Make sure to test your changes

We had a problematic gutter at the corner of the house.

It drained oddly so the previous neighbors created this odd-shaped drainage setup that blocked off most of the side yard. Downspout to extension to spare gutter on the ground propped up with bricks, which was supposed to feed into a plastic-lined rock channel…

We replaced it with a simple buried pipe but it still hasn’t been flowing that well, even in moderate storms. No leaks, just no the level of flow we’d expect.

Separately this past weekend I decided to clean the gutters since most of the trees have dropped their leaves.

As expected, that one had the most leaf drop and dirt but not enough in the gutter to block the flow. It was still 2/3s open.

But after cleaning it out I dumped some water in it to test it, and the water just sat there. Even though the gutter was now perfectly clean, the water wasn’t going anywhere.

Two screws and five minutes later I had the downspout disassembled and found there was a giant clog six inches down the downspout after the main bend. There was years worth of debris clogged in there blocking 99% of the flow.

Once cleaned out and put back together, the entire system flowed perfectly. From roof to our buried pipe everything drained.

This blockage was probably causing problems for years and prompted the previous owners to over-engineer a drainage setup. Instead of flowing like normal, it was getting blocked and overflowing out the sides of the gutter. But since they over-engineered the wrong area, it didn’t solve the root problem and they still suffered the consequences.

There’s a lot of lessons in this for Shopify stores, but the biggest one for right now is to make sure to test your changes.

Even if you are absolutely sure a change is fine, take the time to double check that it actually worked.

e.g. If you setup a new checkout type, test that you can start checkout in the new and old way. If you created a free shipping code, make sure it applies correctly.

This is the time of the year where any debris in your store will cost you orders and you don’t want to end up flooding your basement on accident.

If you’re having problems with customers not coming back or defecting to competitors, Repeat Customer Insights might help uncover why that’s happening. Using its analyses you can figure out how to better target the good customers and let the bad ones go elsewhere.

Eric Davis

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