8 Important Segments Of Testing eCommerce Websites

E-Commerce Testing – How to Test an eCommerce Website/Application

In today’s world, I bet you won’t find anyone who hasn’t shopped online. E-commerce/Retail is a business that thrives on its online customers. Shopping in person vs. shopping online has many advantages. Convenience, time-saving and easy access to products worldwide, etc.

A good E-commerce/Retail site is key to its success. It must be a worthy counterpart to the storefront. Because, when you go shopping at a physical store, the customer has already made a commitment to visit and might give the brand a chance. 

Online, choices are many. So, unless there is engagement from the beginning, the user might just leave.

How to Test an eCommerce Website

The better the site, the better the business.

Since so much lays on the application, it is critical that it undergoes thorough testing.

E-commerce application/sites are web applications or mobile application too. So, they undergo all the typical test types.

  • Functional Testing
  • Usability Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Database Testing
  • Mobile Application Testing
  • A/B testing.

For a quick look at most often performed tests on a typical web application, check out:
=> 180+ Sample Test Cases for Testing Web and Desktop Applications

However, Retail sites are highly dynamic in nature. There are new offers, new products, new best sellers, Sales, etc. This means the site doesn’t stay the same for too long. Therefore, it could get overwhelming for many.

The trick is to divide and conquer.

Let’s see with examples how to test and eCommerce Site:

E-Commerce Testing Checklist

Below, we have listed important segments and test cases for eCommerce website testing.

#1) Homepage – Hero Image:

Home pages of retail sites are busy. They have a lot going on. But almost all of them have a Hero Image:

Homepage - Hero Image

This is the kind of the clickable image (a slideshow of sorts) that occupies the majority of the page.

The following are a few things to test:

  • Is it going to auto scroll?
  • If yes, at what interval will the image be refreshed?
  • When the user hovers over it, is it still going to scroll to the next one?
  • Can it be hovered on?
  • Can it be clicked on?
  • If yes, is it taking you to the right page and right deal?
  • Is it loading along with the rest of the page or loads last in comparison to the other elements on the page?
  • Can the rest of the content be viewed?
  • Does it render the same way in different browsers and different screen resolutions?

#2) Search:

Search algorithms are very important for the success of a retail site because we can’t always place what the users want to see right in front of their eyes.

Common tests are:

  • Search based on Product name, brand name or something more broadly, the category. For example Camera, Canon EOS 700D, electronics, etc.
  • Search Results have to be relevant
  • Different sort options have to be available- based on Brand, Price, and Reviews/ratings etc.
  • How many results to display per page?
  • For multi-page results, are there options to navigate to them
  • Also search happens in many places. Please take the search drilling down into multiple levels into consideration when validating this functionality. For example: When I search on the home page, I might see something like this:

Search

When I navigate to categories and go to a sub-category, maybe movies, this is what I am going to see:

Search 1

#3) Product details Page:

Once a user finds a product either through search or by browsing or by clicking on it from the homepage, the user will be taken to the product information page.

Check:

  • Image or images of the product
  • Price of the product
  • Product specifications
  • Reviews
  • Check out options
  • Delivery options
  • Shipping information
  • In stock/Out of stock
  • Multiple color or variations options
  • Breadcrumb navigation for the categories (highlighted in Red below). If navigation such as that is displayed, make sure every element of it is functional.

Product details Page

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#4) Shopping Cart:

Shopping Cart

This is the penultimate stage before the user commits to the purchase.

Test the following:

  • Add items to the cart and continue shopping
  • If the user adds the same item to the cart while continuing to shop, the item count in the shopping cart should get incremented
  • All items and their totals should be displayed in the cart
  • Taxes as per location should be applied
  • A user can add more items to the cart- total should reflect the same
  • Update the contents added to the cart- total should reflect that too
  • Remove items from the cart
  • Proceed to checkout
  • Calculate Shipping costs with different shipping options
  • Apply coupons
  • Don’t check out, close the site and come back later. The site should retain the items in the cart

#5) Payments:

payment methods

  • Check different payment options
  • If allowing check out as Guest, simply finish the purchase and provide an option to register at the end
  • Returning customers – Login to check out
  • User sign up
  • If storing customer Credit card or any other financial information, perform security testing around this to make sure it is secure.(PCI compliance is a must)
  • If the user is signed up for a long time, make sure the session is timed out or not. Every site has a different threshold. For some, it is 10 minutes. For some, it might be different.
  • Emails/Text confirmation with the order number generated

#6) Categories/Featured Products/Related or Recommended products

The most popular FAQ I get from E-commerce testers is: Do I have to test every category/every product?

The answer is NO.

If you are a returning customer you will be shown some recommended products on the home page or in your shopping cart.

Testing ecommerce websites 6

Featured products also change almost every day.

Testing ecommerce websites 7

Since these are dynamic elements, the best way to test these parts of the application is to test the algorithm based on which these sections are populated.

Check your Data mining/BI systems and check from the backend the queries that populate these sections.

#7) After-Order tests

after placing order

Check:

  • Change the Order
  • Cancel the Order
  • Track the Order
  • Returns

#8) Other tests:

  • Login
  • FAQs
  • Contact Us page
  • Customer Service page etc.

