E-Commerce Checkout Usability: Exploring the Customer’s Checkout Experience

Imagine a brick and mortar store selling consumer goods.

It has a great location, a well-designed store, good prices, and great products on the shelves. There are plenty of customers. Each day 1,000 customers pick down goods from the shelves and proceed to the cash register. But wait. 59% of these customers – with the goods in their hands – end up leaving the store without buying anything. 59%!

How long do you figure this can go on before a store manager or the owner takes action? We are probably talking a few days at the most. Certainly not weeks, months, or years.

The only thing is, this case is not made up. It’s the harsh reality in e-commerce. According to 14 different studies, at least 65.23% of potential web shoppers abandon their shopping cart. On average.

If brick and mortar stores performed this poorly, heads would roll…

These customers have seen your ad. Clicked it. Browsed your store. Read your product descriptions. Zoomed in on the product images. Hit ‘add to cart’. And they even chose that extra accessory you suggested to go with their purchase. And then… they abandon it all.

Why? That’s exactly what we wanted to find out.

At Baymard Institute we recruited a batch of web users and ran a usability study on 15 of the largest e-commerce sites, focusing only on the checkout user experience, from ‘Cart’ to ‘Completed order’.

In total, the test subjects encountered more than 500 usability issues during the study, which we have then analyzed and distilled into a report containing 63 guidelines to improve the customer’s checkout experience - hence lowering your cart abandonment rate.

Intrigued? Then go check out the report info page to learn more.

Authored by Baymard Institute on March 1, 2011

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