Have you ever visited an online store that looks like it accidently launched in the middle of construction? For many merchants, it’s no accident. New storeowners may sometimes be unaware of everything that should be tested before their store goes live.
From device compatibility to creating user scenarios, this article covers all of the essential tests to guarantee a successful launch. Once you finish reading, you’ll know how to effectively switch from “Pardon our dust” to “Open for business!”
1. COMPATIBILITY & RESPONSIVENESS
The first thing to check on any website before launching is its compatibility and responsiveness, to ensure customers will be able to browse the store with every program and on every device available to them.
- Browser Compatibility: a browser compatibility test, such as the one available at CrossBrowserTesting, will check if your site is compatible on all of these browsers: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.
- Website Responsiveness: a responsiveness test, like the one offered at ResponsiveTest, will display your website on screen sizes of the most popular desktops, tablets and phones to ensure your website displays beautifully on all of them.
Next, double, triple and quadruple check your site’s content. And by content, I mean anything that visitors can see, read and hear. Confusing or unprofessional site content could affect your store’s credibility and negatively impact your sales, so make sure to review:
- Spelling and grammar errors
- Formatting and homogeneity of the paragraphs, lists, and headings
- Company contact information
- Image sizes, positions, and usefulness
- Product information, prices, descriptions, images, sizes available, etc.
Because your store is an interactive experience, it is not enough to just look at your pages to test if they are spot-on, you must interact with them and play with different scenarios. Here is a list of situations to double check to make sure the basic functionalities are working properly:
- Click on every link, button, image or text to make sure it takes you to the right page.
- Check that external links, such as social media links, open on a separate tab or window.
- Create test customer accounts.
- Place test orders using all the payment methods you have available.
- Delete the test orders once you are ready to launch.
- If you have a Multilanguage store, test the different languages.
- If you sell internationally, test the different currencies.
4. USER EXPERIENCE (BONUS!)
An extra step to test before your online store’s successful launch is user experience, or in other words, ensuring that the journey within your website flows correctly. There are three levels at which you can test user experience. Run these tests every time you make a significant change on your website.
- Test it yourself. Imagine that you are a customer that first visits the store. Ask yourself questions. Create situations to test user experiences such as finding relevant information, purchasing or searching for a specific product.
- Have your friends test it. Watch them navigate your site and ask them to execute certain actions or find specific pieces of information. Try to capture moments in which they get stuck and why they do so. Sometimes, even a simple modification in content, like a clearer call to action, can help solve these “stuck moments” and significantly improve your user experience.
- Have a professional service test it. User testing through websites such as UserTesting.com are a great investment. The concept of their test is the same as the one above, but the difference is that your website will be tested by many different participants. This will help you confirm that your concept and messages are easily understandable throughout the user journey on your online Store.
5. THE LAUNCH
That’s it - you are now ready to launch! PrestaShop users, can activate your Online Store from your back-office, under the “Preferences / Maintenance” page, and setting the “Enable Shop” option to YES. Congratulations! Your store is officially open for business.
Not a PrestaShop merchant? Download PrestaShop to start launching your online store.