qa testing

The Key to eCommerce Testing Success & Better UX

Picture of Katherine Mackenzie
Katherine Mackenzie, Tuesday November 28, 2017

It’s no surprise that since 2005, “Cyber Monday” has exploded in popularity, eclipsing even Black Friday in total sales in the United States. The same great deals without all the pushing, shoving, standing in lines, or even leaving the house? Cue the sweatpants and wine! Fortune.com reported that in 2016 Cyber Monday was the highest spending day of all time in the US, peaking $3.54 billion in sales in one day, and estimates that 2017 is set to break that record with 16.5% growth from last year’s spending.

Bad eCommerce QA Testing is expensive

By now, retailers and shoppers alike know the value of online shopping is undeniable. Retailers spend millions of dollars on branding and marketing, and countless hours on creating a seamless digital experience. Even still, the Baymard Institute reports that 22% of customers say they’ve abandoned an online purchase before because of a bug or error in the website that prevented checkout. If just 1% of users on Black Friday had encountered critical point-of-sale bugs, that would result in a gargantuan loss in overall sales.

Aside from preventing shoppers from completing the check out process, bugs can cause sites to render improperly, burning investments in branding. Errors also often create other problems that deliver an unpleasant user experience, roasting your UX developers’ time. Even non-critical bugs are expensive, so every retailer with a digital presence should consider how their testing process impacts their bottom line.

Top 5 eCommerce Test Cases

The importance of QA for eCommerce, much like the pervasiveness of online shopping, is evident. That’s why we at Rainforest QA are prepared to help our eCommerce clients during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every other day of the year where customers make a purchase online. Here are some of the most common test cases we see from our eCommerce customers:

1. Checkout Flows & Critical Smoke Tests

This one is a no-brainer. Once a customer decides he or she actually wants to give a business their money, the business must actually be able to accept it! Run smoke tests early, and run them often. Did you know that with Rainforest you can quickly test your checkout flow using our new virtual credit card feature? Read more on that here.

2. UI Checking

Utilizing screenshots allows retailers to test staging environments against production to make sure all the expensive branding and UX work can have its moment. If a picture is already worth a thousand words, there's no need to have extra verbiage overlapping into the image.

3. Ecommerce-Specific Edge Cases

This is all about complete coverage. An eCommerce site with a large number of products can have seemingly countless variations of customer interactions. Knowing that no matter what a user may do on a site, they can always find their way back to their shopping cart is very important for eCommerce businesses.

What constitutes an “edge case”? Every organization’s edge cases will be different, but they tend to be less common and/or more complex than your core test cases. Some examples include testing core user flows for a significantly less popular OS or browser (e.g. an outdated version of Internet Explorer), or testing complex user interactions (e.g. “Adding and removing different versions of the same item several times”). Because of how Rainforest is structured, it’s as easy to test your edge cases as it is to test your core flows, so you can get really creative here!

Updating Credit Card Information

Facilitating an easy and joyful transaction is priority-one for eCommerce businesses. Customers can't love your products if they can’t enter the information they need to make their purchases! Security and accuracy of the checkout flow is crucial, as it is often includes private information like shipping addresses and billing information.

Filling out forms -- such as a shipping address or checkout form -- presents a unique problem for QA testing, since filling out endless forms is incredibly tedious to do manually. If there is a minor change in the form’s formatting, automation will break. Rainforest addresses this issues by creating a feature where you can inject variable data (random or defined by you) into test cases and leave the form filling out to the crowd.

Promotional Code Verification

Promotions are difficult to test in that they are temporary and change frequently. This is especially important during the holiday season, since almost every eCommerce site offers some kind of deal. While it’s relatively easy to test simple coupon codes used en masse, testing user-specific or single-use codes can be a little more challenging. Using the Rainforest platform’s customizable test variables, you can test a range of promo codes that fit your specifications to ensure that every user has a seamless experience.

Mobile QA Considerations for eCommerce

Just as you start to think you’ve got a handle on your web presence QA, you remember something else -- mobile device UX. Clickz.com reports that up to 50% of purchases happen across multiple devices. A user might see an ad for something appealing on Instagram, add it to their cart, think on buying it for a few hours and perhaps read a couple reviews on a laptop at work, then go home and buy it from an iPad.

Incorporating a powerful mobile presence with a seamless shopping experience is becoming as important as having a digital presence was in 2005 during the first Cyber Monday. The only catch is that testing on mobile presents a whole new host of challenges -- including an ever-growing spread of mobile devices and OSes to account for -- so reaching full coverage is more challenging than it may seem.

Maintaining an array of available devices you need can be challenging and chaotic (we’re looking at you, drawer of old Android test devices and tangled mystery chargers) which is why Rainforest leverages AWS Device Farm for complete coverage that can be calibrated to individual needs.

Integrations for eCommerce

Lastly, many smaller shops utilize third party vendor integrations for a whole host of services; anything from lead generation and subscription management to payment and referral systems. Making sure integrations work smoothly with websites is critical, as often times these smaller shops are relying on these services to add value to their eCommerce business in a way they couldn’t on their own.

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Want to get a jump start on Cyber Monday next year? Start rethinking your QA strategy now to make sure your ecommerce site is in shape for everything that the internet can throw its way.

Filed under: ecommerce, checkout flow, virtual credit cards, ui testing, and integrations