Why you really need to test your e-commerce site

If you ever had a complaint from a customer that something on your website is preventing them from buying, you are not alone and in fact, you are lucky. Usually, users will just leave and purchase what they need from the shop “next door”. 

In this article, we are going to talk about what you can do to have fewer problems discovered by your clients, and more discovered by you or your team. 

How e-commerce sites are usually tested

Over the past months, we have been researching how e-shop owners and their teams are testing their websites. From our discussions with entrepreneurs, developers and agencies, we noticed that this activity often turns out to be time-consuming and repetitive.

The most common approaches we heard were:

  1. regularly checking if a shop is up and running
  2. going through the main flow manually to make sure it still works after the latest changes

After this research, we came to one important conclusion: with this strategy, it was hard to ensure that the critical functionalities are working at any point. This leads to a huge concern about customers finding functionality issues which they most probably won’t report, they’ll abandon the shop altogether instead. 

How automation and state model based testing can help e-commerce sites

When testing an online shop manually we try to think about the user’s behavior and simulate it as close as possible with the limited time and resources we have. Most of the time the test flow covered looks like this: 

However, users can be very imaginative in choosing routes to navigate through a site. They can have hard to predict journeys and take different routes to reach their goals. Instead of the simple, linear flow below, a user will most likely do the following:

In order to get closer to simulating the user’s behavior we improved our testing strategy by adding a few extra steps:  

  • Modeling, to define and visualize every possible state the site can have
  • Automation, to be able to schedule tests and automatically explore all the states of the e-commerce website 
  • Randomness, to cover both the common and unexpected paths a user can take through the site

We incorporated this approach in ShopWalker which is an automated testing service with the following functionalities: 

  • test a shop end-to-end to ensure that every part of the user journey is working on staging and live environments 
  • support testing on mobile devices and different browsers 
  • send alerts to inform shop owners if any critical functionality is down 
  • show detailed reports of each run with what was covered and what has failed 
  • gather cumulative statistics over time showing the risky areas, where failures are most common 

Reach out to us 

If you want to be among the first ones trying out ShopWalker or give us any feedback send us an email to contact@shopwalker.io 

Let us know of your perspective about e-commerce testing. We’ll make sure to incorporate any suggestions.

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