E-Commerce Search Usability

Exploring the customer’s search experience

A part of Baymard Premium access

After months of user testing and research, the most in-depth usability study on e-commerce search logic and design is ready.

Full access to the Search Usability study includes 5 reports with 49 actionable e-commerce search guidelines, and a benchmark database with 5,000 UX performance scores and 3,200 search implementation examples.

(Beyond including full access to this E-Commerce Search research study, the Baymard Premium access also include 6 additional studies (Homepage & Category Navigation, Product Lists & Filtering, Product Details Pages, Cart & Checkout, Mobile E-Commerce, and Account & Self-Service) with a total of 640+ guidelines covered in 76 e-commerce UX research reports)

This research-based and pragmatic toolset will help you get the best possible on-site search experience and conversion rate.

Sears Logo

“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.

5 Reports with 49 Research Driven Guidelines on Perfecting E-Commerce Search

This original usability study focuses on how users search on e-commerce websites. A group of users age 21-56 were recruited to test 19 leading e-commerce sites across 8 different verticals. Despite testing multi-million dollar sites, more than 700 search-specific usability issues arose during testing. All these issues have been analyzed and distilled into 49 guidelines on search usability.

From this research study you’ll learn exactly what users expect as they perform searches on e-commerce sites, what typically goes wrong in the process, why it goes wrong, and exactly what changes to make to avoid these issues. In short: how to design a high-performing search experience for your users. After all, if users can’t find what they are searching for, they can’t buy it from you.

While many of the 49 guidelines will be on search logic, more than half of the guidelines are simple design and interaction changes for the search field, autocomplete functionality, and the search results page, as these elements proved to have just as crucial an impact on the user’s ability to find what they were looking for.


What you’ll get in the 5 Search Usability reports

49 research-based design guidelines divided into 5 categories.

69 user quotes illustrating how users think when searching on e-commerce sites.

629 images from the test sessions for detailed insights on search issues and solutions.

60 benchmark case studies of production sites illustrating what works and what doesn’t.

300 print-optimized pages exploring the user’s search experience.

Belk Logo

“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.

Topics Covered in the 5 Search Reports

5 × On-Site Search Topics

On-Site Search

Search Query Types

On-Site Search

Search Query Types

12 Guidelines, 45 Pages

The prerequisites for a great search experience: understand the 12 different types of search queries that users typically submit on e-commerce sites, which your site’s search engine needs to support.

On-Site Search

Search Form & Logic

On-Site Search

Search Form & Logic

10 Guidelines, 37 Pages

Search form design and function, both pre- and post-search, with usability considerations on the design and behavior of the search field itself, query persistence, search scope selection, etc.

On-Site Search

Search Autocomplete

On-Site Search

Search Autocomplete

7 Guidelines, 24 Pages

How the autocomplete (also known as ‘predictive search’) should be designed, the types of suggestions it should make (products vs queries), keyboard input behavior, and more.

On-Site Search

Results Logic & Guidance

On-Site Search

Results Logic & Guidance

8 Guidelines, 33 Pages

How to create a seamless query integration process, including how to guide users toward better paths through methods such as suggesting new queries, scopes, and ‘No results’ pages.

On-Site Search

Results Layout & Filtering

On-Site Search

Results Layout & Filtering

12 Guidelines, 56 Pages

Layout and design of search results and how to implement filtering, dynamic list layouts, search snippets, loading more results, faceted search filters, value truncation, filter naming, dynamic sorting, and more.

Room & Board Logo

“The Baymard reports have proven to be an invaluable resource for us. Comprehensive, pragmatic and actionable. We have redesigned our checkout process and made changes to our category pages based on usability guidelines in the reports.

Benchmark: Is Your Search Experience Better than Sears’ or Amazon’s?

Based on the findings from the research study we’ve benchmarked the search engine and interfaces of the top 60 grossing e-commerce sites in the US and Europe, across multiple years. This provides you with a comprehensive benchmark database with 400+ pages reviewed, 2,100+ screenshots, and 3,200+ examples of the 49 search usability guidelines.

The benchmark database is fully integrated with the report and comes bundled as part of the purchase, providing you with 60 case studies from the top e-commerce sites, acting as examples and inspiration on how to implement each of the 49 search guidelines.

Furthermore the benchmark database provides a tool for you to review your own site (or your clients’) and compare it directly against the top e-commerce sites.


What You’ll Get in the Search Usability Benchmark

Full unrestricted access to the benchmark database with on-site search usability reviews of 60 top grossing e-commerce sites.

400+ page designs for systematic design inspiration on a particular page type (Search Field, Search Auto-Complete, etc).

An interactive review tool to rate your own on-site search performance and see how it stacks up to the competition.

5,000+ UX performance scores providing a detailed breakdown of e-commerce search strengths, weaknesses, and common mistakes.

3,200+ best- and worst practice examples, illustrating how to implement the 49 search usability guidelines.

