Industry UX Research
A large-scale research study on how to optimize the User Experience for Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce sites
At Baymard Institute, we have a whole research topic devoted to online shopping UX and usability, specifically for Business-to-Business sites selling products through a B2B e-commerce website.
We’ve identified 270 in-depth User Experience design guidelines that are particularly important to B2B e-commerce sites. By querying 10,000+ UX performance ratings from our past UX audits of B2B sites, against the 700+ UX guidelines in our research catalog, we’ve identified 270 guidelines to be of particular relevance to B2B sites, as they are either highly related to the challenges that B2B sites are facing, or as they are shown to have a relatively high UX impact compared to how many B2B sites get them wrong.
This page provides you a brief overview of Baymard’s general B2B UX research. We have a dedicated research studies for B2B Electronic Components & Machinery and B2B Pharma & Medical. Full access to all of our B2B UX research is available as part of Baymard Premium.
We’ve conducted a B2B UX benchmark, assessing 19 B2B sites across 270+ UX guidelines most applicable to B2B sites. You can view the B2B site’s UX performance in the graph above.
Each theme and topic in the graph above can be expanded for an in-depth view of the ‘current state’ of B2B website UX performances. (scroll down to access the in-depth case-studies for each site)
This is a sub-set of the full benchmark which includes 197 e-commerce sites.
View our full UX benchmark
You can explore our in-depth UX case-studies of the below 19 B2B e-commerce sites. In total, these contain 1,300+ UX performance scores and 1,090+ Best Practice examples from B2B sites.
79 page designs: desktop, app, mobile
50 page designs: desktop, mobile
36 page designs: desktop, mobile
40 page designs: desktop, mobile
48 page designs: desktop, mobile
50 page designs: desktop, mobile
21 page designs: mobile, desktop
43 page designs: mobile, desktop
46 page designs: desktop, mobile
38 page designs: desktop, mobile
38 page designs: desktop, mobile
26 page designs: desktop, mobile
38 page designs: desktop, mobile
42 page designs: desktop, mobile
35 page designs: desktop, mobile
39 page designs: desktop, mobile
37 page designs: desktop, mobile
38 page designs: mobile, desktop
33 page designs: desktop, mobile
34 page designs: desktop, mobile
28 page designs: desktop, mobile
33 page designs: mobile, desktop
43 page designs: desktop, mobile
29 page designs: mobile, desktop
39 page designs: desktop, mobile
33 page designs: desktop, mobile
30 page designs: desktop, mobile
From a web interface and web user behavior perspective some of the main differences between B2B and B2C e-commerce to keep in mind when making website decisions are:
A stronger segment of domain expert users
The segment of B2B users who are “returning users” will often (but not always) be domain experts. The practical implication is that a segment of users will often have an extreme level of product knowledge and may perform several navigational shortcuts. For example, searching for a SKU (see guideline #333, clicking navigation breadcrumbs (#537 and #828), keyboard tabbing through a form (#657), etc. These behaviors also happen on B2C sites, but typically for a smaller minority of users than what’s observed on B2B sites.
‘Domain Expert’ fallacy
Returning B2B users who are “domain professionals” often constitute a large part of B2B sales. Because of this, we often observe that there’s a tendency for some B2B organizations to neglect their more novice B2B site visitors (to a much larger extent than B2C sites do). These more novice B2B visitors, who are either new to the B2B brand, to the jargon, or the entire industry domain, often then face significant navigational challenges to the point where the website becomes almost un-navigable for uninitiated users. This often presents a missed opportunity for several B2B sites because these novice users can represent a great source for acquiring new customers.
The individual B2B user is often more important
B2B product price points, product margins, and average order values are often significantly higher than on B2C sites. One of the practical implications of this is that B2B sites can often afford design solutions that are more bespoke and customer support heavy — solutions that are often greatly minimized on B2C sites due to margins and user volumes.
B2B users are more purpose-driven
B2B product browsing is typically more intent and problem-driven, with little _ “casual browsing to kill time”_ and fewer impulse purchases (in comparison to B2C). The practical implication of this is that there is a greater tendency among B2B users to, for example, filter by specific product attributes (see our research topic Available Filters), or to perform feature queries (see guideline #340 as they are more likely to be looking for something specific.
