpful!

“Best checkout report I've read to date.

“The report is based on facts and includes many pragmatic, fully tested and easily implementable actions.

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