Over the past few years, with the advent of smart phones, the usage of internet for daily needs has undergone a major shift. E-Commerce market is one of the areas which have seen a tremendous growth. Who doesn’t shop online these days? One attribute that accounts for the increased popularity of e-commerce is convenience. From grocery to furniture for your house- anything you can buy sitting at the comforts of your home with just a few clicks! The array of options you have in most e-commerce sites today are much more than any retail shop you can walk into. Then who would want to go to shops and do shopping if the same can be done with just your fingertips? Many e-commerce businesses have gained trust of a huge population already. Realizing the prospects of the future of this trend, there has been an increase in number of start-ups or new players entering the game as well- small as well as big players- making the competition tougher and there is an intensifying fight for market share. The competition has resulted in an increase in the customer expectations as well.

If you own an e-commerce business, your e-commerce website itself is the key to the success of your business as it is the counterpart for the real storefront. The site should ensure engagement of the customer from beginning; otherwise the user might just leave. The better the site, the better will be the business. In this scenario, it is of utmost importance to make sure that the e-commerce website works well and is tested thoroughly. Consumers now expect e-commerce platforms to be faster, smarter and secure. Therefore, it becomes contingent on the part of e-commerce companies to maintain the highest standards for their website and to stay competitive it is essential to deploy robust testing tools and test their website continuously so that your site never fails.

Coming to e-commerce websites, most of the websites out there have similar structure with a Home Page, Login page, Products page with product category or types, Product description page, Offers page/section, will have add to wishlist/cart feature, shopping cart, Checkout page, etc. There might be more pages depending on the nature of the business but these pages typically chart the customer journey. To ensure that a customer experiences an online shopping experience smoothly, these front end pages need to communicate seamlessly with backend pages such as content service, booking engine, account services, payment services, etc.

In this blog, we will be taking a look at the different types of testing that is required for e-commerce sites and some of the cool tools that can be used for the same.

Types of Testing needed and tools that can be used

When coming to testing e-commerce websites, there are different types of testing required to ensure that the customer gets a smooth shopping experience and would return to your website. The different types of testing that may be required are:

·         Functional Testing

·         Security testing

·         Performance Testing

·         Mobile/Browser Compatibility testing

·         User experience testing and monitoring

Let’s now take a look at each of these test types and some tools that could be used for each.

Functional Testing

It is really important to thoroughly test the various functionalities in an e-commerce site. Compared to other websites, e-commerce websites has many functionalities that the customer would traverse through during a visit and glitches in any of these functionalities can create a lot of frustration in customers. Here are some of the most important test cases for testing an e-commerce website.

·         Login/Logout/Create account functionalities.

·         Search functionality.

·         Sort/Filter functionalities.

·         Adding or removing to wish list or shopping cart.

·         Check out process.

·         Applying coupons or discounts.

·         Payments- Payment types, Payment gateway and processing, Cards details storage

·         Post purchase functionalities like update/cancel order, track order, product review postings, etc.

·         Database testing- like how data is modified when an item is purchased.

·         Warehouse system- how warehouse or third party is notified on placing an order.

·         Contacting the customer, confirmation emails, addressing complaints and returns, etc.

These are just few important scenarios that come very often in your customer’s journey and should not be missed. There are in many more. One of the challenge that you might have in automating the functional tests for an e-commerce site is that , the web elements on an e-commerce site is highly dynamic like the products list, promotions, coupons, etc and change often. So special care has to be taken to design and write your scripts for these dynamic elements.

Selenium is one of the best tools that can be used for automating your functionality tests. Supports for multiple browsers and OS is one of its major advantage. Being an open source tool, if you have the right resources, Selenium has great potential in creating tests with minimum investment.

Watir is another open source tool powered by Selenium itself which is a Ruby library for web application tests. It is also a great tool for automating websites.

UFT, TestComplete, Telerik TestStudio, etc are some recommended commercial tools available for automation of your functional tests. These tools have an added advantage of record and playback of tests.

Security Testing

One of the most important aspects the customer would be worried of while using any e commerce website is security. Security of the credit card or debit card transactions made, personal details, etc all matters. Hence it is very important to conduct security testing to check for security and vulnerability issues in any e-commerce website. You need to test for SQL injection vulnerabilities, ethical hacks on login/register pages, payment gateway and other pages of the site.

