Philosophy of Testing in a Live Environment
When adding content or updating content on your site, it is best practice to use small data sets to test your work. Whether it be adding new products, updating exiting products with additional content or anything where you're working with larger amounts of data. Compile one or two records of data with your additions or changes, import the data and then review it. If you find you need to make changes, make the changes and start the circle over until you're happy with the results. Once you're happy with the results of the small data set, compile batches of data in larger sets and roll them out to your site.
There are many features that allow you to publish records which are not seen by the public: Products can be assigned only to be seen by specific test customers; Marketing can be filtered to only be viewed by test customers;
Best Practices for Testing
- Use small data sets when testing.
- Setup test customers and products which are not publicly seen and use these to target test marketing content.
- Setup test pages where new layout or widget content is being tested.
Setup a Test Customer With Labels
When performing any testing it's best to start by creating a test customer. This customer can be reused for testing and in some cases it makes sense to setup more than one test customer.
You will want to create a customer label and assign it to the test customer so you can restrict some of the tests we'll cover to this customer. Having a label assigned to only the test customer(s) allows you to restrict things such as banner groups, brand groups, item groups, product groups, product groups with badges and promotions.
How to test Adding New Products and Updating Products
For adding and updating products that you do not want to display publicly, you can follow the instruction listed here:
- The first thing that we recommend is setting up a test customer for the majority of your testing (see section above).
- Create the product that you want to use for testing. Add all the require information for the product but leave the globally visual option disabled.
- Once the item has been added and evaluated to your liking the next step would be create a pricing contract in the pricing module for your test customer account.
- Create the customer contract and add the New Product SKU you that you made.
Once this has been done you want go back to the Customer Module →Accounts →Test Account and login to storefront of the test user that you created. Once you are logged in you can search that SKU in the search bar to see how the item will display to the rest of your customers. You can make changes in the admin panel and refresh the website for your test customers to see the modifications. Once the product is to your liking. you can enable the globally visible option and then the product will display on the storefront.
Test Marketing Banners
When creating banners that you do not want to display on the storefront the first step is to upload your banner to the system.
- Go into the marketing module and go into the banner section. After you go into the banner section you would add a new banner and upload the banner to the media manager and associated the appropriate URL if applicable.
- Add that banner to a banner group and assign that banner group to the banner container.
- If you don't have a test customer go create one now and assign a test label using the instructions in the above section.
- Go into you previous created banner group and assign the test customer label to the banner group.
- Go to the appearance module go into layouts and add the single banner container with the created previously created banner container.
Go into the customers module and login to your test customer to view the new banner and make any changes that need to be made. When everything is to your liking remove the customer label and the banner will display on the storefront for everyone.
Testing Layouts With Content Pages, Categories and Products
You can test new content pages, customizing category layout pages or special layouts for certain products within the system. Testing these and getting them ready before rolling out to your customers it quite simple.
Testing a Content Page
We'll start off with building a new content page. First thing to do is go into Marketing →Content Pages and create your new Content Page. For more information on content pages see our article on content pages.
To view the content page open the website in a browser window and navigate to the URL of the content page. Customers will be able to view it at this time since it is not linked to directly or used in a menu. Once you're happy with it link to it in a menu or hyperlink or however you choose.
You can do the same thing with custom layouts assigned to categories by assigning it to a test category not linked to on the storefront and navigating to the URL. When you're happy with the layout link to it in a menu or hyperlink on the storefront however you choose.
Custom Product Layouts
Custom layouts for products are done in the same manner. Build your custom layout, assign it to a test product not visible to anyone other than your test customer. Once you're happy with it assigning it to the products of your choice visible you your customer base.
When creating promotions that you do not want to display on the storefront the first step is deciding which promotion you want to have set up on the storefront. To that you want to go into the marketing module and go to promotions.
When testing we recommend using a promotion that requires a product group. The reason you want to use the promotions that requires a product group is because we will be assigning a customer label to that product group for it to display to the test customer.
Example: Test a percentage promotion that offers 60% off all soap items.
- Start with a test customer. Use the one you created above or create another one.
- Create a product group by going into Products →Groups and creating the product group soap. Add the items and then restrict those items to the test customer label.
- Go back into the promotions tab and create the promotion and fill out the required information and assign it to the appropriate product group.
After this has been complete, login to the customer’s account via the admin panel and search the SKU to see how the promotion will display.
Testing an Account Message
Testing an account message before you roll it out to a live customer is as simple as using a test account for creating the message. This will allow you to view it and make changes without disruption your live customer. Once you're happy with the message copy the message to your live customer and click save. For more details on creating an account message see our knowledge base article on creating an account message.