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M-Commerce Usability

Exploring the mobile shopping experience

After a year of user testing and research, the most extensive usability study on mobile e-commerce shopping is ready.

We’ve tested 18 of the biggest mobile e-commerce sites and boiled all the research findings down to 146 actionable guidelines that will help you venture into the new realm of mobile e-commerce.

M-Commerce Usability Report
“The guidelines are extremely valuable and helpful.”

Vitaly Friedman, Editor in Chief of Smashing Magazine

  1. 146 research-based design guidelines divided into 26 mobile design concerns.
  2. 94 user quotes illustrating how users think when shopping on mobile sites.
  3. 705 images from the test sessions for detailed insights and design inspiration.
  4. 5 industry guides for Electronics, Apparel & Decor, Bookings, Flowers, and Mass Merchants.
  5. Online review tool for assessing your own site(s) across the 146 usability guidelines.
  6. 495 pages optimized for print exploring the mobile shopping experience.
  7. A convenient checklist handy for implementation and reference.
  8. Benchmark database with annotated usability reviews of 50 leading mobile sites.

Slide through the report

“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.”

Jason Greene, UX Design Lead at Clickbank

Mobile 2015: Still Unchartered Territory

Mobile traffic has exploded in recent years and now constitute 30-50% of all traffic on many e-commerce sites. However, it’s not uncommon for mobile e-commerce sites to have a significantly poorer conversion rate than their desktop counterpart – in some cases converting fewer than half as many visitors into customers.

This mobile usability study reveals how the still relatively new touch interaction methods and user behaviors introduce a whole host of pitfalls to watch out for when designing and running a mobile commerce site.

Despite testing the mobile sites of some of the largest e-commerce players in the world, the test subjects encountered a staggering 1,000+ usability-related issues during the test sessions. These usability issues have been analyzed and distilled into 146 design guidelines on how to best design and structure a high-performing mobile e-commerce site, as well as documenting how end-users perceive and interact with mobile sites in a shopping context.

Tested mobile e-commerce sites: 1-800-Flowers, Amazon, Avis, Best Buy, Buy.com, Coastal.com, Enterprise.com, Fandango, Foot Locker, FTD, GAP, H&M, Macy’s, REI, Southwest Airlines, Toy’R’Us, United Airlines, Walmart.

“Contains some very good points and interesting findings.”

Jan Jursa, Curator of IATV and MobX conference

Table of contents

  1. Introduction 5 pages
  2. Benchmark Analysis 11 pages
  3. Mobile Spending Trends 4 pages
  4. Guideline categories:
    1. Understanding Mobile 89 pages 28 guidelines on full site, native app, and mobile site, intelligent features, hit areas, readability, etc.
    2. Product Finding 117 pages 35 guidelines on navigation, product browsing, search, filtering, sorting, etc.
    3. Product Information 49 pages 17 guidelines on product page design, product images, descriptions, specs, compatibility, etc.
    4. Checkout Process 66 pages 21 guidelines on cart, shipping, account, mobile payments, reviewing information, etc.
    5. Data Input 109 pages 35 guidelines on form layout, input functionality, field descriptions and labels, touch keyboards, etc.
    6. Implementation 22 pages 10 guidelines on the technical implementation of your site, specifically performance and error recovery
  5. Industry-specific checklists:
    1. Computers & Electronics 12 guidelines
    2. Apparel & Home Decoration 9 guidelines
    3. Aviation, Tickets & Rentals 12 guidelines
    4. Flowers & Gifts 4 guidelines
    5. Mass Merchants 19 guidelines
  6. Checklist for all 146 guidelines 11 pages
  7. Methodology, authors, etc. 5 pages
“I have found this M-Commerce Report and the E-Commerce Report very useful, thank you!”

Josh Shaw, Web Manager at Keurig / Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Benchmark & Review Tool

Based on the findings from the usability research study we’ve benchmarked the full mobile user experience of 50 major US e-commerce sites. This comprehensive benchmark database with 678 mobile page types manually reviewed and annotated, provides you with 2,100+ categorized mobile screenshots and 3,600+ implementation examples of the 146 mobile e-commerce usability guidelines.

The benchmark database is fully integrated with the report and comes bundled as part of the purchase, providing you with 50 case studies of the benchmarked mobile e-commerce sites, acting as examples and inspiration on how to design and implement your own top performing mobile e-commerce site.

Furthermore the benchmark database provides a tool for you to review your own site (or your client’s) and compare it directly against the performance of the top 50 mobile e-commerce sites.

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

Cary Moody, Usability Researcher at Hallmark

Compared to other industry reports

eConsultancy M-Commerce Best Practice Baymard Institute M-Commerce Usability Forrester Mobile Retail Forecast
Pages: 24 pages 495 pages 11 pages
Guidelines: - 146 guidelines 7 takeaways
Source: Author’s thoughts User testing Forecast model
Benchmark: No Yes, 50 sites reviewed No
Review tool: No Yes, interactive auditing tool No
Price: $300 $250 $499
Refund: No Yes, 14 days full refund Yes, 1 day full refund
“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.”

Linda Bustos, Director of Ecommerce Research at Elastic Path

Get your report now

Get your copy of this report instantly delivered as a PDF file for $250, and start improving your mobile e-commerce site today at just $1.7 per actionable guideline.

Buy Benchmark & Report

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: M-Commerce Usability
  • Authors: Jamie Appleseed, Christian Holst
  • ISBN: 978-87-994365-6-9
  • Published: October 2015
  • Delivery: Instant PDF-download (DRM-free), 98mb
  • Content: 495 pages, 146 guidelines

Benchmark details

The benchmark database has four components:

  • Review: Interactive checklist for reviewing your own sites
  • Guidelines: 146 usability guidelines with examples from the 50 benchmarked sites
  • Site reviews: Case studies of the top 50 grossing e-commerce sites
  • Page types: Navigate mobile site designs by type of page

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:


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


“Report analyzing mCommerce usability 2013 w/ guidelines and tips. Standing on the shoulders of giants. http://t.co/SEUgMM0UCC #ecommerce” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

“Thank you Baymard team! Invaluable in a sea of usability noise as a beacon of clarity! References: Mobile E-Commerce Research


“Comprehensive study on mobile e-commerce shopping from the good folks at @Baymard is out. http://t.co/ibVtKy6tqo” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

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

“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. References: Baymard Research


“Useful study to dive into mobile #ecommerce https://t.co/yU40gKmujK” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

“The guidelines are extremely valuable and helpful. References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

“Contains some very good points and interesting findings. References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

“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. References: Baymard Research

“Great report! Very insightful.” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research


“Useful report from @KiehnHolst @Baymard on fundamentals of M-Commerce Usability http://t.co/IJjWqZ4hQy via @smashingmag” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

“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. References: Mobile E-Commerce Research


“Useful #usability report for mobile shopping experience #ux - http://t.co/IJW4oH1i2e” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research


“Baymard Insitute release their M-Commerce Usability Report. Worth getting if it's as good as their E-Commerce one. http://t.co/xewjV4vHgm” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

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


“'M-Commerce Usability: Exploring the Mobile Shopping Experience 2013 - Articles - Baymard Institute' good read http://t.co/sI2gyHPMnv” References: Mobile E-Commerce Research

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