Understanding Mobile E-Commerce UX: 5 Overarching Issues
How do you design a user-friendly shopping experience for a 5-6 inch screen?
Mobile traffic has soared in recent years and now often constitute 50% of all traffic on many e-commerce sites. However, it’s not uncommon for mobile e-commerce sites to still have a significantly poorer conversion rate than their desktop counterpart – in some cases converting less than half as many visitors into customers.
At Baymard we’d conducted the worlds most comprehensive research study of mobile e-comemrce UX - spanning more than 20,000 hours only testing mobile user behavior. This mobile usability study examines how the touch interface, the small screen, and user’s mobile behavior introduce a whole host of pitfalls to watch out for when designing and running a mobile e-commerce site.
Despite testing the mobile sites of 50+ of the largest e-commerce players in the world, the test subjects encountered a staggering 3,600+ mobile-related usability issues during the test sessions. These usability issues have been analyzed and distilled into 340+ mobile UX 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.
This page provides you an overview of our research specific to Mobile E-commerce UX. All of this research is available as part of Baymard Premium.
Based on the findings from the qualitative usability research study we’ve also benchmarked the full mobile user experience of 60 of the largest US and European mobile sites. This provides you with 9,000+ worst- and best-practice mobile UX examples, and 12,300+ mobile UX performance scores.
The UX benchmark of the 60 major mobile e-commerce sites provides a clear picture of the general state of mobile e-commerce performance, and identifies common design flaws as well as strategic oversights and opportunities.
Mobile Main Navigation & Categories
Mobile On-Site Search
Design & Logic
Mobile Product List
Mobile Product List Layout & Features
Mobile List Item Content
Mobile Product Pages
Mobile Product Page Layout
Mobile User Reviews
Layout & Features
Account Selection & Creation
Shipping & Store Pickup
Order Review & Confirmation
Mobile Site-Wide Features & Elements
The Mobile E-Commerce UX performance for the average top-grossing US and European e-commerce site is “mediocre”, with none of the mobile sites benchmarked having a “decent” or “good” UX implementation and performance. This leaves nearly all sites in a tight cluster of 52% “mediocre” (or worse), and 48% “acceptable”. That said, while there aren’t any standout performances, there are also very few “poor” or outright broken experiences.
In comparison, in most of the other e-commerce UX studies we’ve conducted at Baymard Institute the average UX performance also amounts to “mediocre”, but also tends to have a wider spread of variation and performance scores.
This benchmark dataset thus shows that there’s ample room for improvements when looking within the specific topics of the mobile user experience — in particularly the UX within Mobile Homepage, Mobile Main Navigation & Categories, Mobile On-Site Search, Mobile Forms, and Mobile Sitewide Features & Elements. These topics carry issues for many sites, and also include some “missed opportunities” for the e-commerce industry as a whole. Also, note that this is an analysis of the average performance across 60 top-grossing US and European e-commerce sites. When analyzing a specific site there’s nearly always a handful of critical UX issues along with a larger collection of worthwhile improvements — this is the case even when we conduct usability audits for Fortune 500 companies.
In Baymard Premium we provide an in-depth walkthrough of the UX performance and competitive landscape within the 31 topics of Mobile E-Commerce UX, along with “missed opportunities” to be extra alert to.
Lastly, and most importantly, it’s worthwhile mentioning that the mobile platform is truly difficult to design for – the lack of screen real estate causes a dramatic loss of page overview for users (as described in this article). As a result, most of the best-performing solutions and patterns, including those identified in this study, are, in the end, still a compromise. They provide the best attainable results and mobile UX given the limitations of the mobile platform.
Explore the current mobile UX performance:
Explore design patterns across 949 page examples of mobile designs and features from leading e-commerce sites, all annotated and organized into 17 different page types. This is a great way to get inspiration for your own mobile design, and to get a feel for emerging trends in Mobile e-commerce .
We’ve released a small subset of the Premium research finding on Mobile UX for free in these articles:
All 340+ mobile UX research findings are available as part of Baymard Premium, and are divided into the following 31 topics (2,020 pages of research findings in total):
Get full access to all our Mobile E-Commerce UX research reports, mobile benchmarks, and page designs previewed here, along with our complete 750+ guidelines for Homepage & Category Navigation, Search, Product Listing, Product Details Page, Checkout, and Accounts & Self-Service. Utilize our 61,000+ hours of UX research to improve your mobile user experience and to document your UX decisions.
This research on Mobile UX is part of Baymard Institute’s full 61,000+ hours of large scale research catalog, which is based on:
Baymard’s research methodology is described in detail here.
What are the 30 most important changes you can make to your mobile e-commerce site?
We will put together a detailed report of the 30 most important usability improvements you can make to your mobile shopping experience.