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No matter how much experience you have, opening a new business is exciting yet terrifying. You have your entire system set up properly, from website design to shipping rates and delivery options – so what’s next? A test order.
It’s important that store owners place a test order after their store setup completion or if they make changes to shipping rates or payment options. Whether you’re conducting a dropshipping business or using a 3PL, a test order is necessary for your online store to ensure your checkout process is set up correctly and works with zero errors. This means everything from inventory management to shipping, order processing, taxes, and everything in between are all set up correctly.
From the time a customer lands on your website, to the time they check out, the process needs to be easy to navigate, seamless, and accommodating. By placing a test order, you get an idea of what it’s like to purchase as a customer on your online store. This allows you to identify areas of improvement in your customer’s shopping experience.
The Checkout Process
When a customer reaches checkout, they may have second thoughts before they confirm their purchase. To avoid shopping cart abandonment as much as possible, your checkout and payment processing needs to be simple, straightforward, and informative. Crucial information such as shipping options with shipping rates and accepted payment providers should be easy to find. You will also want to include clear and marked areas for address and card information. With a test order, you’ll be able to fix any errors that may occur and in-turn, lead to more sales.
Shipping and Delivery
Consumer expectations and demand for fast and affordable shipping have never been higher. Because of juggernaut e-commerce company Amazon, customers have come accustomed to same-day delivery, next-day delivery, and 2-day delivery. Now other retailers are trying to keep up by implementing similar systems in order to stay competitive.
The factor to take away here is that it’s important for your shipping timeframes to be realistic, even if they may be lengthy. Placing test orders will help you to assess the cost and speed of delivery options and whether these options are achievable. For example, if you plan on offering 2-day delivery, it’s important to test your carrier’s 2-day delivery capabilities to ensure that you won’t fail to deliver your customers’ orders on time.
The Post-Purchase Experience is Part of the Journey
When a customer places an online order, they want to know exactly when their order is being processed to when their order has been shipped. Email updates are very common and an essential part of giving updates to your customers. More so, SMS updates are becoming the most popular and easiest way to communicate with customers as 48% of consumers prefer direct communication from brands via SMS text messages.
By conducting a test order, you can see how effective your customer communication is and whether your SMS or email update system is working or not. By implementing constant communication, your customers know when they can expect their order and a sense of customer trust will be built.
Integrating with a 3PL
Third-party integrations allow your business to function at an ever-expanding rate. However, you need to make sure your 3PL partner can keep up with your needs as one mistake in integration can ruin your orders. Running a test order with your 3PL allows you to see if your warehouse management system (WMS) is syncing orders and shipping information correctly. Many 3PLs will run test orders regardless to ensure that all their systems are correctly integrated and working with your e-commerce platform.
Running an e-commerce business correctly can be a stress, but ensuring you have all the moving parts in place with correct information, easy website navigation and realistic delivery times, you’re on your way to success. By placing a test order for your business, you can find the faults in your process from purchase to delivery, and fix these issues before you officially launch.
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