These are the main aspects that I run through when testing an ecommerce website that uses one of the common online shops or ecommerce software tools.
Ecommerce sites can get very complicated but this list is a starting point when carrying out testing before a site launch.
First of all, we’ll run through the main functionality of an ecommerce website that needs to be tested. Your website may not have all these items, or indeed may have some not included here.
- Home page
- Featured products
- Special offers
- Information pages
- About page
- Shipping information
- Returns policy
- Terms page
Product category pages
- Any filters such as product filters, colours, sizes, types of product, etc.
- Any ability to sort products by name, price, size, etc.
- Add to shortlist or wish list facility.
- Add to basket.
Product detail pages
- Product title
- Product description
- Product images
- Enlarge image
- 360 degree view of products
- Related products
- Any further product information, colours, sizes, options, extras.
- Add to shopping basket
- Keyword search
- Add product(s) to shopping cart.
- Check display of product information, including image, is correct in shopping cart.
- Click on product in shopping cart to go to product page.
- Adjust quantities of product in shopping cart.
- Remove product from shopping cart.
- Check relevant message displayed if no items are in shopping cart.
- Check discounts, taxes and delivery costs are correct (as applicable) in shopping cart.
- If minimum order value required for free delivery, check adding sufficient product value triggers free delivery option.
- Check subtotal adds up correctly.
- Add a valid discount code (if applicable) and check discount is applied correctly.
- Add an invalid discount code (if applicable) and check correct message displayed to the user.
- Check any links to information pages on delivery, returns, etc. open in a new tab.
- Check consistency of terminology throughout, is it Cart, Basket or Bag?
- Click Checkout or Pay Now to process to Checkout process.
Checkout and Payment Systems
As this is a testing plan for an ecommerce site then a specific section of the plan should be devoted to the checkout and payment area of the website.
- Check that users can proceed through Guest checkout.
- Check that existing customers can login with username/password.
- Check that existing customers can login via social networks.
- Check that users can register a new account.
- Check the delivery address details can be input.
- Check that alternative billing address details can be input.
- Check that user can select payment method.
- Check that final amount to pay is correct, after the price of the products, VAT or other taxes, delivery and any other charges.
Test making changes to the products being ordered, changing delivery options, etc. and make sure that this final amount updates correctly.
Carry out a test payment using each payment method that you are offering such as debit cards, credit cards, Paypal, Google Checkout, etc. Your payment system will most likely still be in test mode before you launch so all test payments will be carried out using the test payment details.
An example list of payment types is as follows:
- Place Paypal payment
- Place Visa payment
- Place Visa Debit payment
- Place Visa Electron payment
- Place Mastercard payment
- Place Amex payment
- Place false payment
- Test cancelling order
Check that confirmation emails are sent correctly when a payment is made, whether those confirmation emails are being sent by your website or by the payment provider.
Make sure that you can refund a payment and that any confirmation emails are sent to the recipient of the refund successfully.
You will probably want to carry out several payments again once the site is live so you can use real debit and credit cards to check the system works correctly.
This is the central aspect of your ecommerce website and so if time is short then make sure you thoroughly test the checkout and payment area.
Extremely important, especially for ecommerce sites, as if the site doesn’t work in a particular browser then nobody using that browser can buy anything from you.
This list of browsers will change, as new browsers are released and older browsers aren’t used as much (here’s hoping that IE7 goes away soon).
Currently, we are testing all of the functionality listed above in each of the following web browsers:
- Internet Explorer 7
- Internet Explorer 8
- Internet Explorer 9
- Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
- Google Chrome (latest version)
Browser compatibility tools that can help you
Mobile Device Compatibility
If you wish your website to be used by visitors viewing it on their smartphone or tablet then you also need to test all of the functionality on each of the following mobile devices:
- Apple iPhone – 5, 5S/5C, 6 and 6 Plus
- Apple iPad – iPad 2, 3, 4, iPad Air and iPad Air 2)
- Apple iPad Mini – 1, 2 and 3
- Android Smartphone – such as Samsung Galaxy S5
- Android Tablet – such as Google Nexus 7
- Windows Phone – such as Nokia Lumia 635
Mobile testing tools that can help you
Many of the browser testing tools can help with mobile websites but there are some more specialised tools as well. Have a look at the Mobile Testing Tools category in our testing tools directory.
Your ecommerce website needs to load quickly in order for potential customers to not get frustrated and head elsewhere.
Carry out a performance test using an online tool such as Webpagetest and pay attention to what it tells you.
Performance testing tools that can help you
I regularly use Webpagetest but there are some other good ones listed in the directory.
Check Your Links
Running a link check helps to weed out any broken links ahead of launch and is generally well worth doing, as there is always something not linking correctly.
Link checking tools that can help you
There are a wide range of tools available and my preferred options are Google Webmaster Tools and SEOmoz’s crawl test tool.
It goes without saying but proof reading every page, including all product pages, product descriptions, search results pages and the checkout process will make sure that people are not put off by any shoddy spelling or grammar.
Along with proof reading, checking your products pricing is obviously very important to make sure you are not selling something too cheap or putting people off because the price is way too high. There have been many high profile pricing errors in the past with retailers offering Sony TVs for £1 by accident, etc.
Often overlooked, a few checks on how your website complies with HTML and CSS standards can greatly help your website’s accessibility, aid SEO, usability and other general site quality problems.
Web standards tools that can help you
Whilst we touched on this subject above, it is important to make sure that your ecommerce website is accessible. Therefore, check for the following:
- Test your website against WCAG 2.0 guidelines
- Try browsing your website with a screen reader and/or text browser
- Try browsing your website without a mouse, I.e. with just your keyboard
You’ll undoubtedly pick up some problems you wouldn’t have guessed at but it is a good idea to fix them.
Accessibility tools that can help you
Truwex is my preferred choice for checking a site against basic accessibility guidelines but it can’t replace actually using a screen reader, text browser or keyboard to try browsing your website.
Audit Your Cookies
Since the EU ePrivacy Directive came into force in May we also need to audit the cookies that your website uses, provide information to users on what those cookies are and how they are used, and provide an opt in or opt out mechanism for visitors if they do not want their information to be used by the website.
Cookie audit tools that can help you
There are 6 good cookie audit tools in our testing tools directory.
Check Your Analytics
Make sure your analytics is installed and collecting statistics properly. Set up any goals that you need to and configure other aspects such as site search tracking, which is very useful for an ecommerce website.
Web Analytics tools that can help you
Analytics Checkup is a great tool for checking your Google Analytics is set up correctly.
An ecommerce website greatly benefits from making sure website visitors can easily find it and, if there are a lot of products, then long-tail search terms can account for a large number of visitors and customers.
I would recommend checking the following aspects:
- Structure of URLs
- Unique title tags for each page and product page
- Title tags should include product name and category
- Meta description tag for each page and product page
- Robots.txt in place
- Check that alt text has been added to images
- Internal linking
- XML sitemap
SEO tools that can help you
In my view, the best SEO tool to test these items, and keep track of them on a regular basis, is SEOmoz’s PRO account.
Check that social buttons, icons or links are in place and work correctly.
Any sharing buttons should also be configured correctly.
So that’s our ecommerce website testing plan, at least one that I use as a basis when I am testing an ecommerce site. Please let me know what you think of it and if you think I’ve missed anything out.