High checkout complexity
B2B checkout flows often have a much larger degree of (justifiable) complexity than B2C checkouts. For example, shipping speed and shipping terms can matter a lot more than shipping price. The ordered items are often more complex, therefore typically also requiring a much more perfected step than B2C sites need (see our research topic on Order Review pages). The payment methods are sometimes asynchronous (like invoicing, purchase orders, credits, etc.). More order information is genuinely needed, like separate billing and shipping addresses, VAT numbers, PO numbers, accounting information, etc. These differences don’t mean that B2B checkouts have to be overly complex; it mostly means that it will require an even more careful checkout UX optimization to strike the right balance between ‘feature rich’ and ‘usable’.
The B2B organizational structure is often less web-focused
We observe in B2B auditing that B2B websites are more often siloed into a structure where the e-commerce website functionality is completely separated from “the rest” of the B2B website. Typically, such a structure leads to a main navigation where there’s a navigation item for “Product Catalog” (which contains only a static product catalog, without any e-commerce functionality) that’s then separate from a “Shop/Store” main navigation item (with the e-commerce functionality). In some cases, the e-commerce part of the website is also running on a completely different tech platform than the rest of the website — often causing great on-site search issues for users. Such structures are consistently observed to significantly misalign with the fundamental user perception of what a company website even is.
These differences are covered in the 270 UX guidelines relevant to B2B sites, that you will find in Baymard Premium.
PAID RESEARCH CONTENT
With Baymard Premium, you get access to 270+ B2B relevant UX guidelines, 1,300+ UX performance scores from B2B sites, 1,090+ Best Practice examples from B2B sites. On top of this, you also get access to 140,000+ best practice examples and 215,000+ UX performance scores from other industries - sometimes the best designs and ideas comes by looking outside your own industry.
IN-DEPTH REVIEW OF YOUR SITE’S UX PERFORMANCE
If you don’t want to read all of the research findings, but “just want the results”, then have Baymard’s team of researchers audit your B2B site.
The audit provides you with a detailed external review of your site’s UX performance across the 270+ B2B e-commerce UX elements, as well as a detailed UX performance comparison against 19 other B2B sites, along with other ‘State of the Art’ implementations outside of your industry. The UX audit provides you with 40 prioritized suggestions for UX improvements, each with best-practice implementation examples.
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Baymard has been a great resource in helping us improve the customer experience. We are continually applying these best practices to our sites.”
“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.”
“A great presentation, and the results were very eye-opening. It’s really helpful.”
“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.”
“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.”
“I wanted to begin by saying how incredibly impressed I have been all this week with both the degree/depth of content shared on UX/UI best practices for eCommerce experiences as well as specifically your presentation skills. This has by far been one of the most valuable conferences/workshops I have ever attended in my professional career.”
“The training was worth every penny and kudos to Christian and Lauryn for doing such a great job. My mind was definitely blown.”
“These reports are fabulous. The content is exactly what our team has been looking for, and so much more! Extremely helpful, thank you!”
“We implemented “E-Commerce Checkout Usability” guide for all our stores and saw doubling of checkout conversion rates. We will soon work on implementation of other usability guidelines. Thank you Christian and Jamie for your excellent work!”
“Some time ago we purchased the Ecommerce Homepage & Category report - the research and insights are extremely useful to us and help us a lot in our work!”
“Damn. The reports that the @Baymard folks do cost money, but they’re worth it.”
“I’m an avid user of your reports and recommendations. I have leveraged your articles and findings throughout my career in B2B, B2C, and hospitality.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
“Excellent tool – looking forward to using it with our other sites and prototypes as they’re developed.”
“I really like the work Baymard Institute does around usability. Their articles often get my Ecom gears turning.”
“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.”
“This #ecommerce checkout guide is worth every penny. Highly recommended. #cro http://t.co/FPVAYDr1”
“Thank you very much for the 7 usability audits of our country-specific sites. The audits have provided us with specific and actionable advice, allowed us to prioritize development resources , and enabled us to compare UX performance between the 7 different country-specific sites, and against State of the Art implementations. The audit itself is done really professionally and the recommendations contain actionable and insightful information.”
