What are the top 40 UX improvements for your Direct-To-Consumer website? How does your UX performance compare to other large or niche DTC sites?
Based on the findings from Baymard Institute’s 110,000+ hours of User Experience (UX) research, Baymard will conduct a UX audit of your Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) e-commerce website.
The in-depth DTC UX audit will be based on 400+ weighted UX parameters uncovered during our large-scale UX testing of Direct-To-Consumer websites. The DTC UX audit will provide you with:
Learn more about our Direct-to-Consumer UX audit analysis, deliverables, and costs in the 5 sections below:
A full UX analysis and assessment of your desktop and mobile websites — conducted every year by lead UX researchers at Baymard Institute, utilizing Baymard’s more than 110,000+ hours of large-scale UX research.
7 detailed UX scorecards with 400+ UX performance scoring parameters, used for direct UX performance comparison against 36 DTC websites. In addition, you will also get a UX comparison to 197 top-grossing US and European e-commerce sites, to benchmark how your site stacks up to general user expectations.
The auditors will write a detailed 120+ page report with 40 suggestions for UX improvement. Each suggestion includes a description of the identified user experience issue along with a proposed solution and 2–4 best practice examples from other DTC sites.
A 2-hour video conference where we go over the audit results with you and your team, to discuss the findings and suggestions for improvements.
12 follow-up calls with your UX auditor after delivering the UX audit findings. For feedback on any redesigns you create, a light review of prototypes, questions, etc.
A detailed Year-Over-Year UX performance comparison to past audits – documenting your UX progress, and showing how you stack up to the competition and to user’s increasing expectations, every year.
Your whole organization gets annual complimentary access to Baymard Premium with full access to Baymard’s 110,000+ hours of UX research findings, UX certification, etc. (normally $2600/year).
The audit will cover the following areas of your online user experience:
Homepage — The homepage structure, design, carousels, personalization, and promotions.
Category Taxonomy — The overall e-commerce category structure and taxonomy, includes the common issue of “over-categorization”, information architecture, catalog breadth, category redundancy, overly deep or shallow categories, industry-specific naming, etc.
DTC Main Navigation — The main navigation design from a DTC perspective, product navigation and its visual hierarchy, courtesy non-product navigation, etc.
Site-Wide Layout — Site-wide layouts, footers, newsletter dialogs, ad positioning, and return policy links, etc.
Query Types — The level of compliance with 12 different overarching types of search queries that users make on e-commerce sites, all vital for your search engine to support (Exact, Product Type, Feature, Thematic, Relational, Compatibility, Symbol, Subjective, Symptom, Implicit, Non-Product, and Natural Language). How and what product data is actually searched.
Search Form & Logic — The design and behavior of the search field itself, query persistence, manual and automatic search scope selection, special characters, etc.
Autocomplete — How the autocomplete feature (“predictive search”) should be designed, the types of suggestions it should make, keyboard behavior support, suggesting scopes and products, etc.
Results Logic & Guidance — How to guide users toward better paths on the results page, including suggesting alternate queries, scopes, “No results” pages, misspellings, etc.
Results Layout — The layout and features of the search results page, such as dynamic list layouts, the search results information, search snippets, pagination, etc.
Results Filtering & Sorting — Filtering and sorting of search results, including essential filtering types, faceted search, the design and logic for long lists of filters, filter naming, dynamic sorting, etc.
List Layout — The design and features of the overall layout of the product list, includes “list” vs. “grid” layouts, product data consistency, post-processing vendor-supplied data, “responsive upscaling” of product lists, etc.
Loading Products — The loading schema for new items loaded into the product list, number of products displayed by default, etc.
List Items: What Information to Include — The type and amount of product attributes to include in each list item, product variations in list items, user ratings averages in list items, etc.
List Items: User Interface — The styling and display of the included information such a price, product specifications, variations, units, etc.
List Items: Product Thumbnails — The type of product thumbnails in each list item, what they depict, their size, hover-enabled thumbnails, showing packaging, etc.
List Items: Hover & Hit Areas — The list item’s click behavior, hover effect synchronization, “quick view” features, dynamic amount of content on hover, etc.
List Items: Personalization — Context-aware thumbnails, personalized list item and product attributes, highlighting of items, etc.
Filtering: Available Filters — The type, amount, and specificity of filters users need, incl. thematic filters, product-specific filters, compatibility filters, symptom filters, product status filters, gifting filters, user-defined filters, price filters, etc.
