If you’re not regularly testing WooCommerce, you’re making your customers do it for you, which worked for Jane Stafford Textiles, until one day it didn’t: In 2017, an issue with their checkout led to large order customers being charged multiple times over, affecting 16% of gross revenue and crushing customer confidence.
Today, thanks to a more vigilant approach to testing, which Robot Ninja has helped automate, the textiles company is back on track and set to double its 2017 online gross revenue. We spoke to JST’s Alastair Aitken to find out more.
1. Can you tell us about your business and what you do? How long has your store been online? What are your goals as a business?
We sell yarn and weaving supplies, and offer a weaving education video subscription. We’ve had an online presence since 2005 when customers were asked to print out an order form and mail or fax it to us.
Our goals as a business are to educate weavers and provide all the supplies they require.
Last year WooCommerce accounted for 50% of our gross sales. Our projection for this year is that we might double last year’s WooCommerce gross revenue.
2. What challenges were you experiencing prior to signing up for Robot Ninja? Did you test your WooCommerce store regularly?
Before Robot Ninja, we only tested our WooCommerce store manually. We’re always pressed for time so making sure that nothing was broken came fairly low down on the list of things to do.
Testing was completely ad hoc. Testing was pretty much just trying to recreate whatever problem a customer had experienced.
Sometimes we’d check the site to see if a newly created product appeared as expected, or we’d test the site when a customer was experiencing a problem.
3. Can you tell me about an instance when your store broke? How did you find out it wasn’t working as expected?
We had a major problem that occurred in 2017: large order customers were being charged multiple times as they were unsure whether an order had completed.
The first we heard about the problem was when customers contacted us to query multiple charges on their credit cards. We don’t know if, or how many, future sales might have been lost but we do know that very few of those high-value customers returned. The resolution was to find all warnings and errors in our server logs and gradually eliminate the possible causes.
There were 17 customers affected in total; all high-value customers, so the actual problem related to around 16% of gross revenue. There was a lot of time spent reversing transactions and reassuring customers that this wasn’t our usual business practice.
At the time of contacting those customers, we didn’t actually have a solution to the problem so there was little point in offering, say, a discount on their next order.
4. How did you come across Robot Ninja? Was there a particular problem that led you to go searching for a testing solution?
Prospress is one of the most trusted WordPress plugin providers; if they have a new product, we’re interested.
We want to be informed in a proactive manner of any problems that arise in our checkout rather than hearing about them from our customers. The most important consideration when signing up for Robot Ninja was that the solution could produce results that could be reviewed and understood by someone non-technical.
5. How did you find the onboarding process when you joined Robot Ninja? Can you describe your experiences when dealing with support? Did they meet your expectations?
The actual onboarding process was handled by Greg, a developer from Codeable. Greg kept us informed of the issues he did encounter with Robot Ninja and reported that the support was very quick and attentive.
6. How has Robot Ninja helped you save time and increase productivity? How has Robot Ninja changed your workflow?
Robot Ninja gives us peace of mind; if we don’t hear from him then all’s right with the world.
Our workflow hasn’t really changed; we still don’t have enough time to do all the testing we’d like to but we know that we can leave the essential tests to Robot Ninja.
7. What would you say to someone who is sitting on the fence about signing up to Robot Ninja?
Without doing your own testing you’re basically making your customers, and potential customers, do the testing for you. That worked for us too, until it didn’t. Robot Ninja means testing isn’t a daily manual chore.