As part of our retail software testing practice, we have been testing several ecommerce websites in past several years. The main purpose of a retail online business is to attract customers and then basically get them to buy your products. So the main objectives are to show product details to potential customers, and make it easy as possible for them to find the right product and then of course pay for it. I’ll just discuss the first part since the payment process is a whole document in itself when it comes to testing.

A successful retail website entices users to be more interested in the product and leads them to want to learn more about the product details, either in graphics or text. The most important factor is to organize and show such information to keep the customer moving forward toward your objective; buy. Given this, based on our experience in testing retail software for many different clients, we need to prioritize our testing effort based on the special objectives of ecommerce:

1. Presentation of product images:

The best way to attract customers is to present product images with the proper mechanism, structure, and functionality:

– Mechanism: The main image can be a static image or dynamic image. If the image is dynamic, image transition should be tested including the direction of the image fly in, duration etc.

– Structure: Usually a main product image displays in the product detail page. At the bottom, a series of thumbnails are listed. Other parameters may be listed as well through thumbnails.

– Functionality: Zoom function on the main image; if click on or just put your cursor above the image, a magnifier will display and show more details. Image rotation function by clicking on the thumbnail, the corresponding image will show as the main image. Thumbnail navigation also needs to be tested. Click on left/right arrow, thumbnails should navigate from one to the next.

2. Presentation of product description text:

– Content and style: Check that the content matches the image and that the text style is displayed as expected or not.

– Compatibility: Test with different browsers and OSs.

3. Presentation of additional product parameters:

– Parameters: Additional parameters are usually provided when the user chooses and pays for a certain product. Such parameters may include: size, color, amount and inventory etc.  The parameters shown depend on the specific product or system design. All these should be tested with different combinations.

– Social networking: Rank, Facebook, tweet, or vote functions need to be tested as well.

We’ve tested many retail ecommerce sites that show large quantities of products, specialized products, etc., but when it comes to testing, the same principles apply. We always place a heavy emphasis on not only functionality, but usability from an end user perspective.