The internet is now home to approximately 1.2 billion websites, with 12 to 24 million of them dedicated to e-commerce.
E-commerce's rapid expansion shows no signs of slowing down, which is excellent news for the industry. However, with this growth comes increased competition for those already operating in e-commerce. The more competitors you have, the more options potential customers have to choose from.
In today's e-commerce landscape, making a sale goes beyond merely offering the best price and the shortest delivery time.
This is where user experience (UX) plays a critical role, as a staggering 42% of users will leave a website due to poor functionality.
Conducting tests on a new product page before making it public can save you from losing nearly half of your potential customers.
Why should you test a page before launching it?
Web development for e-commerce websites can be time-consuming, especially when dealing with a large inventory of products. It's understandable that you might consider bypassing the testing phase to save time. After all, you've reviewed the website, right? The pages load smoothly, and the images look fantastic. What could possibly go wrong?
In reality, many things can go wrong:
⦁ Page loading speed variations
The page loading speed can vary depending on the user's location, device, and internet connection.
⦁ Security issues
Security testing is crucial, especially when handling payment transactions. Cutting corners in this area is never advisable.
⦁ New bugs
Even well-established websites can encounter new bugs when adding a new page. This underscores the importance of testing every page, old or new.
⦁ Extension or plugin integrations
If you use extensions or plugins (e.g., with WordPress/WooCommerce), regular testing of integrations is necessary. For instance, if you utilise the HubSpot WordPress Plugin for conversion tracking, you must ensure it functions correctly on all pages.
⦁ Catalogue inconsistencies
When publishing new pages, catalogue inconsistencies can arise.
While launching an entirely new e-commerce website warrants numerous tests, the process becomes more straightforward when adding a new product page.
While it's recommended to regularly test as many aspects as possible, you can't spend weeks on every single page you need to publish.
Three Essential Tests Before Publishing a New Page
E-commerce pages are comprised of various elements, such as product descriptions, customisation options, filters, product images and videos, reviews, and review videos. To ensure a seamless user experience, here are three tests you should perform before publishing a new page.
1. Video upload quality
Visual content has a significant impact on shoppers, with 92% stating that visuals influence their purchasing decisions.
In addition, 64% are more likely to make a purchase after watching a product video, and video reviews have an even better reputation, with 84% of viewers willing to buy after watching them.
However, for these statistics to translate into higher conversions, it's crucial to ensure videos are displayed correctly.
Here's what to check before publishing a video:
⦁ Export the video in the right format, as failing to do so can prevent non-administrative users from viewing it.
⦁ Confirm that the page still functions when multiple users are simultaneously watching the video; using a caching tool or plugin can be beneficial in this regard.
⦁ Ensure the compression rate is suitable to maintain video quality and page speed.
⦁ For videos hosted on platforms like YouTube, verify that the privacy settings are correctly configured to ensure accessibility.
2. Impact of branding and fonts
Regularly tweaking your website's appearance is common and recommended to engage and convert visitors. However, even minor changes, such as altering fonts, can lead to unexpected issues:
⦁ Unexpected layout shifts can occur, disrupting the user experience. You can address this by using CSS to specify a fallback system font.
⦁ Cumulative layout shifts are problematic as well, often resulting from dynamically loaded fonts changing rendering behaviour. This can lead to a jarring experience for users.
⦁ Fonts that aren't loaded properly can cause certain elements to default to generic fonts. Ensuring font consistency is crucial.
⦁ Different browsers may react differently when fonts are unavailable, with some hiding text for several seconds before displaying a system font. It's important to test your page across various browsers.
⦁ Changing fonts can also impact page loading speed, so it's advisable to measure the page speed before and after making font changes.
3. Handling product reviews
Customer reviews play a vital role in ecommerce, with 90% of shoppers reading reviews before making a purchase. Moreover, 83% of them believe reviews must be relevant and recent to be trustworthy. Therefore, adding reviews to product pages and continually updating them is essential. However, the process of adding reviews can introduce complications:
⦁ Manually adding reviews may result in improper display; a reviews plugin is a practical solution, simplifying the process.
⦁ If you aim to post reviews from third-party platforms like Yelp or Trustpilot, check if they display correctly. Some ad blockers may interfere with review display on the live website, even if they appear fine during the preview.
⦁ Redirects can impact the display of reviews. Review plugins may fail to work if there are manual redirects in place.
As your e-commerce store grows
As your online store expands, manual testing becomes impractical, especially if you're publishing numerous new pages on a weekly or daily basis.
Fortunately, automated visual testing can streamline the process. With automated solutions, you can test hundreds of pages daily, allowing for scalable growth without compromising the user experience.
In summary, adding new pages to your e-commerce website can introduce various challenges, and even maintaining your website for an extended period can lead to issues. Plugins need updates, and integrations require periodic checks.
To prevent potential users from being deterred by a poor UX, rigorous testing is essential. While it may extend your go-to-market timeline, it's far preferable to launching a glitchy page and losing nearly half of your potential customers.
Furthermore, the more you test, the more efficient the process becomes, especially when automated testing is implemented.
Looking to ensure your e-commerce site shines? Reach out to the experts at EWM for the most unique and effective web design solutions.