Sephora Checkout Redesign
Client: Sephora
Role: Sr Director of UX
Size: 2 Designers/ 2 PMs
Duration: 4 months

The Problem

Though beauty chain Sephora is widely viewed as a disruptor when it comes to digital retailing, one place where they lagged behind other eCommerce sites was in the poorly designed, badly architected and overall confusing checkout flow.

I led the UX design team’s efforts to research user pain points, understand best practices, conduct benchmark studies of our competitors’ checkout flow, and work closely with product management to ideate and iterate on solutions.

The Results

After the redesign

  • We ranked #10 out of 50 sites they studied*

  • Our overall score increased by 43%

  • We earned ‘State of the Art’ designations in 5 categories

  • Our new checkout flow adhered to 74 usability guidelines established by Baymard Institute

  • Default Values & Autocomplete

Pain Points

Sephora’s Checkout UX scored an overall performance of 251 on the Baymard Institute’s cart and checkout benchmark. Some of Sephora’s biggest checkout usability issues were due to

  • Poor Layout
  • Broken Focus
  • Broken Data Input
Baymard score before redesign
Sephora Checkout 2012
Design Strategy

Usability Testing

75 subjects | functional prototype | Think Aloud protocol

Goal: to examine the full breadth of checkout behavior & present issues most likely to cause abandonment.


Usability benchmark of main competitors

Using 134 checkout usability guidelines from: Baymard usability tests, we noted areas where our flow was sub-par.


3 rounds of A/B testing with customers

We tested multiple billing & shipping designs, iterated on user-friendly Captachs and used Google Analytics to understand customer behavior.

Sephora Checkout Flow
The Result

We ranked State of the Art in 5 categories:

  • Order Review

  • User Attention & Interactions

  • Form Design & Features

  • Field Design & Features

  • Default Values & Autocomplete

Baymard score after redesign

Strong Process

Though it may be counterintuitive, process is the key to creative thinking. When the design team understands the stages a design will travel as it is researched, ideated, conceptualized, tested and iterated, they are free to expand their creativity within those boundaries.