4 common situations when critical eCommerce bugs appear

Have you ever tried to buy something online and made it all the way to the checkout, only to find out that the payment process isn’t working? Or how about spending hours on an eShop, carefully choosing all your items and just when you’re thinking “ok let’s empty my bank account” the cart isn’t opening? 

For an eCommerce site owner, problems that prevent the client from buying are critical. To hope that you can avoid these types of bugs is unrealistic, but trying to find them before your shoppers should be a must.

eCommerce key moments

Knowing when to look for critical bugs is a good start in trying to prevent them. From our experience with e-commerce testing, we found 4 common moments when issues usually appear.

Plugin or module updates 

Themes and plugin updates can break functionalities due to their incompatibility with different WordPress or Magento versions or other plugins. Some example of bugs we encountered:

  • a white screen when trying to proceed to the checkout page, after a WordPress version update
  • clients blocked from finishing orders by an SEO plugin upgrade
  • unexpected products showing up in the cart, after installing a caching plugin

Third-party integrations 

One of the most annoying issues a customer can face could happen when trying to integrate a new payment processing service on your website. 

You’re probably familiar with the scenario where a user selects a product, adds it to the cart, completes all the shipping and billing details to find out that the credit card fields are not working or the payment process has failed in the last step. After going through the whole buying process without being able to successfully purchase, this issue will most probably make the user abandon your shop. 

Product imports

Keeping the stock in sync with the product catalog can be challenging when you have a large number of products and/or high traffic. Broken product links, out of stock items displayed as available, are some bug examples introduced by imports and stock updates. 

Design and layout changes

In the case of new elements added to the site, the challenge is to make sure it works across different browsers and mobile devices. An issue we met related to this is a newly added chat icon that looks great on desktop, but on some mobile devices overlaps with the cart icon, blocking users from finishing their order or seeing what was added to the cart. 

Our eCommerce testing approach

There are no 5 steps to ultimate success in these situations. A testing strategy has to take into account your specific context, financial possibilities and so on. So we’re going to share one approach we found useful in most of our eCommerce projects.

In order to continuously work on making sure that there are no functionality issues preventing customers from purchasing, we schedule automated tests several times a day. We generate and run our test flows based on a state model, covering the relevant functionalities of the e-commerce sites and adding variation at the same time. 

As we love to test the smart way we created a tool to help us “be present” in all the key moments and more. ShopWalker is a test automation tool that acts like a real customer, covering both the common and the unexpected paths a user can take through the site. See below examples of two online shops, where we run some basic functionality tests using a simple model:





As you can notice, at each step, ShopWalker checks the behavior of the site and decides randomly which is the next action to be executed from all the possible ones within the model.  For example, it checks if products are displayed on the product page then decides to add an item to the cart or to go back to the home page.

We are currently working on making ShopWalker available for e-commerce owners to help them continuously test their site and be the first ones to know when there are critical issues. Find out more about the features of this tool by accessing our page shopwalker.io.

We’d love to hear about your e-commerce testing approach or some common bugs you experienced, don’t be shy and leave a comment below.

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