The Ultimate Guide to Quality Control for Ecommerce Websites

Ecommerce is too competitive to have a website that doesn’t work as intended. In this guide, we review key steps for website quality control and assuring you deliver a top notch customer experience.

Ecommerce is too competitive to have a website that doesn’t work as intended. A website that works flawlessly and provides a great user experience is essential to success. With many features, apps, and core functionality of an ecommerce website, it can be tricky to keep the ship sailing smoothly.

Quality control is the process of ensuring that every aspect of the website is functioning correctly, and all features are working as intended. Implementing a quality control process helps ecommerce businesses ensure that their website is ready to provide the best user experience to their customers.

Quality control is not a one-time task; it should be an ongoing process throughout the website's development and beyond. Regular checks and audits should be conducted to ensure that the website continues to function optimally and that any new features or updates are implemented correctly.

Failing to implement proper quality control measures can have severe consequences for an ecommerce business. Poor quality control can lead to a range of problems, including:

  1. Lost Sales: Website errors, such as broken links, missing images, or incorrect product descriptions, can deter potential customers from making purchases, leading to lost sales.
  2. Negative Brand Image: A website that is slow, difficult to navigate, or riddled with errors can create a negative impression of the brand and reduce customer loyalty.
  3. Poor SEO: A website with errors or broken links can negatively impact search engine optimization (SEO), reducing the website's visibility on search engines.
  4. Legal Issues: Ecommerce websites need to comply with various legal requirements, such as privacy laws, data protection laws, and accessibility regulations. Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal issues and fines.

In short, poor quality control can lead to a range of issues that can harm an ecommerce business's reputation, revenue, and customer base. To avoid these consequences, it is essential to implement a robust quality control process for ecommerce websites.

In this article, we will share a process we use to perform quality control on a new ecommerce website, as well as an ongoing process to ensure quality control on an existing ecommerce website.

Pre-Launch Quality Control Checklist For Ecommerce Websites

As you gear up to launch your ecommerce website, it's crucial to perform pre-launch quality assurance (QA) testing to ensure your website's functionality, design, content, and performance meet your customers' expectations.

Functionality Testing

You should start by thoroughly testing your website's functionality to make sure everything works as expected. It might go without saying, but we always suggest starting QA on a live mobile device, then QA on a desktop device.

Here are some areas to focus on:

  • Homepage: Check that your homepage loads correctly and displays all the necessary elements, such as your logo, navigation menu, and featured products or promotions.
  • Navigation: Test all links in your navigation menu and make sure they direct users to the correct pages.
  • Search function: Ensure that your search function is working correctly and returning relevant results for search queries.
  • Product pages: Test all product pages to ensure they display accurate information, such as product descriptions, pricing, and availability. If you’ve designed your website with multiple product templates, ensure you check both.
  • Shopping cart: Make sure your shopping cart is working correctly and displaying all items added to it.
  • Checkout process: Test your checkout process to ensure it's easy to use and that all necessary fields are included. When you use Shopify, your checkout is mostly taken care of. Make sure you include your logo, brand colours, and easy-to-read typography in the checkout settings of your theme.
  • Contact page: Make sure your contact page displays all necessary contact information, such as phone number and email address, and that the contact form is functioning properly.

Design Testing

In addition to functionality, your website's design is crucial to its success. Your customer’s perception of your brand is heavily influenced by the design of your website.

Here are some design elements to test:

  • Consistency: Is the design consistent throughout the website? Do all pages use the same fonts, colours, and styles? Inconsistent design can make your website look unprofessional and confuse users.
  • Responsiveness: Is your website responsive, meaning it adapts to different screen sizes and devices? With the majority of online shopping done on mobile devices, it's crucial to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile. Consider using Shopify’s media focal point feature to set focus areas for images when they are rescaled on other devices.
  • Branding: Does your website design reflect your brand identity? Are your brand colours and logo prominently displayed? Your website design should be consistent with your overall branding strategy to create a cohesive and memorable customer experience.
  • Usability: Is your website easy to navigate? Can users quickly find what they're looking for? Are your calls to action clear and prominent? A confusing or cluttered design can lead to frustration and cart abandonment.
  • Accessibility: Is your website accessible to all users, including those with disabilities? Consider factors such as contrast ratio, font size, and alternative text for images to ensure that all users can access your website.

