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 bestsellers, 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:
Homepages 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.
Challenges Automating E-commerce Website
To remain on Safer Edge and deliver the desired results to the client you need to shift the focus on quality and performance of your E-commerce website while shrinking timeline as much as possible
In general Automation Testing starts by selecting right test automation framework which directly impacts on the result of the test automation project. The framework must include the test scripts and the scenarios of various automated processes.
Based on the framework, the testers can easily execute the tests and obtain relevant results by generating test reports. But selecting right tool to automate E-commerce Website depends on many key parameters. It is always important to compare the available tools based on key parameters like features, performance, extensibility, licensing cost, maintenance cost, and Training and support.
You must take advantage of many open source test automation tools to automate more testing efforts without investing additional funds.
#1) E-commerce websites are much entangled in nature, automating each action is not possible because we cannot assume the nature of the customer.
#2) Continuous changes for e-commerce demands Regression so run regression test suit every day to keep track the effects of change.
#3) Always go with Automating Integration type of scenarios that should cover from selecting a link on home page till checkout and payment gateway page. Hereby, you can at least cover maximum user experience with E-commerce Website, so that adequate testing can be achieved by automating regression cycle.
#4) Never waste time automating on the unstable application. A simple change will affect your whole test suits and you have to recreate it.
#5) Homepage of E-commerce Website is very important and contents many information and 1000 of links associated with each product and these links grow up every day as new offers or product is added to a page. So before proceeding to regression testing its best to verify every link in page by using HTTP status code.
#6) When you are executing test scripts on a different browser at the same time. If a product is added to shopping cart or removed that information should be reflected in other browsers too.
#7) When you running test parallel this will obviously fail your script in such scenario you have to periodically refresh your page to retain cart information. In real time you may come across this scenario such as a user may sometimes use mobile e-commerce app and also mobile e-commerce web application.
#8) Don’t neglect to verify each product details and pricing details whether it is 10 products or 1000 products it should be as per the seller requirement. This is the phase where you can make or break a customer slight mistake will lead to a big loss.
#9) Create yourself a lot of interrupted scenarios that usually user come across design your script very robust so that your script afford it and still run and pass the script.
For Example, you stored all the card information and clicked on submit due to low charge or network issue application stuck. In this case, a user is notified about his transaction status through email and message to phone you should validate this email or message in a test script.
#10) Web element of E-commerce website keeps changing so always Create manual xpath. Some Web Elements attributes will be same so there will be no unique way of distinguishing in such scenario use contains() method of xpaths or scroll into view.
#11) Automate Accessibility Testing by keyboard actions without using mouse action you definitely will come across some of the problems and fix it. This plays a significant role in user interface testing.
#12) Tester should be carefully designed the scenario and add initiate checkpoint and insert login script whenever it is required.
#13) Maintain different scripts for a different mode of payment to avoid confusion. Check if what happens if an order is canceling after payment.
#14) Performance testing in other hand plays a very crucial role. The factors you need to test here request per second, Transaction Per minute, Execution per click, a Response time of page load, duration of the task, Length of time between click and page display and DNS lookup.
#15) Security Testing is where customer trust is gained on which e-commerce is built so here you have to spend a lot of time testing on DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACK, User Account security, Data confidentiality, content security, credit card security, disable non-essential services.SSL Certificate Validation.
#16) Automating Localization testing is very challenging in e-commerce because of Compliance with accessibility standards to support multi-lingual markets and business regions.
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.