Conclusion:

Now, that we have a few tests listed out, let’s move on to a couple of finishing thoughts on eCommerce Testing.

A website should work – not just on computers but on mobile devices too. It needs to be responsive and secure. The Database should be optimized and the ETL processes should help maintain a Data Warehouse that aids for OLAP and BI. E-commerce testing should focus on all of that.

However, the most important part of E-Commerce Testing is whether the visitors are converting into paying customers or not. The number of visits that are becoming the customer is called “Conversion Rate”.

So does one feature promote better conversion as opposed to another, is important testing. That is why A/B testing and Usability Engineering for E-Commerce sites are gaining prominence.

Check out this article: The $300 Million Button

There are tools that are targeted at helping E-Commerce sites analyze their design for better conversion rates:

  • Optimizely: A personal favorite. Very affordable and very insightful for E-Commerce A/B testing
  • Unbounce: You can build your own landing pages and do a quick split or A/B testing
  • Concept Feedback: You can submit your website and get expert feedback on your site’s design and strategy.

Any usability testing tool can be used here, but the above three are my favorite.

For more tools, check out:

About the Author: This article is written by STH team member Swati S. If you want to write and help testing community let us know here.

As always, we hope this article has served you.

I can’t wait to hear your comments and questions. Also, please do share your best and worst online shopping experiences below.

Recommended reading

28 comments ↓

#1 Jitender

Very helpful topic, Thanks Swati
Want to see more topic related to Big Data testing with examples.

#2 test

Nice

#3 Sudhir

awesome. It would have been great if security and performance tests also listed.

#4 Bibhishan

Good One!!!

#5 NPerron

Excellent article! Very helpful!

#6 Million

I like it, thanks

#7 om

Its really helpful

#8 Darshan Satish

Good work, Thanks

#9 Ancy jose

This setion was helpfull,,,thank you….

#10 Manish

Very nice content

#11 Keyur Makwana

@Swati – Nice article. Here I would like to add one thing one area is missed out that is performance testing, load testing & stress testing. It is crucial part while testing e-commerce application. Do you agree or not ?

#12 Swati Seela

@All- Thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting! Happy to know that the article was useful.

#13 Swati Seela

@Keyur Makwana- Yes. I agree. The article does mention these test types as a ‘must undergo’ list in the beginning. Thank you for sharing your ideas :)

#14 Mahmudul Hasan

This is awesome.. love you STH :)

#15 Nagireddy

Superb article!!! . Well explained.

Highlighted very good points.

#16 Arien

Nice content!

#17 oksi

this is very basic knowledge. can only be used for juniors, who see eCom for the first time in their life

#18 Gaurav Khurana

Swati has one of the best articles on this site.

In this most of the discussion is around the functionality. It would be great if you can link it to automation as most of the things can always be automated in web.

i am expecting an advance level of article on ecommerce testing. This article has some very basic pointers.

#19 Aakash

Very helpful article .

#20 Bhavana T.D

Great Article Swati!
Just a quick one, In testing e-commerce sites/apps how can a testing professional contribute to the “conversion rates”. Anything to keep in mind while performing the tests?
Thanks in advance Swathi!

#21 SHAGUN SOMANI

It is recognised by me that it is a well organised guide for testing.

#22 Teena Goyal

@Swati – Thanku Swati for your support to understand the testing process.
One thing i would like to ask here is “How a tester can check for the Conversion rate”
Waiting for the revert.

Thank You

#23 Vinit Tomer

very very awesome and helpful article…

#24 Marie

Do you have any recommendations for an approach to performing testing on a retail site that requires constant pricing updates to stay competitive in the market? How do you control the test without placing a freeze on content, which is sometimes unrealistic over the ample test time?

#25 om

Very very helpful Article

#26 Konstantin Firsanov

The post is complete and comprehensive, especially in relation to functional testing, usability and test design. But as a rule, e-commerce sites suggest being visited by a number of customers, so performance testing for these sites becomes more important, than any other testing. It means using specific tools, like jmeter or Taurus for example to launch these tests, it means development of test data and performance intensive use cases to implement these tests. Besides performance testing tools, functional testing tools and frameworks are used to conduct functional tests (e.g. Selenium) and CI tool (e.g. Jenkins) are used to conduct tests and manage tests launches and deliver QA faster.

#27 Konstantin Firsanov

This article is complete and comprehensive, especially what comes to design of test cases, usability and functional testing of e-commerce sites. But for e-commerce sites, the performance testing is as important, as other testing types are. And it means development of test data, performance intensive use cases, in order to implement these tests in a performance testing tool (e.g. Jmeter), that is selected to conduct performance testing. Besides performance testing tool, functional testing tools and frameworks (e.g. Selenium) are used to run functional tests and CI tools to manage test launches. To find what tools to use and how to use them efficiently navigate to Blazemeter.com/blog that has all necessary information about it, that helps to implement your tests for e-commerce web sites.

#28 Danish Maniyar

Great Article! As we all know an eCommerce site have lots of data so it is very important to do the testing of website. Also the various features on an eCommerce website must be tested.

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