Content Testing

Your website's content plays a significant role in converting visitors into customers.

Here are some content elements to test:

  • Spelling and grammar: Check all pages for spelling and grammar errors to ensure a professional appearance. We love using Grammarly for tasks like this!
  • Product information accuracy: Ensure that all product information, such as pricing and availability, is accurate. Audit your product images and descriptions as well!
  • Legal information: Make sure all legal information, such as terms and conditions and privacy policy, is up to date and accurate. Shopify stores will typically use “policy” templates - you can find these inside of your store templates. They use boilerplate legal content which can be helpful - but you must go through each template to remove and update the placeholder text.

Performance Testing

Finally, your website's performance is critical to providing a positive user experience. By performance, we mean how your website is benchmarked by online tools and web crawlers.

Here are some performance elements to test:

  • Page speed: Check your website's page speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to ensure it's loading quickly.
  • Load testing: Test your website's ability to handle high traffic by performing load testing using tools like Apache JMeter. If you are using Shopify, you should be in the clear here.
  • Mobile-friendliness: Test your website's mobile-friendliness using tools like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to ensure it's accessible on mobile devices. This tool tests your website using Google Search Console data points: meaning your results here will be similar to results that influence your website’s PageRank.

By following these pre-launch QA testing steps, you can ensure that your ecommerce website is functioning properly, delivering a consistent and professional design, providing accurate content, and performing optimally.

Pointing to a website screen while performing QA

Post-Launch Quality Control Checklist

Once your ecommerce website has been launched, it's important to maintain its quality to ensure that it continues to perform at its best. This includes monitoring and maintaining your website to ensure it remains secure, functional, and up-to-date.

Here's a checklist of post-launch quality control tasks to perform:

Regular user engagement KPI checks: Tracking key metrics like traffic, bounce rates, conversion rates, and monitoring other user engagement metrics can provide valuable insights into potential quality assurance issues on your ecommerce website.

For example, if you notice that visitors are spending very little time on your website or are immediately bouncing from the homepage, this could indicate issues with website usability, navigation, or overall user experience. Similarly, if users are abandoning their shopping carts frequently or not completing the checkout process, this could signal problems with the checkout process (like high shipping costs) or payment options.

Other engagement metrics to monitor may include pages per session, time on site, and click-through rates. These metrics can help identify areas where visitors may be struggling to find what they're looking for or experiencing frustration with website features or functionality.

Broken links: Broken links can harm your website's user experience and negatively impact your search engine rankings. Use tools such as Google Search Console or a broken link checker to regularly scan your website for broken links and fix them promptly. You can set up notifications from these tools to get a report delivered via email to stay up to date.

There are several reasons ecommerce websites develop broken links; collection name changes, product updates, product availability changes, or even during a website redesign. Fixing them as they come up will help your user experience, and your website health (and by extension, your website's ability to rank for search keywords).

Apps & theme updates: The apps you use on your Shopify store will also go through regular updates occasionally - sometimes requiring you to reinstall, refresh the app permissions, or enable new features. It’s reasonable to perform a check on all of your apps once a quarter to keep them fresh and installed correctly.

Also, consider your theme - theme developers and designs who support their work typically provide free updates to anyone who has a valid theme licence. These updates are typically new sections, blocks, bug fixes, or even support for new features within the Shopify platform. You will see theme update availability inside of your Online Store sales channel, in your Shopify admin.

In Conclusion

In this article, we've discussed the importance of quality control for ecommerce websites and the consequences of poor quality control.

We've covered the pre-launch quality control checklist, which includes functionality testing, design testing, content testing, and performance testing. We've also provided insights on what user engagement metrics can indicate quality assurance issues for ecommerce websites. Finally, we've outlined the post-launch quality control checklist, which includes monitoring and maintenance tasks such as website analytics, broken link checks, software updates, and security updates.

By implementing these quality control measures, ecommerce businesses can ensure that their website functions properly, provide a positive user experience, and ultimately drives sales and revenue.

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