Industry UX Research

Direct-To-Consumer UX Research

A large-scale research study on how to optimize the online User Experience for Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) websites

At Baymard Institute we have a whole research topic devoted to online shopping UX and usability, specifically for Direct-To Consumer brands that sell their products to consumers on their own e-commerce website (DTC).

Through our 71,000+ hours of large scale UX research, we’ve identified 400+ in-depth User Experience guidelines that are particularly important to Direct To Consumer websites.

Our research includes testing of DTC websites of both:

  • larger brands, such as Adidas, American Apparel, Apple, H&M, IKEA, Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, Under Armour, Bose, JBL, KitchenAid, Cole Haan, Herschel, L’Occitane, Patagonia
  • and smaller niche DTC brands, such as Allbirds, Caraway, Daniel Wellington, Equal Parts, Farer, Great Jones, Greats, Maya Chia, Mahalo Care, Milo, Mirror, mvmt, Monastery Made, Tempo, Tonal, Thousand Fell, etc.

This page provides you a brief overview of Baymard’s Direct To Consumer UX research. Full access to all of our UX research is available as part of Baymard Premium.


DTC Website UX Performance

Benchmark UX Performances
Poor
Mediocre
Acceptable
Decent
Good

Overall UX Performance

705 Guidelines

Homepage & Category

64 Guidelines

Homepage

15 Guidelines

Category Taxonomy

15 Guidelines

Main Navigation

16 Guidelines

Intermediary Category Pages

6 Guidelines

Site-Wide Layout

12 Guidelines

On-Site Search

50 Guidelines

Search Query Types

12 Guidelines

Search Form & Logic

10 Guidelines

Search Autocomplete

8 Guidelines

Results Logic & Guidance

8 Guidelines

Results Layout & Filtering

12 Guidelines

Product Lists & Filtering

95 Guidelines

List Layout

7 Guidelines

Loading Products

6 Guidelines

List Items: Product Info & Thumbnails

20 Guidelines

List Items: Product Info

11 Guidelines

List Items: Product Thumbnails

9 Guidelines

List Items: Interface & Hit Areas

11 Guidelines

Filtering: Available Filters

10 Guidelines

Filtering: Scope & Logic

14 Guidelines

Filtering: Interface & Layout

11 Guidelines

Sorting

11 Guidelines

Comparison Tool

5 Guidelines

Product Page

95 Guidelines

Product Page Layout

10 Guidelines

Product Images

11 Guidelines

Image Gallery UI

12 Guidelines

The 'Buy' Section

9 Guidelines

Shipping, Returns, and Gifting

7 Guidelines

Product Variations

9 Guidelines

Product Descriptions

10 Guidelines

Specifications Sheet

5 Guidelines

User Reviews

13 Guidelines

Cross-Sells & Cross-Navigation

9 Guidelines

Cart & Checkout

131 Guidelines

Shopping Cart & "Added to Cart" Behavior

10 Guidelines

Account Selection & Creation

9 Guidelines

Customer & Address Information

12 Guidelines

Gifting Flow & Features

5 Guidelines

Shipping & Store Pickup

11 Guidelines

Payment Flow & Methods (Incl. Third-Party)

