Shopify is an ecommerce platform which enjoys strong popularity in the retailer community, and there are obvious reasons for that; its ease of use, its reliability, and its ability to integrate with our existing tech environment, since it can be customized according to the user’s needs.
The first value feature to notice is that it facilitates the move from manual, tedious tasks like the testing of orders, checkouts, payments, etc, and jump to a fast and efficient automation of our ecommerce platform testing. This efficiency will no doubt result in saving time and resources, but it will also help business owners make sure their platform stays up and running, and, most of all, as bug-free as possible so as not to hinder user experience and keep their visitors and customers coming back.
Things to consider
The level of customizability and easiness that Shopify offers as the possibility to create high-value customer experiences, comes, however, with a relatively considerable price. As with most other software platforms, Shopify releases updates on a regular basis, which add improvements to its functionality while also removing bugs and random UI malfunctions which affect the user experience. This is of course a very valuable aspect, but bad news is, when the user does a big customization on the platform, unwanted events tend to happen. Therefore, regression tests are of capital importance, since they help owners ensure that the processes most critical for business keep working as intended when Shopify pushes its updates live.
But regression tests don’t –or should not– reduce merely to the instances in which Shopify publishes its updates. They should be carried out with the same priority as it’s done when updates are made to the business website/app. And it’s not only updates; there may be stable business-critical processes which are prone to be affected by those updates. Just because an owner might have more control over those changes it does not at all guarantee the absence of bugs.
What to test then
Let’s list some the key/priority Shopify components:
- Critical functions: business-critical processes, e.g.: adding items to a cart, check-out, and payment –with the help of Shopify’s integrated Test Mode which we’ll cover in future articles.
- Plugins/integrations: e.g.: CRM systems and payment portals. These tests help ensure data is correctly migrated.
- Browsers: test for browser compatibility between different –popular or preferred– browser vendors/versions.
- Devices: although studies show commerce taking place on mobile devices will represent more than 40% in the coming few years, laptop computers are still in use, and a valuable online store should work on every device in terms of usability, performance and responsiveness.
- OSs: In terms of OS platform, there should be no doubt: more is more, when a website can be accessed from a wide scope of OSs.
- Performance/Load tests: when business starts to grow, visitors to the online store multiply, increasing the stress levels to which the system is exposed. Owners must make sure the platform can withstand a high intensity of use. Also, and the phrase time is money could not apply better, load time must be kept within a threshold correlative to the attention span of the average internet user, all in itself implying the achievement of a quite delicate balance.
- A/B tests: A statistical, user oriented test in which two versions of a website are put online in order to assess which one funnels more visits (conversion rate increment).
- Site redesign tests: multiple tests done simultaneously while entire site gets redesigned.
- Multivariate tests: aimed at finding the combination of elements which performs better according to customers/users preferences.
- Split URL tests: a partial redirection of user traffic to another URL in which an updated version of the website is located. Common practice at product launch time or when incorporating changes.
- Customization/UX: by the use of browser cached data, owners can make their Ecommerce platforms provide customers and users with the best user experience possible.
- Accessibility tests: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability and it can be apparent or non-evident. If designers are serious about designing for inclusivity, then accessibility (a11y) shouldn’t just be a last item on their QA checklist, but a part of every design decision. It is certainly important and useful for design and testing to be accessibility-oriented.
- Penetration and mitigation tests: security is always a thing when running an online business. Shopify platforms can be tested for certain anomalies/weaknesses on the configuration level like unnecessary ports open on the server, vulnerability against SQL injection, cache control headers not set properly, Secure and Httponly cookie attributes not set, web server contains a robots.txt file, CVV number not masked on checkout page, etc.
Shopify is a total game changer for online business owners, especially shop owners who sell their products via an Ecommerce store. However, the more the Shopify platform scales in size and gets customized, the more careful one has to be and perform rigorous, extensive and detailed testing to ensure the best balance possible between performance, user experience, security, and of course, economy in money and human effort.