“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.”
“Great UX report on shopping cart checkout forms/process we have used in a few audits recently. http://t.co/vkpeYOAS”
“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.”
“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.”
“Thanks for everything. The audit was extremely useful, I think we have gained valuable insight.”
“I have found the M-Commerce and E-Commerce reports very useful, thank you!”
“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!”
“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.”
“This is very, very useful! Let me check what we can do to improve the usability in the Smashing Shop.”
“Wow, this is great! Just reviewed it with the team. It’s a huge help and we’re excited to fix these issues.”
“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.”
“We like what we are reviewing from the audit - great analysis and feedback.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“[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.”
“The Baymard Institute have some seriously good reports on ecommerce usability, design, and best practices: http://t.co/cuxO3VwiVe”
“Worth every dollar. It’s well done, good looking and simply very useful.”
“I love the information that you guys provide and have bought a couple of reports. Love them.”
“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.”
“Baymard’s UX training week was invaluable. Christian presented the company’s vast research in an organized and digestible format that encouraged actionable takeaways. I can’t wait to share these learnings with my colleagues!”
“You guys help us, our clients (and our clients’ users), in delivering a better user experience through your research. I really appreciate it.”
“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!”
“This is without a doubt the most important eCommerce training I’ve ever done. Knowing the right approach for converting the average user puts us massively ahead of the competition.”
“Love Baymard’s Checkout Usability Report, http://t.co/zPb64Auk. A must read for E-Comm UX teams.”
“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.”
“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”
“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.”
“I just wanted to reach out to you personally and commend you for hosting a terrific course. It’s quite seldom I find myself learning quite as much and gaining so many new perspectives in such a short period of time. So please keep up the good work and keep on inspiring other fellow UX practitioners!”
“designing a checkout experience? This is one of the coolest resource I’ve seen: http://t.co/CB1X2GTY”
“I’m very impressed! Not about our site’s performance, quite the opposite, but about your work. Very detailed and packed with great and tangible advice. This was exactly what I dreamt about, but sometimes you just have to be careful dreaming.”
“We implemented this [1 of the 15 audit suggestions] and since then we’ve had a 20% increase in warranties added and a pretty healthy average order increase because of that. That was a great suggestion, it hit our bottom line immediately.”
“I often refer to myself as ‘the worst type of user’ because I have adapted to standard/bad UX practices when browsing eCommerce sites. I have found Baymard Institute is an incredible resource for getting some insight into user behaviour for making websites foolproof.”
“after benchmarking checkouts for a couple of hours last week… this resource is magical http://t.co/ISKOfyGE”
“Truly a great learning experience about almost every aspect of eCommerce and the steps you need to take to improve the shopping experience for your users. Everyone working with eCommerce should attend this course. Absolutely worth the investment!”
“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.”
“We implemented these guidelines on a client’s website and our e-commerce conversion rate increased 18.7% across the board. Most importantly our mobile conversions increased from 0.89% to 1.9% – we doubled our mobile revenue.”
“I wanted to pass on some praise to the Baymard team. I’m doing some desk research at the moment into best practices for navigation, search and filtering, and I’ve been using a lot of Baymard reports. Even though we’re not in the e-comm business, the insights you provide have been invaluable and inspirational to my project. It’s really really great work. I’ve previously grazed the content before out of interest, but now that I’m actually putting it into practice, I’m really feeling the value of this work. Thanks for making it available so that the whole community can benefit.”
“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.”
“Christian Holst and his team have done it again. Rock-solid research backed up by numbers that can’t be argued with. We’ve been using Baymard’s research for many years now and consistently find value in it in the form of highly applicable guidelines. The cost of the annual subscription has paid for itself many times over. Thank you for that, Christian.”
“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!”
“We have recently tested some of your recommendations for the Avast checkout and got some great wins!”
This UX research on business to business sites is part of Baymard Institute’s full 110,000 hours of large scale research catalog, which is based on:
Baymard’s research methodology is described in detail here.