8 Guidelines

Credit Card Form

10 Guidelines

Order Review

5 Guidelines

Order Confirmation & E-Mail

4 Guidelines

Form & Page Design

10 Guidelines

User Interactions & Distractions

10 Guidelines

Cross-Sells

4 Guidelines

Validation Errors & Data Persistence

10 Guidelines

Field Labels & Microcopy

7 Guidelines

Field Design & Features

8 Guidelines

Default Values & Autocompletion

8 Guidelines

Customer Accounts

40 Guidelines

Account Drop-Down

7 Guidelines

Account Dashboard

6 Guidelines

Account Sign In

6 Guidelines

'Your Account': Addresses, Payments, & Newsletters

13 Guidelines

Account-Wide Navigation, Structure, & Information

8 Guidelines

Order Tracking & Returns

25 Guidelines

Orders & Order Tracking

14 Guidelines

Order Returns

11 Guidelines

Mobile E-Commerce

205 Guidelines

Mobile Homepage

8 Guidelines

Main Navigation & Categories

21 Guidelines

Main Navigation

6 Guidelines

Category Taxonomy

10 Guidelines

Category Pages

5 Guidelines

Mobile On-Site Search

23 Guidelines

Autocomplete

7 Guidelines

Query Types

8 Guidelines

Design & Logic

8 Guidelines

Product List

43 Guidelines

Mobile Product List Layout & Features

18 Guidelines

Mobile Filtering

7 Guidelines

Mobile List Item Content

18 Guidelines

Mobile Product Pages

19 Guidelines

Mobile Checkout

47 Guidelines

Shopping Cart

4 Guidelines

Account Selection & Creation

7 Guidelines

User Info

7 Guidelines

Payment

12 Guidelines

Shipping & Store Pickup

6 Guidelines

Order Review & Confirmation

9 Guidelines

Layout & Features

2 Guidelines

Mobile Forms

25 Guidelines

Form Fields

10 Guidelines

Field Validation

8 Guidelines

Input Optimization

7 Guidelines

Mobile Site-Wide Features & Elements

19 Guidelines

26 Direct To Consumer Sites
What’s This?

We’ve conducted a Direct To Consumer UX benchmark, assessing 25 DTC sites across the 500+ UX guidelines our research shows are most applicable to Direct To Consumer websites. You can view the site’s UX performance in the graph above, which summarizes 12,600+ weighted UX performance scores.

You can expand each theme and topic in the graph above for an in-depth view of the ‘current state’ of Direct To Consumer website UX performances. (scroll down to access the in-depth case-studies for each of the 25 sites)

This is a sub-set of the full benchmark which includes 63 e-commerce sites.
Explore UX Benchmark


25 Direct-To-Consumer UX Case-Studies

You can explore our in-depth UX case-studies of the below 25 Direct To Consumer e-commerce sites. In total these contain 12,600+ UX performance scores and 6,700+ best practice examples from DTC websites.

Gucci

Performance: 55.5

Pay special attention to:

Product Page

Cart & Checkout

Van Cleef & Arpels

Performance: 52.8

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Customer Accounts

Louis Vuitton

Performance: 51.0

Pay special attention to:

Product Page

Customer Accounts

TAG Heuer

Performance: 51.0

Pay special attention to:

Product Page

On-Site Search

Adidas

Performance: 49.2

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Product Lists & Filtering

Chanel

Performance: 48.8

Pay special attention to:

Product Lists

On-Site Search

Jimmy Choo

Performance: 46.2

Pay special attention to:

Product Page

Customer Accounts

Marks & Spencer

Performance: 44.0

Pay special attention to:

On-Site Search

Order Tracking & Returns

Apple

Performance: 42.2

Pay special attention to:

Order Tracking & Returns

On-Site Search

Bang & Olufsen

Performance: 39.7

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

On-Site Search

IKEA

Performance: 36.0

Pay special attention to:

Product Page

Product Lists & Filtering

L.L. Bean

Performance: 35.9

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Mobile E-Commerce

American Eagle

Performance: 34.0

Pay special attention to:

Cart & Checkout

Order Tracking & Returns

H&M

Performance: 33.2

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Order Tracking & Returns

Nike

Performance: 33.1

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Customer Accounts

GAP

Performance: 29.5

Pay special attention to:

Cart & Checkout

Customer Accounts

LEGO

Performance: 28.3

Pay special attention to:

Cart & Checkout

On-Site Search

Victoria’s Secret

Performance: 28.2

Pay special attention to:

Cart & Checkout

Order Tracking & Returns

Dell

Performance: 26.9

Pay special attention to:

Product Page

Order Tracking & Returns

Ann Taylor

Performance: 25.9

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Customer Accounts

HP

Performance: 23.6

Pay special attention to:

Product Lists & Filtering

On-Site Search

Disney Store

Performance: 23.1

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Order Tracking & Returns

Microsoft

Performance: 10.2

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

Product Lists & Filtering

Thermo Fisher

Performance: 0.3

Pay special attention to:

Accounts & Self Service

Cart & Checkout

Berlin Packaging

Performance: -11.3

Pay special attention to:

On-Site Search

Homepage & Category

Hitachi

Performance: -38.0

Pay special attention to:

Homepage & Category

On-Site Search

YourSite.com?

Want to know how your site performs?

Get Premium access to review your own site or have it audited by Baymard researchers.

View All Case-Studies


Get Full Access to our DTC UX research with Baymard Premium

PAID RESEARCH CONTENT

With Baymard Premium you get access to 500+ Direct To Consumer relevant UX guidelines, 12,600+ UX performance scores and 6,700+ best practice examples from Direct To Consumer sites. On top of this you also get access to 83,000+ best practice examples and 119,000+ UX performance scores from other industries - sometimes the best designs and ideas comes by looking outside your own industry.

Learn more about Baymard Premium access


Direct To Consumer UX Audit

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 site.

The audit provides you with a detailed external review of your site’s UX performance across 500+ UX parameters, as well as a detailed UX performance comparison against 25 other Direct To Consumer sites and against general ‘State of the Art’ sites. The UX audit also provides you with 40 prioritized suggestions for UX improvements, each with best-practice implementation examples from other Direct To Consumer sites.

