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How to test WooCommerce Checkout is working – not losing money

Published Categorised as Ecommerce Stores

Whenever performing updates, changes, customizations or just generally running of your WooCommerce store keeping an eye on the Checkout functionality is essential.

How would you know if your checkout wasn’t working? How many sales would you have lost by the time you find out your checkout isn’t working?

Now you’re thinking; How can I test the WooCommerce checkout – all the time?!

There should actually be a medical condition named after this particular pain point for eCommerce store owners on ANY platform. Whether it be Shopify, Magento, Big Commerce or WooCommerce – Checkout Anxiety is a real thing!

So the bigger question maybe is how can we make sure the WooCommerce checkout is working?

How do I test WooCommerce Checkout?

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The answer I would suggest is comprised of 2 elements:

  1. How do you test the WooCommerce Checkout is working?
  2. How do you systematically implement checkout testing on an ongoing basis to ensure issues are caught?

Let’s tackle the systems question first…

How can you systematically test the WooCommerce Checkout?

I’d suggest that all tests carry a cost. In time, effort, complexity, data integrity and more.

So we should agree that it’s not viable to be permanently testing your WooCommerce Checkout to see if it’s working.

So the next logical thing to do is think about when the checkout is most likely to have broken or be malfunctioning – and focus testing efforts around the high risk areas.

The HIGHEST risk of the WooCommerce Checkout breaking is due to a Plugin, core WordPress or Theme update on your website.

Annoyingly it could be a COMPLETELY unrelated plugin – not even a checkout plugin.

Obviously if you are using a Checkout Plugin – there’s a higher risk that a plugin update could trigger a problem. (that’s no reason not to replace the crappy default WooCommerce checkout!)

WooCommerce Updates & WordPress Management go hand in hand with Checkout Testing

You might have realised by this point that it makes logical sense to pair your testing regime on the WooCommerce Checkout with a rigorous process for updating WordPress plugins, Themes and the core CMS.

If you’re not systematically managing the updates on your WooCommerce store – I’d suggest you start with that!

Then as part of the process, introduce WooCommerce Checkout Testing.

Just as suggested with the documentation from WooCommerce on testing for plugin and theme conflicts – you need a rigorous process to test the checkout…

How to test the WooCommerce Checkout is working?

Interestingly – there was a really great automated solution called RobotNinja which would automatically run checkout tests for you on your store – sounds amazing!

For some reason (you can read about it) the project was canned when the company behind the tool was acquired.

There are a few automated checkout testing solutions for WooCommerce left on the market:

Ghost Inspector

Use Trace

Both seem relatively viable options – but still demand a level of setup to ensure the testing is carried out as required.

Not to mention the fact that the testing will take place on your live site – and if you want the test to be legitimate, whilst not interrupting the buying actions of other users on site you’ll also need to be using real credit card details.

This feels like a major pain in the ass…

WooCommerce Test Mode For Checkout and Payment Gateways

But think about it – you can’t just switch the Stripe Payment gateway into test mode on the live site whilst you run some tests then switch it back. What about those customers who are browsing the site wanting to make a purchase?

Further to that – what about the impact this testing will have on your analytics and other data? It could be inconsequential – but if this is a systematic testing regime, there’s going to be a base load of garbage data being introduced.

The credit card charges / payment processor fees you’re going to pay (even though you’re refunding yourself) will be relatively small, but a cost all the same.

And what if you actually do find a problem? What then? The site is down whilst you frantically try and resolve the plugin or theme conflict!

For an individual store owner this is MESSY as hell.

It’s one of the reasons we suggest that WooCommerce store owners take out a store maintenance contract for a trusted team to look aft their site.

What About Just Using WooCommerce Test Order?

There are plugins out there like WC Order Test which allow you to place WooCommerce Test Orders.

The drawback here is that the Checkout ISN’T ACTUALLY being tested – it’s being “simulated” as the test you run won’t be exactly how a website user would interact with your WooCommerce store.

YES – this does help test for BIG issues, but if the issues are related to the combination of payment gateway plugin, WooCommerce Checkout Plugin and Page Builder (for example) – the WooCommerce test order approach won’t necessarily pick up your issue.

This in many cases just leads to ill-placed confidence that the checkout is actually working – when it could be failing.

Using a WooCommerce Maintenance Provider To Test Your Checkout

A WooCommerce Maintenance provider will make sure your WooCommerce store is continually:

  • Safe and secure
  • Fast and performing at it’s peak
  • Functioning as it should!

I highly recommend not only a maintenance contract for WooCommerce but these guys at WP AOS in particular – they have a DEDICATED service provision for WooCommerce store owners. There are plenty of “agencies” offering “WordPress Maintenance” out there – but I wouldn’t trust 99% of those bad-actors with a WooCommerce store.

WooCommerce is built on WordPress – but maintaining a WooCommerce store brings with it a whole host of new functionality that quite simply most WordPress maintenance providers don’t have the first clue about.

So go with a trusted recommended source for your WooCommerce maintenance – and we recommend WP AOS

I don’t recommend other agencies lightly – but these guys have genuine care and attention for their work, so they align with our philosophy of working.

So stop putting yourself under pressure thinking YOU need to do everything – and let the “Checkout Anxiety” fade away by putting WP AOS in the driving seat – responsible for keeping your WooCommerce Checkout working 24/7

By Ashley Pearce

I'm the founder of Future State Media, a "small-on-purpose" creator-focused SEO agency skilled in helping creators systematically generate traffic, build audiences and maximise their monetisation whilst staying true to their brand.