Filtering: Scope & Logic — Filtering logic, scope, and naming schemas, such as over-categorization, mutually exclusive filtering values and non-exclusive values (“AND” “OR” logics), filtering tooltips, filter names, filter value consistency, dynamically renaming filters, etc.
Filtering Interface & Layout — Filtering type’s and filtering value’s styling, placement, filter truncation, incl. handling filtering values with 0 matches, filter value checkbox and link styling, the display sequence for filtering values, slider interfaces, etc.
Filtering: Applying & Applied Filters — “Apply” buttons and live updating as filters are applied, the position and styling for applied filtering values, browser history, filter and sorting persistence, etc.
Sorting — The default sort type, diversity in sorting logic, the sorting interface and scope, alphabetical sorting, category-specific sort types, sorting directions, sorting naming, the scope of the sorting tool, labeling of the sorting interface, dead-end sorting options, logic for customer rating sorting, etc.
Product Page Layouts — “Horizontal Tabs”, “Sticky TOCs”, “Collapsed Sections”, “One Long Page”, etc.
Product Images — How users inspect product images, the 7 different image types e-commerce sites need, number of images, etc.
Image Gallery User Interface — Image gallery design, image navigation, methods of zoom, carousels, overlays, default image and size, etc.
The “Buy” Section — Design and position of elements such as “Add to Cart” button, prices and discounts, quantity field, etc.
Shipping, Returns, & Gifting — Shipping and returns information at the product page, “Free Shipping” tiers, and “Find in Store” features.
Product Variations — Selecting color and size variations, content across variations, product customizations and personalizations.
Product Description — Product information and descriptions, the type of content needed, text styling, sub-titles, product headlines, etc.
Product Specifications Sheet — Spec sheet layout, specs in tables vs. product descriptions, help features, post-processing of vendor data, etc.
User Reviews — (If applicable) User reviews, the review submission form, review filtering, sorting and navigation, rating distribution summaries, etc.
Auxiliary Content — Q&A/FAQs, social media tools, and expert-generated content.
Cross-Sells & Cross-Navigation — Cross-sells design, placement, and logic, cross-navigation elements, “Recently Viewed Products”, etc.
Shopping Cart & “Added to Cart” Behavior — Shopping cart design, quantity, and save features, as well as the page-response when users add products to the cart (drop-down cart, etc.)
Account Selection & Creation — Account selection designs and communication, guest checkout, “Delayed Account Creation”, social media accounts, password rules, etc.
Customer & Address Information — Privacy concerns, shipping addresses, billing addresses, international addresses, phone fields, address auto-detection techniques, etc.
Shipping & Store Pickup — Shipping interface design and information hierarchy, shipping descriptions, order cut-off times, and “Free Shipping” tiers, along with omni-channel features such as Store Pickup, Store Availability, and Ship to Store.
Payment Flow & Methods (includes Third-Party) — The payment methods interface, how to integrate and display third-party payment options, gift card redemption flows, international currencies, coupon codes, etc.
Credit Card Form — The credit card field design and its validation logic and formatting, along with the expiration date, security code, and cardholder name inputs, field sequence, card icons, and card type selection.
Order Review — Review step design, “Place Order” button placement, and necessary review data, along with its editing flow.
Order Confirmation & E-Mail (to the extent it’s possible to access this) — The information and actions needed on the order confirmation page, along with the order confirmation e-mail.
Checkout Page Design — Checkout process steps, “Enclosed Checkout” designs, order summary sidebars, and how to design and position the cart link in the site-wide header.
User Attention & Interactions — Load indicators, feedback on user actions, the use of overlays, feedback requests, introduction of site-specific features, and embedded content from third-parties.
Cross-Sells — Active vs. passive cross-selling, adapting cross-sells to user context, and pitfalls of specific placements and wording.
Form Design & Features — How to design and position the primary button, “Apply” buttons, minimizing form intimidation, multi-column layouts, tabbing flows, CAPTCHAs, back-button and enter-keystroke behavior.
Validation Errors & Data Persistence — How to design and position error messages, how to word them, and persisting data in non-secure and secure form fields, along with inline validation.
Address Validators — When address validations are necessary, “Force-Proceeding” through address validators, along with address validator design and logic.
Field Labels & Microcopy — Marking optional and required fields, field label position, tooltips, and optimizing microcopy and descriptions.
