Testing Your Store – Be Your Own Customer

Customers are placing orders on my store, but when I view the order the credit card details shows something about Test Mode?

I see customers are placing orders but I don’t receive the order confirmation email?

Why do some orders have shipping rates that are much too low?

We often receive questions like these when someone brings a new store online, and there is one thing that would have helped alert the store owner to problems ahead of time:


It’s critical to fully test your store prior to going live.  Stores go live all the time with errors that could have been avoided by thoroughly testing all aspects of the website.

Be Your Own Customer

Take some time to test your store as a new customer from start to finish:

  • Browse pages, add a product to the cart, change the quantity, search for a product, add another one to the cart – completely test what a new customer may do when they visit your website.
  • Make sure the shipping rates and options are working as expected and test all the payment options you provide.
  • If you support credit cards, PayPal, and Google Checkout – then place 3 orders, each one using a different payment option.
  • If you’re processing credit cards through a live payment processor like Authorize.net (and especially if your account is new) – then once you place your order make sure the transaction appears in your merchant account control panel, and that the money then transfers to your bank account correctly.

Your Shopping Cart & SSL

Watch for errors during the shopping process, or any messages that appear on the pages.  Also make sure that your secure checkout page, where the customer enters their credit card details, is secure.  The lock symbol should appear in your browser without any error messages.

If you see a message that something was insecure, review any extra code or images that you added to this page to make sure they all use secure (HTTPS) links.  Just one image loaded insecurely (with HTTP instead of HTTPS) will break the SSL lock in the browser and can display a warning to customers.

Links & Web Browsers

Check all links on your site to make sure they work correctly and test your website along with the order process in multiple web browsers.  While browsers such as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome, and Apple’s Safari, are all designed to view web sites, some minor differences in how a website is built can cause it to appear differently in each one.

Share With Friends!

When you feel you have everything working right – TEST AGAIN.  This time, have a friend or family member order something from your store.  They won’t be familiar with your website like you are, and may notice something that was missed, or may have a question about the order process that you didn’t think of since you’ve been working with your site for a while.

This round of testing will simulate what may happen when your first customers are arriving, and it’s a perfect time to catch some last minute errors or make changes that can make a customer’s experience easier.

Ready For Customers

While testing your store will not always catch every possible error or issue that may occur, it will provide you with the comfort of knowing that your store is ready for live customers and that everything from finding a product to receiving the order confirmation, is working exactly as planned.

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  1. Amir Arif says:

    Its really difficult to test own website. But it is a must thing to test it by own or with the help of friends or colleagues. Anyhow it is important to make sure the website before making it live as first impression can be last for visitor :)

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