Multi-Year Benchmark comparison enabling you to inspect changes to site design and UX performance over time.

Lenovo Logo

“Excellent tool – looking forward to using it with our other sites and prototypes as they’re developed.

Get your 5 search reports and benchmark with Baymard Premium

Get instant access to the 5 e-commerce search usability reports (along with 76 other e-commerce UX research reports) and the full benchmark database with Baymard Premium access.

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.


Baymard Institute’s research is used by:

Office Depot Logo

“Baymard has been a great resource in helping us improve the customer experience. We are continually applying these best practices to our sites.

Nike Inc. Logo

“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.

Etsy Logo

“Thank you. This was an excellent piece of work: professional, thorough, and actionable for the team. We're very happy with the work Baymard has done for us so far, and I hope we'll have the chance to work together again on future projects.

IATV Logo

“E-Commerce Search Usability is an essential industry report for anybody in the e-commerce business. This must-read analysis contains many valuable insights summarized by an easy to handle checklist.

Sports Authority Logo

“Thank you for all the value delivered ahead of our new fiscal years. Your insights not only provided a definitive foundation for our UX roadmap but completely sold our executive team on the value of expert usability insights. Your service paid for itself in a matter of days and ensured all critical gaps will be filled ahead of us running the audit again next year.

Kingfisher PLC Logo

“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.

Bloomberg Logo ‘EasyAsk Helps Oya Costumes Convert Shoppers Into Buyers During Halloween Season’ by October 15, 2014

“A recent e-commerce search usability benchmark study by the Baymard Institute [1] showed that 54% of the top 50 U.S. e-commerce sites did not support "thematic searches" (searches around themes or concepts) and 50% did not support "relational searches" (searches using terms that are related to the items).

Author of 'Don't Make Me Think' Logo

“Damn. The reports that the @Baymard folks do cost money, but they're worth it.

Sears Logo

“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.

EasyAsk Logo

“I have purchased the e-commerce search usability report and it's great. We use it as a benchmark for search best practices.

Lenovo Logo

“Excellent tool – looking forward to using it with our other sites and prototypes as they’re developed.

Room & Board Logo

“The Baymard reports have proven to be an invaluable resource for us. Comprehensive, pragmatic and actionable. We have redesigned our checkout process and made changes to our category pages based on usability guidelines in the reports.

@maxxon15

“I'm always blown away by Baymard's research! Deconstructing E-Commerce Search: 12 Query Types http://t.co/Ya4qIQFC7O via @Baymard

ClickBank Logo

“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.

@rwldesign

“Grab your espresso, sit with your dog, and read an excellent, in-depth #ux report on e-commerce search: http://t.co/mM3eGrowdv via @Baymard

Jarden Consumer Solutions Logo

“Thanks for everything. The audit was extremely useful, I think we have gained valuable insight.

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

Belk Logo

“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.

Hallmark Logo

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

John Lewis Logo

“Many thanks for presenting earlier. I have caught up with the teams and they all found your audit report really useful and are on board with the suggestions.

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“Given the tricky science of conversion rate optimization, it is great to know that you are dealing with professionals whose advice is based on solid research. It was a pleasure collaborating with the Baymard team.

StickerMule.com Logo

“Wow, this is great! Just reviewed it with the team. It's a huge help and we're excited to fix these issues.

Hallmark Cards, Inc. Logo

“The walkthrough today was great. The report was very, very well done and loaded with great opportunities for us to improve our business. I wanted to again express my appreciation for working with us on such a condensed time frame last month. You and your team have been amazing partners to us and we very much appreciate the work, expertise and partnership.

Smashing Magazine Logo

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

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“I really like the work Baymard Institute does around usability. Their articles often get my Ecom gears turning.

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“We like what we are reviewing from the audit - great analysis and feedback.

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“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.

Columbia Sportswear Logo

“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.

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“We have worked with a number of third party companies before on various projects/audits, and I can certainly say that working with Baymard was not only a pleasure; but you delivered on time; to the level of depth we wanted; addressing important issues; and answering all our questions; and you did all this for a great price. A big THANK YOU on behalf of N11.

@ecomchat

“Big recommendation from @waligorski: I REALLY recommend the BI report. http://t.co/xw6LXkm5iP - best 150$ spent. (cc @baymard) #ecomchat

Elastic Path Logo

“Baymard’s real-user research is invaluable for ecommerce marketers. It leaves no stone unturned, and with the guideline checklists provided, you’ll be well equipped to optimize your mobile presence.

@digital_darts

“The Baymard Institute have some seriously good reports on ecommerce usability, design, and best practices: http://t.co/cuxO3VwiVe

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

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“Hi Baymard-Team, I'm a fan of your reports – I bought some of them, learned from them and continuously use them in my day-to-day. I like them so much that I also recommend them in expert groups. Thank you for the great work!