You’ve got high-quality products. You’re running your eCommerce site on a premier platform. Your marketing is stellar, your promotional content top-notch. You’re prepared to launch in time for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday rush, and you’ve got all the makings of a successful eCommerce website. Or so it seems.
With the recent explosion of online sales, eCommerce websites have become immensely popular sales channels. More and more shoppers are making purchases online every day, meaning there is intense competition between eCommerce retailers to draw in customers and retain them. This means delivering a superior customer experience is extremely important for all eCommerce websites.
So while you may have superior product offerings with some clever branding, if you can’t deliver on the customer experience side of things, your sales will suffer. You may have invested initially in a cutting-edge eCommerce platform, created some engaging content, and got your fulfillment strategy in order. But all this means nothing if your eCommerce website can’t hold its own in such a competitive space.
Any defects or issues with your eCommerce site can hinder your customer experience, leading to low conversions and a negative impression of your brand. To truly deliver a high-performing, customer-focused eCommerce website, you need to be sure you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s prior to launch. This is where web testing is incredibly important.
It’s vital to do comprehensive testing of all aspects of your eCommerce site before you go live. Read on to learn about the importance of eCommerce website testing, and check out our eCommerce site testing checklist.
WHAT IS ECOMMERCE SITE TESTING?
Businesses use eCommerce testing methodologies to assess how well their sites perform. The purpose of eCommerce testing is to prevent errors or bugs from impacting how a site operates, and ultimately, how a customer experiences shopping on the site. Additionally, eCommerce site testing can help prevent security compromises in customer data or transactions.
There are numerous components to comprehensive eCommerce website testing, like:
- Performance testing
- Usability testing
- Security testing
- Mobile testing
- And more
ECommerce site testing is not without its own unique set of challenges, namely compliance and security guidelines around protecting customer data, accessibility standards, and multilingual requirements to ensure regional consistency.
To sum it up, eCommerce site testing is used to determine how well an online store meets certain requirements like reliability, scalability, security, and more. Testing also helps evaluate whether the eCommerce application is in alignment with the standards and procedures that govern eCommerce transactions.
People need to feel safe and secure when entering their payment information to purchase products. Therefore, maintaining an eCommerce site that not only runs smoothly and efficiently but gives priority to safety and security is essential to the long-term success of your business. Rigorous testing is the only way to ensure that your eCommerce site is primed for success.
WHO SHOULD TEST MY ECOMMERCE SITE?
Before entering the testing phase of your eCommerce site development, it’s important to determine exactly who will complete the user testing of your site. Ideally, it should be someone from outside of the main development team, like a separate quality assurance (QA) team or third-party testing service. Think of it like editing your writing: sometimes enlisting another set of eyes is best to catch any spelling mistakes or grammar errors you might have missed. The same principle applies to testing as fairness is crucial.
Additionally, you may not have the resources or expertise internally to conduct exhaustive tests. Third-party website testing services are experts at putting sites through their paces, looking for any areas that disrupt the customer experience and constitute security breaches.
Using automated and manual testing methodologies, as well as cutting-edge tools, website testing services can root out pesky bugs in a fraction of the time it would take to complete full-scale testing internally. To get the best result from site testing—and save valuable time and effort—it’s best to outsource the job to a trusted service provider.
AGILE ECOMMERCE WEBSITE TESTING
The spread of agile development practices has extended into the eCommerce realm. More and more eCommerce website development teams are utilizing agile methodologies to produce better sites on more ambitious timelines. In an agile process, working components of a website are released in iterations. This means that agile teams must test these components as they are produced to ensure they are working properly, instead of at the end of the entire development process.
This frequent testing can be time-consuming. This is where test automation can become your best friend. Using automated testing scripts, you can streamline the testing process to align with your agile development process.
QA is a fundamental aspect of agile development. ECommerce sites built with an agile methodology tend to be very high quality, having undergone multiple rounds of testing and revisions by the time they are completed.
ECOMMERCE WEBSITE TESTING CHECKLIST
Now, we’ll look at key use cases that are essential to thorough eCommerce website testing. While full-scale website testing encompasses much more than outlined below, these test cases are unique to eCommerce websites and should be top of mind for all online retailers.
The homepage is the first interaction many shoppers have with your brand. It’s the first impression they get of your online store and the gateway to your product offerings. As such, it’s an essential tool for engaging customers and directing them to what they are looking for in a timely fashion. This makes the homepage a cornerstone of eCommerce site testing.
