A groundbreaking and detailed analysis of the 7 top-performing E-commerce worldwide websites reveals important insights into how the likes of Wayfair,Sears and Home Depot are converting visitors into customers using ecommerce UX best practices.
Using advanced data analysis and other research techniques, the Baymard Institute invested 42,000+ hours of user research into identifying both usability issues on websites, and the UX factors that can lead to high sales.
From this intensive research, Baymard ranked 60 websites according to 610 separate ecommerce elements.
Ecommerce UX is pivotal to the success of the best online shops in the world
Some of the names of this list of outstanding ecommerce businesses may be unfamiliar. However, their success in this pivotal study illuminates the complexities and priorities of UX.
In investigating the leading ecommerce UX design in this benchmarking exercise, it becomes clear that ease of content scanning and navigation figure highly.
This home improvement retailer scored well across all the key markers identified by this ecommerce UX study. However, it particularly ‘shone’ with its On-Site Search and Product Pages.
Clearly, these pages require considerable planning and polished UX delivery to connect website visitors to what they want or need; quickly!
The site’s drop-down menus and navigation aids are effective, and the product pages use strong logic in their layout.
Search result filtering is thorough and easy to use too. Look how well white space is used for clarity, and how well the ‘add to cart’ button stands out
Home Depot’s Accounts and Self Service ‘dipped’ to mediocre in the research, as they did with Second-placed B&H Photo. (Which makes you wonder if even the big players could do more to reduce abandoned online shopping carts.)
B&H Photo sells electrical goods and audio-visual equipment. It attracted high scores for its Home Page; often the ‘doorway’ to successful ecommerce conversion.
It’s fascinating to see just how much information is packed in, but in a crisp, clean way that leaves the crucial content ‘above the fold’.
B&H Photo also had an excellent search function – something all users value highly of course.
What put North American ecommerce site Crutchfield into third place? This company scored well on its vital product pages, and also did well on the various elements of its Homepage.
The electrical equipment retailer dropped ‘points’ on its On-Site Search and Accounts & Self-Service.
The filtering interface and layout of product thumbnails and information make shopping online straightforward with Crutchfield.
This includes providing excellent and clear specifications and features, with such support content at ‘free Shipping’ unmissable.
UX excellence now rests firmly on maximising sites for mobile phones. Furniture and décor store Wayfair’s limited success in offering a responsive website was a ‘black mark’, despite being fourth in the study.
Its saving graces included proficient use of ecommerce search functions.
Scan your eye across the search results on Wayfair’s site and every product stands proud. If you need assistance, the call to action button is unmissable.
Interesting, the autocomplete suggestions on this ecommerce site – in common with other top performers – apply strong logic. It’s the finer detail that can substantially boost UX.
Homepage and Category features were among the measures that L.L. Bean excelled at, to achieve fifth place in the assessment of eCommerce UX performance.
For such a well-stocked online shopping platform, L.L. Bean keeps its homepage and category mapping relatively simple.
It’s easy on the eye and intuitive, and the Homepage drop-down menus make navigation ‘top-level’. You can find the exact item you want in a matter of a few simple steps.
Commendation for Homepage clarity also boosted Sears performance in the study. However, this company – which sells a diverse ‘department store’ product range – was ranked particularly poorly for its Accounts & Self Service pages.
The Sears Homepage is relatively busy, but it directs the attention of website visitors using a layered black grid. It’s a design device that allows added value statements to stand out in the company’s content.
The standards of its onsite search lets this outdoor clothing and equipment company down somewhat. However, the evaluation of its UX performance found better news for its all-important Home Page.
Look how visually appealing and simplistic the content is, inviting visitors to progress smoothly through a highly efficient navigation system. This includes easy to locate links to product category pages, expert advice, shop services and even instructional classes.
Target, build.com and J.C. Penney also made it into the list of the top 7 ecommerce sites based on this detailed UX research evaluation.
The latter two had strong Home Pages, but interestingly it was Target’s Cart and Checkout page that shone out, making up for a less than glowing report on its Home Page.
One of the take-homes from all this is that even the big companies with deep pockets can use ecommerce UX research to make improvements, and to assess where ecommerce conversion success originates; and falters!
Credit to Baymard for providing the research used in this article.