Have you ever hesitated to buy something online when you were about to put in your credit card information? The truth is many cart abandonment issues have to do with lost confidence in the transaction caused by problems with the digital commerce experience.
By adequately testing your system, you can easily avoid these many issues. The role of quality assurance testers is to discover application flaws in advance and fix the issues before end users encounter them. To remove potential problems that can affect the customer experience, we have provided a list of common bugs we have encountered when testing eCommerce sites.
Catalog/Product Related Bugs
The catalog is the centerpiece of any digital commerce business; therefore, it should be the priority when it comes to testing. Below are the most common catalog-related issues our team came across:
- Price computation issues, leading to the wrong price being displayed on a product detail page, mainly when applying discounts by dollar amount and/or percentage.
- Incorrect inventory availability is shown in the front-end catalog, possibly leading to a delay in shipping the order, or delivery prevention.
- Currency conversion issues when more than one type of currency is accepted.
- Some problems related to product variants are the ability to select and add to cart an unavailable variant (e.g., size and color combinations) or the ability to add to cart out of stock variants.
- Issues with navigating through product detail page sections.
- Broken product links due to products that become discontinued.
Shopping Cart Bugs
Cart features need to flawlessly function as they can have a significant impact on the buying decisions of customers. Issues to watch for are:
- Inability to add, remove, or update products.
- Computation issues such as incorrect totals, shipping and tax costs, price per item, and discounts for promotions.
- Coupons accepted by the system outside of business rules (e.g., after their expiration date, wrong line items, incorrect totals, etc.)
- A coupon is used multiple times, sometimes discounting until the item is free or has a negative value where the buyer gets a credit.
- Confirmation that a coupon was applied, even if not reflected in the totals.
- Users find differences between the shopping cart’s quick view (also known as the mini bag) and the shopping cart itself.
- No validations are available on the quantity input field (e.g., ability to add 0 or a negative number).
- Users can proceed to checkout, with an empty shopping cart without displaying any error messages.
The checkout process needs to be smooth to enable conversions. Digital commerce cannot exist without sales, so checkout flows testing should be a priority for any tester. Below are potential checkout issues to look out for:
- Price/quantity inconsistency between the shopping cart and checkout screens.
- Inability to return to the shopping cart from the checkout flow.
- No error message displayed for incorrect credit card data or “Invalid Card Number” error message prompted to the user when the card information is correct.
- The user receives an error message on order placement but also gets an order confirmation e-mail that may deduct money from the user’s account.
- Inability to submit an order due to unexpected errors that are not explanatory for the user.
- Ability to submit the same order multiple times by subsequently clicking on the “Place Order” button during order placement.
- Errors in data transmission between the credit card processor and the order system.
- Users charged for the wrong amount upon order submission.
Error Message Bugs
Besides the catalog-related data and buying steps, there are a few other issues you should be aware of, as they could cause frustration for customers:
- Failure to specify required fields, optional fields, and edit permissions.
- Missing error messages or error messages not standing out (e.g., error messages using the same text color as the rest of the texts).
- Error message pops up informing the user of incomplete information entry but does not highlight the field where the error exists.
- The user can enter content in a larger field than the database accepts, causing potential application crashes.
- Long entries being clipped without an error message to warn the user about the size constraint.
- Typos, grammatical errors in error messages that change the meaning of the intended error message.
- Illegible error message: a combination of the color scheme of the message box and the font size and color may cause the error message’s legibility to degrade.
- Security problems caused by bad error handlers.
- Exposed sensitive customer data.
- Internal Server error / Timeout messages.
- Friendly 404 or 500 pages not working leading to prompting the user with error messages containing code snippets.
Users will access the website from multiple browsers, operations systems, and device combinations, so it is important to pay attention to compatibility issues, such as cross-browser, cross-device, and responsiveness:
- The site fails to load on some browsers/resolutions.
- Some site sections are entirely unavailable on some browsers/devices.
- Features don’t work on some browser versions.
- Screen re-sizing causing UI issues (e.g., text overlapping on other content)
- Affected user experience due to UI issues on some browsers (e.g., the layout changed or broken images), leading to user confidence loss to buy from the website.
If you have encountered any issues while testing e-commerce applications as a QA professional or while navigating through an e-commerce website as a customer, we’d love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to and share your findings with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.