Here is a list of most commonly used security testing tools that can be used for testing your website.

ZED Attack Proxy (ZAP): It is one of the most popular open source security testing tool which helps you automatically find security vulnerabilities in web applications. It has many features like traditional and AJAX spiders, Fuzzer, Web socket support and REST based API and can also be used as a scanner or to intercept a proxy to manually test a webpage.

Wapiti: Another open source tool which performs black-box scans of the website and injects playloads to see if a script is vulnerable. It is a great tool which helps in detecting vulnerabilities like file Disclosure, file inclusion, cross Site Scripting (XSS), weak .htaccess configuration etc.

Iron Wasp: It is a GUI based and very easy to use security scanner which requires least expertise and checks for over 25 different kinds of web vulnerabilities.

Vega: It is a security testing tool written in Java and includes an automated scanner and intercepting proxy. It can detect vulnerabilities like SQL injection, header injection, cross site scripting, etc.

Performance testing

The performance of an e-commerce website is really important. Even few seconds of delay in loading your webpage can potentially take your customers to your competitor’s site. Thus, it is necessary to check the performance of your site by testing various parameters like webpage loading speed, throughput, data transfer rate, efficiency, uptime, database performance, website traffic load tolerance, etc.

Load Runner and JMeter are the most popular tools used for performance testing. While load runner is a commercial tool, JMeter is an open source tool.

Mobile and Browser Compatibility testing

Browser compatibility testing is essential to ensure that your ecommerce site is compatible with the various browsers out there and displays everything without any glitches across browsers. Also, with an increase in the number of users accessing ecommerce sites through mobile phones, it is important to ensure the website functions properly in mobile.

There are many tools available which enable you to test your website across various browsers and operating systems. Browsershots, CrossBrowserTesting and Browserstack are some of the tools that let you test you website across more than 1000 browsers (real desktop and mobile browsers). Perfecto Mobile is a cloud based application which allows you to access real mobile handsets and tablets connected to live mobile networks spread in different locations. You can run your tests on different types of handsets and ensure optimal compatibility of your site.

For automating your functional tests for mobile, Appium is the best open source tool available. It supports various platforms like Android, iOs and windows. It drives the tests using WebDriver protocol.

User Experience/Usability Testing

Usability of a website means nothing but the ease of an end user navigating your website. It is often used interchangeably with User Experience (UX). In fact UX is a much broader term that encompasses usability and refers to every aspect of the customer’s interaction with website. Some of the important factors affecting a user’s experience for an ecommerce site are ease of navigation, clarity of the content, ease of sorting and filtering, a simple and easy shopping cart, painless checkout process and payment options, Page load speeds, etc. Improving the usability of your ecommerce site is critical to build a competitive advantage as well.

UX mainly depends on your website design and the website performance. There are various tools available to track your visitor’s behavior in your site and determine what has to be improved in your site to enhance user experience. Tools like ClickHeatand Crazy Egg measures where visitors click and features heat maps for clicks. Based on their behavior, you can modify your website design. Tools like Google Analytics Content Experiments and Unbounceallows you to test how well different versions of your pages work in giving your customers a satisfying online purchase experience and how well each version converts.

Google’s page speed insights, Yahoo’s Yslow, WebPagesTest, etc are tools which help you analyze your website’s page load speeds. These tools also provide suggestions based on best practices to optimize the web page performance.

Browsee can help track your user’s experience and alert you whenever something goes wrong in your website. It gives you alerts based on user’s click patterns (for example, if a user clicks repeatedly on a button, it can alert you there is something wrong with that particular button), alerts for user’s experiencing slow API calls, and much more. Thus, you get to know any issues with your eCommerce website as soon as any user faces it without them having to raise an issue or report it and you can verify it and take appropriate measures. And all this you can get done with just a JS snippet integration on your pages. Isn’t it really cool?

Hope the article helped in shedding some light on the types of testing and tools that can be used for testing an eCommerce website. Ensuring your eCommerce website is glitch free and improving it to meet customer expectations is critical to stay ahead of your competitors.