Why Your Ecommerce Site Needs User Testing

In this episode of “What’s Working in Ecommerce,” Eagan interviews Quinn Zeda from Conversion Crimes about increasing ecommerce conversion rates by doing user testing.

Click below to watch the video or scroll down to read the blog post.


Have you tried User Testing?

Many people think they need an online store with tens of thousands of visitors to do Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) because that’s what it takes to do statistically significant A/B testing on a decently small time frame (like two weeks).

But the truth is, every website can benefit from User Testing, whether it has high traffic or not. 

Quinn Zeda founded Conversion Crimes because she discovered that User Testing was “the 80/20 of CRO.” 

The problem with your website is that you and your team built it. 


Your customers didn’t. 

So when they visit the site, they see and wonder things that you’re not thinking about because you have background knowledge and assumptions they don’t. 

When you have users visit your site for the first time they see it with fresh eyes. With User Testing, you can ask them to complete specific tasks on the page or site and ask they questions about their experience. Or even better yet, just have them say what they’re thinking and wondering as they browse. 

For example: “find a medium blue shirt and add it to your cart.”

When is the best time to try User Testing?

Anytime really. You can even send test users to wireframe pages or sites that aren’t even live yet. That way you can unearth issues before your new website launches. 

So what goes into a good test script?

You can leave it open-ended, like “go to this new website and play around with it while speaking your impressions.”

Or you can have them test your new category pages. Or step through checkout. Or find the return policy. Etc. 

The main thing to avoid is leading the tester. So don’t tell them which menus or buttons to click. Use synonyms for anything you’re having them look for rather than telling them step by step what to do. So say “t shirt” instead of “apparel.”

So what should you be testing?

Here are some tests to try:

  1. Go to the site and give first impressions
  2. Ask the user to find a certain product (using other terms than what they see on the page)
  3. Ask questions about the product (or shipping or returns or contact info)
  4. Go through the shopping cart
  5. Go through checkout
  6. Can they find a product variant from the category pages?
  7. Can they find information about the brand or company?

User Testing results

Oftentimes, people don’t understand something on the page or how to do something.

You’ll also find bugs that you need to fix, especially with checkout.

How many tests do I need to run?

If you run the tests above with five people, you will discover plenty of issues to keep your developer busy for a while. Then wash, rinse and repeat when you’re ready. 

So User Testing can help you discover issues, then you can try A/B testing to test solutions. 

I hope you’re getting the feeling now that building a website isn’t a set it and forget it type of project. You can increase your conversion rate over time by continuously running tests and iterating. 

You can run Usability Tests using Conversion Crimes.