User Testing in eCommerce – What You Need to Look out for

Have you ever heard of eCommerce businesses that started out great and lost steam along the way? It’s a pretty typical scenario, unfortunately – one you wouldn’t want to experience at all.

So, what’s usually preventing those businesses from making progress?

Here’s a possible answer: Poor website usability. eCommerce owners usually don’t notice it – especially if they don’t know much about user testing in general, and how important user feedback is.

Why? Because it’s a matter of perspective. After all, eCommerce owners don’t think like their customers when it comes to testing out their platform. They don’t share the same search patterns, nor do they have the same expectations and affinity for technical jargon. As a result, website usability issues might not even be obvious to them. And that’s a huge issue.


After all, even if your products are amazing, you won’t get far if you don’t pay attention to how your customers are interacting with the product pages – and the overall website. How user-friendly your platform is ultimately decides if your eCommerce business will be successful. Simplifying the platform design can make a world of difference. The moment you make this decision is when user testing might become your biggest business eye-opener.

First and Foremost, You Must Understand What User Testing Actually Is

Basically, it’s having users test your website. Why? Because you can get reliable info about how easy it is for them to navigate and understand your website. That’s because real users will test it out, not experienced QA engineers.

Thus, you’ll get natural, real feedback that is not scripted or influenced by regulations.

Plus, after the users finish their tasks, you can watch videos that reflect the whole user experience. That’s both time-saving and convenient.

While it’s true that analytics figures are great at signaling traffic issues, they don’t answer more specific and difficult questions like:

  • Why is your retention rate so low?
  • What are the obstacles that keep clients from making purchases on your website?
  • Which successful website features do your competitors have that you don’t?

Well, user testing and feedback from real people might help you get to the bottom of it. Instead of playing around with development costs or spending too much on customer support, why not save time with reliable testing?


You might even manage to follow in the footsteps of Canva, the image editor provider, this way. They were able to increase customer retention and grow their user base by a whopping ten million. How? Well, after noticing that users were experiencing difficulties during the accommodation phase, Canva created an introductory tutorial so as to make them fully confident in their editing skills.

The Next Vital Step – Coming up with a Plan

User testing can do wonders for your eCommerce business, sure. However, you shouldn’t rush into it without a plan – that’s a huge mistake many people make.

Here are some useful pointers to keep in mind:

  • Know what you’re testing and go for the most common user goals
  • Think like a user
  • Set straightforward tasks
  • Choose the right demographic/audience
  • Make the choice obvious (in the case of A/B testing)
  • Establish a follow-up test

Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking that user testing is only for inexperienced businesses or new products.

For instance, even Adobe utilized testing to perfect a Photoshop feature. They gathered the feedback from both expert and novice users. The result? The team was able to design actionable steps after using mock-ups and interactive prototypes.

Here’s what they achieved:

  • The name of the feature was changed
  • They designed an improved interface
  • The menu was reworked
  • More options were added

What did they gain out of this? They were able to implement changes in real-time due to rapid rounds of user testing – not to mention how much money they saved.

You Have to Know How to Properly Handle the Testers

Now, before starting the testing process, you must choose the devices you want to test on. After all, testing the mobile version of your website is different than the PC version. Afterwards, select the main features that the user testing process should revolve around. If you’re out of ideas at the moment, here are some great starting points:

  • Content/formatting/settings
  • Website navigation
  • Sign-up forms
  • Landing pages
  • Software updates
  • Shipping settings
  • Shopping cart settings

As for getting the actual testers, the most common practice is to opt for an online testing tool. Or, you could just ask your current clients or subscribers to help you out. Of course, you’ll need to offer them something in return for that – a discount, product, coupon code, even money. Therefore, you would obviously come out on top with the testing tools. 


Also, a useful tip is to try and conduct the testing remotely. For example, NPR Digital Services asked their participants if they agreed to share their screens via Skype. As a result, they saved a great deal of cash.

During the testing, voice the requirements clearly. For instance, make sure testers understand they have to think out loud. Moreover, they must comprehend you’re testing the software, not them.

User Testing – A Wonderful Solution to all your eCommerce Woes

Task completion is an aspect eCommerce owners often take for granted only to find themselves not knowing where the trouble stems from. Whether customers struggle during the check-out process or the log-in phase, there will always be areas where they behave differently from what you would expect.

To dispel your doubts, we interviewed an expert, also our friend, Preston Daniel, Digital Marketing Executive at Following are the practical benefits of user testing for onlie stores that he mentined:

  1. Lowers Development Costs: Identifying and correcting usability problems before your online store goes live enables you to avoid huge redesign costs that you may incur at a later date.
  2. Improve Retention Rate: Conducting user testing for existing websites, helps deduce why new visitors may be bouncing from your site. User testing can help you pinpoint exactly why new visitors leave your site by having testers reveal their personal opinions of the page and looking into raw data (this is where GA comes into play) – work on a remedy can commence.
  3. Identify shopping behaviors: User Testing has great potential to provide insight into different shopping behaviors and in turn can help online businesses identify critical KPI’s and how critical some elements are on their webpage. E.g. 80% of users use the search bar over the drop down menu when following the set activity/task in the user testing. We found a similar trend happened when we conducted a usability test for a client. Our developers had just built a product quick jump feature, however, we found 18 of 20 users used the search bar to find the product.
  4. Raises Issues Not Discovered Internally: Having a fresh pair of eyes on your sit, with a different mindset than your team’s, allows them to be completely subjective and in turn point out flaws you (or your team) may not even be aware of.
  5. Can Provide Quick Wins: Conducting user testing allows you to identify shopping behaviours as well as KPI’s – from the research and data (normally through Google Analytics), you’re able to develop some quick wins for your site i.e increase conversion rate.

So, take the time to properly plan a user testing strategyand you’ll know exactly how to keep your customers happy.

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User Testing in eCommerce - What You Need to Look out for
Among the challenges eCommerce owners are facing nowadays, there is this not-so-tiny detail called “user experience”. Learn how to turn it into your best business asset with User Testing.
Tatyana Gnet
Mavitech LLC