Field Design & Features — How to match the type of interface with the input type, drop-downs and radio button implementations, input masks and character restrictions, custom designed input fields, etc.
Default Values & Autocompletion — Intelligent form features, including inferred selections, pre-fills, auto-fills, and personalization of the checkout flow.
‘My Account’ Sign-In — Account sign in, including password reset and account lockouts, “Soft” sign in, automatic sign out, and where users should be sent after signing in.
‘My Account’ Drop-Down — Placement of the “My Account” drop-down menu, account features to include, how the “My Account” drop-down should be structured and styled, personalization, and what “My Account” drop-down implementations should be avoided.
‘My Account’ Dashboard — Providing paths to all ‘My Account’ features, highlighting recent orders, limiting ads, and using icons; dashboard designs that use a sidebar or “Cards “for navigation.
‘My Account’ Stored Addresses, Cards, and Newsletters — Credit card updating flow, default addresses, editing vs. adding a new address, newsletter frequency and “unsubscribe “, confirmations, and ‘Apply’ buttons.
Mobile Basics — Content and structure of mobile site vs. desktop site, size and spacing of hit areas, multiple hit-areas within the same visual element, font-sizes, landscape mode, bugs and quirks vulnerable to the mobile platform, auto-zoom, etc.
Mobile Site Homepage & Main Navigation — Main navigation design and logic, double-hit area issues, homepage structure and design, auto-rotating carousels, etc.
Mobile Search — User’s crossover from category navigation to search, search scopes, misspellings and synonyms, search query support, “No results” pages, Faceted Search filters, etc.
Mobile Product Lists — List item size, product thumbnail size relative to product type, amount of product attributes in list items, hit areas within the product list, separation of list items, pagination vs. load more vs. endless scrolling, visual indicators, product variations, list item interactions on a touch screen, etc.
Mobile Filtering & Sorting — Styling and position of both “filter” and “Sort” options, sort types, “apply” buttons vs. auto-applying filtering values, the display of applied filters, information scent, product status, filtering interface, etc.
Mobile Cross-Navigation & Compatibility — Interlinking of compatibility-dependent products, cross-sells, list item consistency, etc.
Mobile Product Page Layouts — Product page structure, sub–product pages, collapsed product page sections, user reviews, “add to cart” button placement, “Store Pickup”, etc.
Mobile Product Images — Product image size, product image zoom levels, image ambiguity, touch gestures in the image gallery, etc.
Mobile Product Descriptions, Specs, & Compatibility — Division of product info between description and spec list, styling of product description, amount and level of specs included, product compatibility information and relationships, etc.
Mobile Shopping Cart — Cost estimates, number and placement of “checkout” buttons, saving mobile carts, picking up mobile carts on desktop devices, etc.
Mobile Checkout Steps — Account creation and guest checkout, shipping and billing addresses, shipping methods, “Store Pickup”, payment, order review, linear checkout flows, mobile process steps, etc.
Mobile Checkout UX — Optional vs. required fields, minimizing number of fields, form field label placement in smartphone portrait and landscape modes, inline labels, floating labels, grouping checkout info for mobile overview, field context, location detection, touch keyboard auto-correct, optimized keyboards, auto-capitalization, etc.
In addition to auditing your site UX and comparing it to 36 DTC e-commerce sites in our benchmark database (Adidas, L.L. Bean, American Eagle, Marks & Spencer, Nike, H&M, GAP, Victoria’s Secret, Ann Taylor, Gucci, Van Cleef & Arpels, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, TAG Heuer, Apple, Bang & Olufsen, HP, Dell, IKEA, Disney Store, Thermo Fisher, Hitachi, along with Fromourplace.com, Snowehome.com, Backdrophome.com, Awaytravel.com, Everlane.com, Aninebing.com, Fitbit.com, Gopro.com, Harrys.com, Smiletwice.com), we can also expand the project scope to include a custom competitive audit against any local or direct DTC competitor(s) you’d like. This is available for sites in most countries and languages.
Most commonly, our UX audit services are used by:
Even the smallest improvement in conversion rate for any site with significant sales will lead to a notable return on investment. For example, an improvement from 3.1% to 3.6% in conversion rate for a site with $50,000,000 annual sales will yield $8,060,000 extra sales every year.
An annual full-site Direct-To-Consumer desktop and mobile web UX audit across all 7 audit focus areas cost $12,700 (USD) per year.
