Releasing an “unpolished” ecommerce solution is a huge risk. Buggy, flawed, and plain unfinished websites, products, and platforms undermine both your business plan and reputation. And a once-lost reputable image is difficult to redeem amongst all the fierce ecommerce market competition.
That’s why making sure that it’s a sturdy, reliable solution you “put out to the sea” of digital commerce is paramount. To ultimately satisfy consumers’ expectations, the site must undergo thorough testing. We offer a checklist for testing ecommerce site you should steer by in order to ensure excellent performance of your e-store and consequently comfortable user experience.
It is natural that any entrepreneur having big-time aspirations is eager to launch their e-store or mobile app to start reaping revenues as soon as possible. However, any haste doesn’t bode well for the quality of service and customer satisfaction. To prevent any issues that may crop up while users load and interact with e-stores, various testings are employed.
The ecommerce testing process has several objectives in view:
Some people think that all these come naturally when a qualified team of experts builds a site. Yet, no matter how adequate the development procedure might be, the final product is never free from minor or even serious flaws. To identify these deficiencies and correct them is what testing ultimately meant for. If you neglect to test your ecommerce site you may risk losing time, money (both budget and potential revenue), and market reputation.
As is the case with brick-and-mortar stores, their ecommerce counterparts are visited more often at certain hours, during pre-holiday rush, or post-holiday clearance sales. In case the developers don’t forestall such emergencies, the site may fail to load which will send your income plummeting. Ecommerce test scenarios must envisage this challenge and take steps to prevent loading issues.
Even if your site eventually downloads after some awkward moments of waiting, it doesn’t mean customers will appreciate this snail pace. In fact, they will leave quite soon and address your more prompt rivals.
Ecommerce testing techniques aimed at testing the loading speed minimize that risk.
Customers won’t buy the very first item they see on your site. As any sober-minded consumer, they would like to browse around and weigh all pros and cons before making a purchase. If it is a problem at your e-store, the odds are you will realize how testing is crucial in ecommerce only too late.
Even if the customer has chosen a product to their liking but experiences issues with handling the cart properly, they are unlikely to try adding to the cart or removing items from it over and over again. After all, there are plenty of other stores whose smooth cart experience and ability to apply a discount coupon to boot will seem appealing to your frustrated clients.
An ecommerce site is not only about selling things. In addition to its core mission, it can serve as a source of meaningful insights and metrics as to website traffic, conversion rate, average order value, the ratio of returning clients, etc. Unless your e-store undergoes profound testing, these indices may become warped, so proper analysis of the efficiency of your business can become unattainable.
Having realized the necessity of testing to keep your e-store vibrant and provide robust risk management, you should heed the guidelines for testing ecommerce websites and select testing types that will be a perfect fit for the venture of yours.
There are several test types responsible for various aspects of your site’s operation.
Ecommerce sites tend to have more functionalities than other site types, so meticulous testing of login/logout, filter, payments, search, and other indispensable aspects of an e-store can ultimately determine whether your first-time visitor will turn into your loyal customer.
Testing tools that are a solid choice for functional testing are Selenium, UFT, TestComplete, Watir, and some others.
Security testing of an ecommerce website is pivotal for a comfortable user experience. Customers must feel sure their personal and financial data are safe from unauthorized exposure and all transactions they enter won’t lead to losing their money. Ecommerce security testing involves checking payment gateway, SQL injection vulnerabilities, and prevention of ethical hacking of login/register functions. Efficient tools used for this are ZAP, Wapiti, Vega, and Iron Wasp.
Performance testing of ecommerce applications and sites is responsible for ensuring minimal loading time of your app or site. While conducting performance testing ecommerce sites are checked first of all in respect of their webpage loading speed. However, this testing type isn’t limited to it, since it also includes data transfer rate, database performance, traffic load tolerance, throughput, etc. The two most popular ecommerce load testing tools are Load Runner and JMeter (and the latter is an open-source one!).
