Today’s consumers expect a lot from their online shopping experiences: speedy site performance, easy store navigation, great product display and pricing, and a simple and secure checkout process. That’s it??? Le sigh. 

Luckily, we make it easy to deliver on all of their demands and keep them coming back for more. One of the best ways to ensure your shoppers are satisfied is to periodically test your store’s UX (user experience), especially after you’ve integrated new Volusion features or add-ons. 

(To understand more about how to install and change Volusion-supported features, check out our Knowledge Base articles on API and config variables.)

What to Look For

The testing process is the same whether you're assessing a Volusion solution or a third-party add-on. All you need to do is step into your customer’s shoes and spend some time shopping your store. 👠

Before you begin, make sure to logout of your admin account, so you can see your online store the way a customer does. Once you're viewing your store as a customer, start by adding an item or two to your cart. When you're finished, go to your shopping cart page to see a list of items you’ve added to your cart, along with their total costs and quantities. Make sure the contents of your cart display correctly before clicking Proceed to Checkout.

There are a few things to pay close attention to while you're "shopping." We'll cover each of them in detail below.

Registration ✏️️

Enter your billing and shipping information so that the cart can calculate tax and shipping estimates. Additionally, you should make sure the option to register appears if you want to shoppers to have the option to create saved accounts for future logins!

(When entering the contact information for your test order, be sure to use a valid and accessible email address. You’ll be accessing that email account later to confirm receipt of the Order Confirmation to Customer email!)

Shipping 🚚

Once you've entered address information for the order, make sure that all of your shipping methods appear in the shipping rates menu!

If any of your shipping methods have price or weight limitations, modify the contents of your cart to make sure that they change accordingly. If everything is looking shipshape (ha!), it's time to move on to taxes!

Tax

Make sure your store is charging tax whenever applicable. Since tax is based on a shopper’s location, your tax totals will display once a shopper has entered a shipping address. To see the tax being charged on an order, just take a peek at the order summary box on the checkout page!

Payment 💸

Getting paid for your merchandise is the most important part of the entire checkout process, so testing the functionality of your payment methods is crucial!

Click the Payment Method menu to make sure all your active payment methods appear as available options. If you offer payment through another provider, like PayPal, be sure to test that payment process by placing a separate order.

Once you've selected a payment method, make sure the proper fields appear so that customers can complete their payment information. If the necessary fields do not populate for any payment method, the method may not be configured correctly.

If you accept credit cards as payment, you'll want to make sure that payments go through smoothly when submitting an order. If you receive an error message when submitting a credit card payment, you may not have completely configured your payment processing gateway or card types. An expired or missing SSL certificate may also be the culprit when credit card payments fail!

Order Placement 

Once you click Place Order to submit payment, you should be redirected to your Order Finished page. Depending on the payment method you chose, there may be additional instructions that display on this page.

If you want to get a little more personal, you can customize much of the content that appears on your Order Finished page by editing various articles at Design > Site Content in your Admin Area!

Confirmation Email Delivery 💌

It’s important to finalize a sale by sending the customer a copy of their order details as an electronic receipt. (And for their peace of mind!) 

If you used a valid email address when placing this test order, you should received an order confirmation email. You'll also receive a confirmation email as the merchant! 

Order Cancellation 🙅

Once you've thoroughly tested the checkout process, you should void any authorized amounts and cancel any test orders. (Don't want to cost yourself money!) 

If you really want to get crazy, you can take this opportunity to create an RMA and walk through the full return process using your test order!

Be Thorough

Be aware that customers may be using different types of computers (Who’s a Mac or PC person? 🖥️ ) and different browsers, like Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari. Your storefront may render differently depending on your customers’ preferences.

You should test your store in all supported browsers, including older versions. If your store isn’t looking right or functioning on certain versions, either try to troubleshoot it yourself, work with a programmer to find a fix, or put a note on your storefront recommending that shoppers update their browsers.

As you move through your store, make notes of things you would like to update about your store’s messaging and design. Many of these can be easily updated using the hover-over and HTML quick-edit tools once you are logged back into your Admin Area.

You'll want to be sure to check the entire checkout process, too. 💳  Volusion’s one-page checkout is designed to make transactions smooth and simple. But it's good to test the whole experience to discover any lags or confusing elements that may be causing customers to leave before completing their order.

Get Selling!

Now that you've tested your checkout process, you're ready to start selling! As always, our Support team is available 24/7 to help troubleshoot any issues by phone, chat, or ticket. Good luck!

Summary

As a store owner, it's important to keep your finger on the pulse of every aspect of your business, including the shopping process. Taking the time to do regular audits of your store can help you pinpoint problems and optimize the user experience. This ultimately means happier customers and more sales. Woot! 🎉

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