The importance of testing ecommerce sites

E-commerce sites are virtual spaces where people exchange money for products, and that makes them unique on the Internet. This may not seem like much. After all, people make offline purchases all the time. However, the very fact money is changing hands means that e-commerce sites must meet higher standards.
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Ideally, these standards must be at least as high as interactive sites run by banking institutions, and so testing of e-commerce sites for things like interface quality and security is vitally important. Software quality testing is part of that package.

People want to feel secure when handing over their credit card information. A smoothly operating site, that has been certified for security, is far more likely to have a high conversion rate, thus increasing profit and long term business viability.   

The quality of e-commerce sites has been consistently increasing, yet there are still many people who do not trust the security of such sites. This is quite understandable. Nobody wants to toss their credit card information out into the ether without being very sure that their information is safe.

This is why the worst thing any stakeholder can do is to allow bureaucratic pressure for completion to compromise testing. One of the most common mistakes is to throw such testing into the hands of developers who aren’t testing specialists , are too familiar with the site, and don’t know the risks of launching a buggy site. Testing should be the purview of specialists who are familiar with the vagaries of  e-commerce and know what can go wrong. It’s important to hire testers who are professional, know what they are doing and aren’t subject to internal pressures and politics.

But, security isn’t the only concern. The interactive nature of e-commerce sites requires the testing of all aspects of that interaction, from product display to shopping cart and the checkout process. Functionality is the key to a successful e-commerce site. This includes how products are displayed, how they are searched for and how they are placed in product categories.

Website user testing should be done remotely by testers who are able to act as customers would on the site, looking for flaws in the digital product. It is important that every element from search to purchase be thoroughly tested against real world scenarios, such as different browsers and platforms. Nor should one forget the copy on the page. Is it clear and easy to read? Does it have the proper call to action?  Has it been properly proofread? All elements of an e-commerce site’s public face should undergo customer experience testing.

Needless to say, any e-commerce site should meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines and be as friendly and accessible as possible. It’s functionality should be smooth, input should be easy, it should be readily accessible regardless of platform and feel safe and secure. A well designed and debugged e-commerce site is the key to prosperity in the Internet marketplace.

 

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