The eCommerce industry is gaining more traction in the growing digital space and it is estimated to be worth $22.1 trillion. With increased number of online shoppers, online stores have the added burden of ensuring that their website offers nothing less than the best when it comes to customer experience.

For eCommerce stores to be readily available and seamlessly function across channels and locations, it’s important to continuously test to ensure that the website pages are up and running; business processes like payment gateways, marketing, inventory, supply chain management, shipment, coupon codes are operating efficiently.

The Need for Testing

Recently, there was a huge hype around Amazon sending accidental gift email to shoppers. Amazon confirmed that it was a technical glitch that let them inadvertently send gift alert emails. Another case shows Nordstrom’s website suffering from glitches where the customers’ virtual carts were emptied at checkout. Shoppers took to social media to vent out their frustration as the website was not ready to handle the basic eCommerce functionalities which is a true catastrophe in the virtual world.

Similarly, several eCommerce owners, both big and small, experience such ‘glitches’ and end up losing potential customers, their brand reputation and money.

Here’s why Aspire Systems, with over twenty years of expertise in managing retail services and testing emphasizes on the need for testing the eCommerce website and the do’s and don’ts of eCommerce testing to be followed.

#1 Study Your Store’s Past Performance

Before you begin, it’s important to review your past performance as it helps to gain significant insights into what worked and what did not. Dig a little deep into the impacts of site performance, transactional delays, inventory shortages, potential causes for site crash etc. Such a review process will help you start with and plan ahead for an effective performance testing strategy instead of last minute confusions.

#2 Optimize Sites for Mobile

Responsive sites have become a necessity as by end of 2017, U.S mobile users will spend $90 billion via mobile payments. Moreover, responsive sites receive a 10.9% increase in visitor-to-buyer conversion rates when compared to 2.7% for non-responsive sites. Hence, retailers should gear up to grab this opportunity by ensuring that their eCommerce portal is tested to be compatible with different screens, browsers, sizes and resolution. Several tools like Screenfly, Screencheck by Cyber Crab, etc. can be used to execute a ‘responsive check’ effectively.

#3 Focus on Functionality and Usability Testing

Customers can be ultra-sensitive about the way your website is offered to them. Once you have identified your target audience, it’s important to perform usability tests on your product pages, search criteria, home page and checkout page. Ensure that your use cases cover all possible scenarios while performing functionality testing especially for product details/description, stock availability, end to end checkout process, invoice generation etc.

#4 Avoid Dependencies on Simulators/Emulators

For testing your eCommerce/mobile platform, we recommend that you do not entirely depend on simulators. Although they are great alternatives to testing your app, they can’t be relied for extended period and they support only limited number of mobile operating systems. Moreover, testing on real devices helps to uncover UI defects better than virtual testing.

#5 Don’t Fully Depend on Automation Testing

Depending completely on automation testing is never a great idea. Do not fully depend on automation testing rather manually test your eCommerce/mCommerce platform once before release. This is because automated testing is not dependent on human observation especially for usability testing where the goal is improved customer experience.

#6 Don’t Ignore eCommerce Exit Points

It’s a common practice for testers to feel confident with the functionalities and tend to continue until the end. But as a best practice, we recommend that you test the entire workflow end-to-end until order fulfillment and returns/exchange. Not only that, end-to-end testing eliminates hidden anomalies and detects issues that could even shut down your website when you least expect it. Also, it’s better to have a separate team to create an end-to-end testing suite to ensure no features/functionalities are missed out.

#7 Don’t Miss A/B Testing

You never know what works and what doesn’t for an eCommerce website. As there are several elements that can be improved to increase user experience, it’s important to perform A/B testing to test multiple ‘look and feel’ of your website along with simple changes on the pages and features. For instance, for some websites, displaying their best-selling products works magic which can result in effective cross selling. While for others, cross selling works best based on top reviews. Hence, the testing team should be capable of evaluating all possible scenarios for a successful A/B testing.

Ending Note

As the online retail market is moving towards a fast pace, testing should be an integral part of the quality aspect of the company and an opportunity to gain customer confidence. This is because irrespective of all the latest advancements that you incorporate on your website, failing to continuously test those functions will have a huge impact on the performance, scalability and customer experience that results in poor conversion rate.

Sharon Paul

Sharon Paul

Research Analyst at Aspire Systems
From a software engineer to a writer, Sharon loves to explore the scope of upcoming trends in various technologies. When she's not reading or writing, you can find her planning her next solo trip!
Sharon Paul

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