When testing an eCommerce homepage, it’s important to examine not just the product layout and content visibility, but all interactive elements, like the hero image, carousel, banners, promotional content, social media buttons, and more. The testing team should focus on these areas:
- Does the homepage look the same when accessed using different browsers and screen resolutions?
- Can customers easily navigate through product pages and categories? When they click a category or product, are they taken to the correct page?
- Does the homepage load quickly?
The shopping cart is a foundational component of any eCommerce website. The functionality allows customers to easily select multiple items, store those items virtually, and then purchase all items at once. Often overlooked, this functionality is extremely important to the overall customer experience of an eCommerce website and should therefore not be taken for granted. A comprehensive approach to eCommerce website testing needs to ensure the shopping cart functions properly so items don’t disappear and customers can successfully enter the checkout process.
Accurate and timely payment processing is crucial to the success of your eCommerce business. Customers are frequently deterred from making purchases by issues in transaction processing. As such, your eCommerce site testing needs to consider payment processing as a distinct element of the site, separate from the overall checkout process.
In 2021, mobile sales are expected to account for 54% of total eCommerce sales. Customers are completing more and more purchases on their mobile devices, so you need to ensure your site’s mobile experience is consistent with its desktop one. If your site uses a mobile responsive design—and it should—you’ll need to test that design to ensure it works well on different mobile operating systems and screen sizes. We’ll talk more about responsive design testing tools a little later.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
ECommerce websites handle a lot of sensitive customer information, like credit card numbers, addresses, and other personal information. Because of this, your eCommerce site cannot afford to skimp on security measures. With retailers expected to lose $130 billion in revenue due to fraudulent transactions by 2023, security breaches pose a risk not only to your customers’ personal information but to your bottom line as well.
Therefore, testing your site for security risks is of the utmost importance. Rigorous testing will reveal any exposures in data transmission, data encryption, payment processing, and more.
In periods of high traffic—like during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales—you need to be sure your eCommerce website can handle a surge in users. Site testing can reveal just how much your eCommerce site can handle and give you a frame of reference for when you might need to scale up capacity to accommodate large increases in visits.
ECOMMERCE TESTING TOOLS
There is no shortage of web testing tools eCommerce businesses can use to successfully gauge the performance of their online retail site. So whether your internal QA team is doing a full-scale site test before launch, or you just need to do a quick check-up on some of your site’s individual components, these tools can provide efficient ways of assessing your eCommerce presence.
GOOGLE PAGESPEED INSIGHTS
According to Vouchercloud, 57% of users will navigate away from your eCommerce site if they have to wait more than three seconds for a page to load. Use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your site stacks up. The tool analyzes the content on your eCommerce pages, then gives you actionable insights to help improve their speed.
Vega is an open-source web security scanner and web security testing platform. Vega can pinpoint significant security risks on your eCommerce site, including SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), vulnerable sensitive information, and more. In an environment where security is paramount, Vega provides the necessary functionality to spot significant risks.
Perfecto is an end-to-end testing platform for both web and mobile. A scalable, enterprise-grade testing tool, Perfecto allows you to test on real mobile devices, as well as virtual machines (VMs), and more. This comprehensive solution means you can quickly get a holistic view of how your site performs on a variety of devices and environments.
Screenfly is a simple yet powerful tool for assessing the responsiveness of your eCommerce website. Just enter the URL of the page you want to assess, select the device and screen size, and presto, you can see how that page is working. Devices include smartphones, desktops, tablets, and more. Screenfly can help you understand how well your pages are reproduced across platforms and devices, giving you an accurate understanding of just how responsive your design is.
The importance of extensive eCommerce website testing to the overall health of your online store cannot be overstated. Testing all of the core components of your site will ensure that they work flawlessly—both on their own and in concert with each other. Testing verifies that your site is safe and secure and that it delivers a superior customer experience that will keep consumers coming back for more.
A seamless, high-quality eCommerce site means more conversions, which in turn translates to higher revenues and happy executives. You’ve spent so much time, effort, and money building your eCommerce site, why skimp on testing? Investing in thorough website testing is about more than just uncovering pesky bugs. It’s about establishing a commitment to continuous improvement, ensuring that your customers will have an excellent experience every time they browse your unique products.
Connect with Codal today to learn more about website testing, usability testing, performance testing, or how to maintain a superior eCommerce site?