Learn more about DTC UX audits


What Our Clients are Saying

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.

Google Logo

“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.

Ōura Ring Logo

“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.

Lenovo Logo

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

Harley-Davidson Logo

“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.

GE Healthcare Logo

“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!

TaylorMade Golf Logo

“Every day of the training was accompanied by a list of discoveries that I could directly design solutions for into my site. 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. Being able to have Christian and Lauryn from Baymard Institute look over my shoulder and give me feedback and direction based on the 28,000 hours of independent research that their organization has done was incredibly helpful.

Jarden Consumer Solutions Logo

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

V-ZUG Logo

“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.

Hyatt Logo

“I’m an avid user of your reports and recommendations. I have leveraged your articles and findings for my previous B2B work at Grainger, B2C work at Ulta, and now I’m at Hyatt. Thanks

Deloitte Digital Logo

“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.

Zenbooth Logo

“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.

Keurig Green Mountain Logo

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

prAna Logo

“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.

DSW Logo

“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!

Huge 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.

Avast Logo

“We have recently tested some of your recommendations for the Avast checkout and got some great wins!

Kohl’s Logo

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

Nutrisystem Logo

“The recommendations in our Checkout Usability Audit were awesome - well prioritized, actionable and helped us focus on what to optimize. This audit, along with the e-Commerce Usability Reports & Benchmark Databases, are my go-to resources for thorough, insightful information. Thank you!

Wrench Inc. Logo

“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!

Patch.Garden Logo

“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.

Boxed Logo

“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.

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!

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.

SiteOne Landscape Supply Logo

“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.

John Lewis Logo

“The Baymard team has been a delight to work with on the JohnLewis digital platform audit for 2020. 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.

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.

Microchip Logo

“A great presentation, and the results were very eye-opening. It's really helpful.

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.

Overstock Inc. Logo

“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.

B&H Photo & Electronics Corp. Logo

“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.

Shopify Logo

“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.

Clicktale Logo

“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!

Author of 'Don't Make Me Think' Logo

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

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.

T-Mobile / Deutsche Telekom AG Logo

“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.

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.

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.

Smashing Magazine Logo

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

S3 Stores Logo

“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!

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.

Carnival Cruise Lines Logo

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

n11.com Logo

“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.

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.

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.

@digital_darts

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

IATV Logo

“Worth every dollar. It’s well done, good looking and simply very useful.

iProspect Logo

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

Purch Logo

“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.

RepairClinic.com Logo

“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.

Solutionists Logo

“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.

Fast Growing Trees Logo

“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.

@aquazie

“after benchmarking checkouts for a couple of hours last week... this resource is magical http://t.co/ISKOfyGE

Dekode Logo

“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!

Bed Bath & Beyond Logo

“Absolutely superb training! I'm genuinely impressed with how much I learned in 5 days. I would highly recommend this training to anyone who wants to learn how to create state of art e-commerce user experiences.

Author of 'Feed A Starving Crowd' Logo

“We implemented these guidelines on a client's website and our e-commerce conversion rate increased 18.7% across the board. Most importantly out mobile conversions increased from 0.89% to 1.9% – we doubled our mobile revenue.

Bell Canada Logo

“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.

Bosch Thermotechnology Logo

“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.

Capital One Logo

“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.

Apptus Logo

“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.

Integer Logo

“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.

Ace Hardware Logo

“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.

WCR Window Cleaning Resource Logo

“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.


Test Methodology

This UX research on direct to consumer sites is part of Baymard Institute’s full 71,000+ hours of large scale research catalog, which is based on:

  • Usability Testing: 12 rounds of qualitative usability testing with 1,900+ test subject/site sessions following the "Think Aloud" protocol (mainly in-person 1:1 moderated lab usability testing).This includes testing both larger brands with DTC websites such as Adidas, American Apparel, Apple, H&M, IKEA, Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, Under Armour, Bose, JBL, KitchenAid, Cole Haan, Herschel, L’Occitane, Patagonia) and smaller niche DTC brands (Allbirds, Caraway, Daniel Wellington, Equal Parts, Farer, Great Jones, Greats, Maya Chia, Mahalo Care, Milo, Mirror, mvmt, Monastery Made, Tempo, Tonal, Thousand Fell, etc.
  • Manual benchmarking: 27 rounds of benchmarking the world’s 93 top-grossing e-commerce sites across 550+ UX guidelines (83,000+ implementation examples and 119,000+ UX performance scores).
  • In-lab eye-tracking testing.
  • Quantitative studies: 9 studies with a total of 14,453 participants.

Baymard’s research methodology is described in detail here.