Usability is a prerequisite for e-commerce success. If people cannot shop, then the site won't sell a thing. It doesn't matter how cheap the products are if people can't find them or if they get stuck on a step in the checkout process.
True, usability does not guarantee success for an e-commerce site. If prices are too high, people won't buy even if it is easy to navigate the site. But usability is one of the most important determinants for the success of an e-commerce site, especially considering how cheap it is to include basic usability methods in a project.
This report presents general findings regarding the relation between usability and e-commerce, including the following issues:
Why users abandon e-commerce sites. Users often feel powerless or overwhelmed while they are visiting a site, and other sites are just a click away.
The success rate for online shopping tasks. The results of our own usability studies compared with those presented in several other reports.
Domestic versus international success rates. Sites are so difficult to use for non-native speakers that improvements in international usability count as one of the greatest opportunities for increasing e-commerce sales. An entire report in this series (International Users) is devoted to international usability issues.
Scorecard for compliance with our design guidelines. Amazon.com follows 72% of the 207 guidelines we have documented. Other big sites' scores are lower, and smaller sites have horrible usability.
Different types of usability guidelines. How to develop your own domain- specific guidelines.
Budgets for usability in Web projects. What other companies spend, and how best to apply your usability budget to increase sales and user loyalty.