An annual ‘DTC Full-Site UX audit’ includes:
Reach out below to discuss your needs or request a UX audit of your DTC site. (PS client audits are strictly confidential and will not be included in Baymard’s public UX benchmark database).
Talk to UX auditor Laura about your goals and discuss Baymard’s UX research methodology.
DTC Audit Price
Refund Policy: In the event that we’re unable to provide 30 suggestions for improvements we’ll still complete the audit and leave it up to you if you want a refund.
Lead time: A typical full site audit takes around 17-25 work days - depending on time of year, project scope and auditor availability.
Confidential: All client-specific audits and UX scorecards are strictly confidential; they are not included in Baymard’s public benchmark databases or shared with anyone else (NDA is possible).
Unbiased: As Baymard does not offer any kind of design or development services or sell e-commerce technology, the UX audit will always be a completely unbiased analysis of your site, and not an indirect “sales pitch” for other services. At Baymard our specialization is the UX audit.
“Intelligent, consumer-focused insights that are clear and actionable. The team in the room really loved the way the Baymard Institute highlighted the optimizations in the various user experience elements (copy, layout, design, calls-to-action…), from the perspective of consumer struggles. Baymard’s Usability research really complements our other existing research tools.”
“I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the amazing work on this audit. You should know that this has been very well received internally and there’s a lot of excitement around adopting the ideas you have shared.”
“First off, thank you. This was the most engrossed I’ve ever been in a 2-hour meeting. This [audit presentation] was incredibly insightful and very helpful. Many, many thanks.”
“Excellent tool – looking forward to using it with our other sites and prototypes as they’re developed.”
“We found the audits extremely helpful and validated a number of changes we have been wanting to make or are in the process of making, so thank again for all the great insights.”
“This was indeed very helpful guidance and a very well-documented roadmap for us to fix, validate, organize, collectively understand and continually improve our ecommerce foundation.”
“I’m reviewing the report this morning and I am delighted. The recommendations are detailed and our resulting actions are clear. I’m excited to share this with the rest of the team!”
“Thanks for everything. The audit was extremely useful, I think we have gained valuable insight.”
“Thanks for this audit and your good work. This was exactly what I was aiming for. Also thanks for the very, very professional presentation, and answering all our countless questions. Very good work.”
“A big thanks to you and the Baymard team for such an informative and valuable session. The Ace Hardware team truly appreciated the Baymard teams feedback, diligence and the overall presentation. We are looking forward to using the excellent information provided to improve the acehardware.com user journey.”
“Baymard’s training provides the proper language and sound evidence to understand what it mean to create a truly usable interface in the ecommerce business.”
“I just wanted to thank you guys for all of the time that you’ve put into this, and for a great presentation. We don’t have anyone at the company that has formal UX/UI experience, so being able to tap into Baymard’s resources/expertise is an immediate win for us. Some of the things you pointed out, we’ve already identified as areas for improvement (which was validating), but a lot of the recommendations are things that we hadn’t identified and are for the most part immediately actionable.”
“I was able to bring these designed solutions home with me and kickoff multiple optimization projects that I am confident will affect the site in a positive way, both in usability and conversion.”
“Wanted to thank you again for the checkout audit and walking us through the process. It was super helpful and we can’t wait to apply the changes to our checkout for a better user experience.”
“This was…mind-blowing. We’ve been having conversations on the side as you’ve been presenting the audit findings. There’s so much to do!”
“Baymard produces some of the most relevant and actionable user experience research available. They really understand the needs of UX and Product Management professionals, and their deep experience in the eCommerce field allows them to offer sophisticated, nuanced insights.”
“We have recently tested some of your recommendations for the Avast checkout and got some great wins!”
“I really like the work Baymard Institute does around usability. Their articles often get my Ecom gears turning.”
“The recommendations in our audit were awesome - well prioritized, actionable and helped us focus on what to optimize. This audit, along with the e-Commerce Reports & Benchmark Databases, are my go-to resources for thorough, insightful information. Thank you!”
“Baymard has helped so much: UX was a brand new role at my company when I was hired. I was researching, planning, and designing UX & UI for 5 different products, all by myself. After showing real-world, bottom-line results from a UX centered approach to our products, we have expanded our UX team and greatly improved our UX-to-product process. Baymard’s research database was a critical component to my (and my company’s) success. Thank you!”
