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.
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:
What You Will Learn:
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:
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?
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:
When I navigate to categories and go to a sub-category, maybe movies, this is what I am going to see:
#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.
- Image or images of the product
- Price of the product
- Product specifications
- 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.
#4) 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
- 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.
Featured products also change almost every day.
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
- Change the Order
- Cancel the Order
- Track the Order
#8) Other tests:
- Contact Us page
- Customer Service page etc.
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:
- 16+ TOP Usability Testing Tools to Test Your Web Application
- A Complete Guide to Usability Testing – It’s Like Trying to Read Minds!
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.