We have written several articles with the aim of offering help for self-help. It could be about keeping WooCommerce and plugins up to date or guides to troubleshooting in WooCommerce. Other times we got a bit more specific, when we wrote about subscriptions, pending payment orders or to not display prices with zero decimals.
Try to stay one step ahead
There is a fairly simple and basic thing that we haven’t written about up to this point. Namely to regularly control and test so that your WooCommerce store works as it should. Make checks so that your customers actually experience the store the way you want them to experience it. It may sound time-consuming and complicated with “checks”, “controls” and “tests”, but it’s really just about making a purchase in your store.
The vast majority of merchants do a number of such tests when the store is first set up. We dare to say that there is no one who configures their shop and opens it up for purchases, without personally checking that everything works. But how many continue to perform these tests? As long as everything works, it works, right?
But what happens when it no longer works? Depending on the type of problem, the time it takes to detect the issue can vary. With the consequence that you lose income if it is not possible to complete a purchase. It can also lead to customer frustration, which can also result in lost revenue.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you are the one who discovers the errors, big or small? A perfect customer discovers an error, tells you about it, and then places their purchase when the problem is fixed. But it’s probably pretty safe to assume that unless you’re completely unique with your product, most people who run into a problem will look elsewhere to buy from. Testing your shop yourself is no guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong, but you have greater opportunities to reduce the risks.
Make test purchases
As we mentioned earlier, the checks don’t have to be more complicated than buying something from yourself. This can be done, for example, with test credentials in a staging environment. But sometimes it can actually be good to make a real purchase for real money. Then there are no question marks, then you have exactly the same experience as your customers.
How you choose to do a test by making a real purchase is up to you. Creating a cheap product, or if you create a discount code, are examples of approaches. Making a purchase that you then refund is another way. This way you test several things at the same time. Especially if you make several purchases, using different methods.
Now that you have tested that the customer experience is as you want it to be, it may be good to take the opportunity to do some additional checks. Compare your order so that it matches the order data available when you log in to your payment service provider. Are all the sums correct? Are the VAT and shipping correct? Was it registered that you chose a different delivery address?
Do you have an ERP system connected to your store? Make the same checks there as you do with your payment service provider. Double check that all order data is correct.
Was the shipping correct? Depending on how your store is set up and how advanced your shipping options are, these controls may look different of course. But if your customers have the opportunity to choose a shipping supplier and/or delivery point, this is also a flow you should keep yourself up to date on.
Understand the customer experience
Checking the flow of your WooCommerce store yourself is not only good for finding possible errors. It can also be about something as simple as understanding the flow. WooCommerce, WordPress, themes and plugins are updated. Continuous development takes place on all components of a WooCommerce store. Sometimes this causes conflicts between plugins that were previously compatible. In the same way that a conflict can arise in connection with an update, the same conflict can be resolved in connection with the release of a new version. Other times, there may have been changes at the payment provider, which makes things look a little different.
Avoid unpleasant surprises by first updating in your staging environment.
The more knowledge you have about how your customers experience your store, the greater the chance that you can quickly answer any questions. Or make changes to fix problems, or just make improvements. You gain quite a bit by spending a few minutes making a purchase every now and then.