“If you have an unhappy customer on internet he doesn’t tell to his six friends, he tells his 6000 friends.” –Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com
Functionalities of the portals improve the user’s experience. Hence you need to make sure that they behave properly and work as per end user’s expectations. The functionalities which appear as simple to an end user are actually pretty complex and often accounts to as the determining factor for success and failure of a portal. Two expensive affairs if customer finds any functional errors – 1. Short term- potential revenue loss, 2. In long term customer switch over to alternative sites.
Here are few key considerations with respect to functional validation for an e-commerce portal:
>> Product Search: This is the most important aspect in an E-commerce portal. Gone are the days when users used to search a specific item which they are pretty sure to buy; now user wants this function to guide them to find the desired products which they are looking for. Ask few questions to yourself as a tester before you test this feature:
- Is my portal serving the relevant search results? Can I learn about my customers; based on their search criteria and test? Example- One of the Indian online stores I searched for author ‘Robin Sharma’ but it shows results for Vocalists, Music legends CD.
- What product attributes can customers search on and test against it?
- Is there a right mapping to the appropriate product categories? Example – I had searched for ‘Samsung mobile’. In first two searches it shows Nokia
- Can I validate mapping of relevant promotions when customers search my site?
>> Browser compatibility: Website needs to be tested against a variety of “Browsers” and at least THREE backward versions; to ensure that contents/images seen across browsers are of the same quality. Always stay current on browser releases
>> Link correctness: Relevancy of the links need to validated thoroughly. Make sure that these links land on the right page and has the relevant content.
>> Product Pages: Product information is provided to customers using a combination of content and product images. Make sure that product pages show the right values (availability, specifications, product options, delivery and price).
>> Shopping cart: cart is most important feature of your portal. Hence do validate:
- Cart functionality – adding/removing products, tax/shipping/discounts/loyalty calculations etc.
- Oder/Payment processing feature.
- Tracking of Orders (for customer & for backend system).
>> Discount/Coupon code: Business logics need to be validated. Misuse of coupons can lead to a huge business loss.
>> Localization: Is your portal deal with multiple countries? Based on target audience; portal should offer multi language option. Contents need to be validated by an expert.
>> Cross selling /recommendations: Relevancy of the product recommendations need to be validated against the list of cross sell products (For example on Sony Ericsson music phone product page you need to test against list of recommended product checklist- ear phone, Bluetooth, Micro SD, accessories & also up sell product list). Wrong information frustrates the user. Also this feature has the direct impact on the additional sales made on the portal.
- Test for spelling errors.
- Font consistency.
- No offensive and misleading content. This irritates the customer.
- Infringements – Portal contents and images should be free from royalty/copyrights OR make sure that you have required permissions to use such contents.
The e-Commerce portals have become a significant revenue driver in world market. Next time if you encounter any of above issues, fix them immediately. You never know how much business you are losing.