“Baymard’s UX for ecommerce workshop is an intense week of data-driven, applied research which will give you the tools and insight to vastly improve your ecommerce user experience and sales performance. Having attended this course with the intent to make informed designs and decisions when revising the core areas of our website this year, my confidence has increased threefold. Christian demonstrated a deep understanding of the subject areas covered and great expertise while conducting this training which allowed for personalised guidance towards real world projects which is invaluable.”
“Here at Boxed we’re a small team who are BIG fans of your research. Your services have been immensely helpful to us as a small UX/UI team, and we are so excited to have a new version of our own product page going into development later this month.”
“These reports are fabulous. The content is exactly what our team has been looking for, and so much more! Extremely helpful, thank you!”
“Wow, this is great! Just reviewed it with the team. It’s a huge help and we’re excited to fix these issues.”
“Baymard recently did a UX audit of our new e-commerce Website. We were very pleased with the results. The report and live review of the findings validated our approach to user experience, and also, we learned a lot about best practices for e-commerce UX. We believe Baymard’s work will help us increase revenue and user satisfaction.”
“The Baymard team has been a delight to work with on the JohnLewis digital platform audit. They responded to the brief very well, have been very accessible for ongoing clarification and queries and Rebecca was excellent in the recent team share, articulately presenting findings in an engaging walk-through with the wider team which will really support driving engagement and a robust response. Many thanks for all the effort and focus folks.”
“This has been fantastic: really good recommendations, really comprehensive.”
“Baymard has been a great resource in helping us improve the customer experience. We are continually applying these best practices to our sites.”
“A great presentation, and the results were very eye-opening. It’s really helpful.”
“The Baymard E-commerce Usability reports have proven to be a valuable resource for UX teams within our organisation both at group and operating company level. The reports contain precise, actionable insights and recommendations which are backed up by extensive research and data. The severity and frequency ratings have helped our development teams to prioritise which areas to improve first. The most recent improvements we’ve recommended from the Ecommerce Search report have been extremely well received by senior stakeholders and have already been fed into the backlog.”
“Thanks again for the great work on our checkout project. Our whole group found it incredibly insightful. We’re applying the suggestions you provided to our new checkout design which launches at the end of the month! One of my colleagues was also interested in your group’s competitive expertise with regard to responsive web and native apps.”
“I can confirm that the list was fully implemented. Every time we put up a change we either A/B test or we watch it very closely to determine that it’s doing better and not the opposite. So I can confirm that these fixes have improved our checkout. Thanks for everything.”
“We’ve received some awesome feedback from our Merchant Success team as well as our merchants about all of the UX Audits we’ve had thus far with Baymard. Thank you so much to you and your team for all of your hard work. The pilot with Baymard has been going fantastic and I’m really excited with all that we’re learning! You have an amazing platform, team and super helpful data base for us to work with.”
“Thank you for the UX audit presentation, it was FANTASTIC. People here are quite pleased and amazed by the amount of work that was put into this.”
“Thank you very much for your time and the presentation. It was super useful, comprehensive and most importantly very concrete, so that we know exactly what to do next. We will definitely recommend you to other divisions within Bosch.”
“I wanted to begin by saying how incredibly impressed I have been with the degree/depth of content shared on UX/UI best practices for eCommerce experiences. This has by far been one of the most valuable workshops I have ever attended in my professional career.”
“We’ve been consuming the Baymard Institute reports for a while but the in-house workshop was really the thing that connected all the dots around ecommerce UX together for us. Now our entire team has a common base of understanding, a language, and clear quantified evidence of the importance of common UX guidelines and pitfalls. Reading a report is one thing but actually forcing yourself to apply findings on a real world case was the greatest takeaway from the workshop. UX is often an tricky science subject to a lot of emotional bias and gut feeling. Not so much anymore.”
“My team loves Baymard Premium and it has become a valuable tool for us. We consult with a number of large brands and manage their eComm (both DTC and eRetail) and your data is amazing, it gives us all the testing data without having to run the tests ourselves. Our clients appreciate us having the depth of knowledge Baymard provides, we’ve used Baymard data multiple times to defend our recommendations and to inform our designs.”
“[Wanted to] say thanks, because we had a meeting yesterday everyone’s really excited about this. It’s really got everyone motivated and interested in what we’re going to tackle next so it’s been really invaluable, I think.”
“I just wanted to let you know that I think your site is the best thousand bucks I’ve ever spent. I wish I found you years ago.”
“Thank you, this was really insightful!”