While launching your e-store, you must be sure customers can access it via any browser. Browsershots, Browsestack, and CrossBrowserTesting are the tools utilized to check there are no glitches in reaching your site across various browsers. Another important part of compatibility testing is conditioned by the ubiquity of mobile phones that are increasingly growing into a very popular way of conducting online transactions.
That is why ensuring your site does well on mobile is essential in the smartphone-rich world of the 21st century. Perfecto Mobile and Appium are solid tools to do that.
The success of your ecommerce site largely depends on how well a user can navigate around it (aka friendly user experience, or UX). Alongside foolproof site navigation, UX encompasses such summands as smooth checkout and payment, simplicity of filtering, clarity of content, the convenience of the shopping cart, and other minute details of website design and operation that make interacting with your e-store problem-free. Since such aspects are quite diverse, various testing tools typically gauge only some of them. So a wise approach would be combining several tools to do the job, like ClickHeat, Unbounce, Browsee, and Google Analytics Content Experiment.
Any of these testing types can be implemented manually or automatically. While automation testing of an ecommerce website is certainly faster, it is not always the best option. For instance, initiating automation functional testing will not render proper results, since such sites have a lot of dynamic elements (product inventory, coupons, special offers) that are prone to change quite often. In such a case, the manual testing ecommerce website is what the doctor ordered.
What is ecommerce application testing or website testing to include?
An exhaustive test of an ecommerce site should encompass all its features and functionalities (except the dynamic ones), but there are some cases that are a must for a conventional online shopping algorithm. These are to be paid attention to first of all.
The home page is what your visitor sees first, so it needs special care. Most of its area is taken by a hero image which is a clickable picture (typically a slideshow).
You must make sure it loads simultaneously with other elements of the page, it auto scrolls with a certain interval (and if a user hovers on it, the next image appears), it is clickable to take the visitor to the page they want, it doesn’t prevent viewers from seeing the content of the page, and it renders identically in different browsers and screen resolutions.
This functionality enables customers to find the item they need. Thus, you must see to it that entering a product category or name, viewers are shown what they are looking for. Besides, the user must be offered options depending on the brand, price, and reviews. Special attention should be paid to the availability of multi-page search results.
Once the desired item is found, the prospective clients should be given the image of the product, its availability, specifications (like size, color, technical characteristics), delivery and shipment information, and reviews. Testing of this page is called to check the proper operation of these functions.
This functionality provides the final stage before the deal is wrapped. Testers must make sure customers can add products to (and remove them from) the cart and proceed with the search, see what’s inside the cart, get information on taxes and shipping costs, apply coupons, and move to checkout.
This is the functionality that customers make the most fuss about since they are worried about the security of their financial data. So while submitting it to testing, this aspect must be prioritized. But the availability of different payment options and payment confirmation of a kind should also come as a part of testing here.
A responsible e-store continues interaction with the client after the order has been confirmed and paid for. Thus, testers should make sure that customers can change or cancel their order, track its fulfillment, or return the product if they want.
These include activities that are universal for non-commercial sites as well. So ensuring proper functioning of the login procedure, customer service page, or FAQ section is a natural thing for any website testing routine.
Whatever ecommerce site cases you are going to test, it can’t be executed in a random fashion. To secure an orderly manner of testing and avoid leaving any important aspect unattended, a test plan document for ecommerce website should be prepared.
One can’t talk of a one-size-fits-all template used to draw a test plan, yet some across-the-board stipulations and landmarks are pretty much universal for documents of this kind. What are the necessary ingredients of a testing plan?
Developing such a plan and proceeding with its implementation is next to impossible unless you have a website specification document that contains a set of requirements stipulating the behavior of your ecommerce site and the way users interact with it.
We recommend reading our guide on creating a specification document to learn more on the topic.
Having an aspiration to create a great ecommerce site, you shouldn’t neglect testing it thoroughly, leaving no vital functionality and aspect unattended. By doing that, you will ensure an enjoyable customer experience that will ultimately translate into the increase of revenues and solid brand reputation of your e-store for years to come.