If you are in the business of selling goods or services online, the scenarios below may very well sound like your worst nightmare…
- You offer a “killer” sale, but your website can’t handle the increased traffic – and it crashes.
- Your customers can’t complete purchases because something goes awry between item selection and payment — so they abandon their carts and go elsewhere to spend their money.
Unfortunately, these consequences are all too common when companies fail to conduct proper eCommerce quality assurance. If your website or app doesn’t make it easy for customers to complete transactions, there’s no telling how many lost sales—and thus lost revenue—will result.
Luckily, there is a way to avoid these unfortunate circumstances. A QA team with expertise in eCommerce testing will know how and what to test to avoid defects that cause lost sales.
What Does eCommerce Quality Assurance Support Look Like?
While the purchase process should provide customers with a streamlined experience, developers and QA teams know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. There are countless ways glitches may occur — and impatient customers aren’t going to stick around until you figure them out.
To avoid these pitfalls, a robust eCommerce QA process should include:
- System/architecture mapping and documentation
- End-to-end functional testing using real use case scenarios
- Full QA implementation with the Agile SCRUM teams
- Sanity check creation to verify functionality before new code goes live
- Surveillance test development to monitor the live site
- Test automation development and maintenance
- Defect reporting and regression testing process implementation
- Code release management assistance
The list may seem long, but the points above are essential to ensure a positive customer experience and verify that transactions are properly executed.
Shift Priorities to Mobile
Did you know that in 2016, more eCommerce purchases were made from mobile devices than from desktop computers? It’s true – 45.1 percent of web-shopping traffic in 2016 came from smartphones versus 45 percent from desktop. It’s a small lead, but it represents a significant trend.
While the desktop experience is still important, you now must up your game when it comes to mobile – whether it be a native app, responsive site, or hybrid. Your customers expect a smooth browsing experience and fast, easy checkout and are no longer willing to give your brand more leeway just because it’s on mobile.
Complete functionality and operational testing across a wide variety of devices, browsers, and operating systems is imperative to make sure your customers remain delighted with your brand and encourage them to return.
Be Prepared to Handle Overload
Sales and promotions are excellent ways to boost online sales. But if your website or app can’t handle the extra traffic, it could result in slow load times, system errors or worse: your servers go down and the platform crashes. One bad experience like this may turn a customer away for good. So, how can problems be averted?
If you anticipate a spike in traffic to your site or app, it’s important to determine what peak loads it can handle and what failure will look like. An experienced eCommerce QA team will test your platform for the maximum number of simultaneous visits you expect. Then they will go beyond that number to learn the point at which performance degradation begins and determine whether a graceful fail-over occurs and the customer can continue or the site simply crashes.
Customers may be frustrated if they can’t get on the site immediately due to heavy traffic, but handling such instances in a way that encourages them to keep trying is key.
Get Granular with Middleware and Third-party Interactions
To avoid glitches that occur during the purchase process, eCommerce QA testing can determine if databases are delivering data to the right points at the right time.
Regular testing of middleware is essential because it’s where a massive amount of data transfer occurs, including information regarding pricing, discounts, and purchase history. An experienced QA team will perform operational verification of middleware functions and uncover any defects at the modular or code level.
Testing is also required to ensure seamless communication with credit card companies and other third party sites. A skilled eCommerce QA team can automate the process so tests are executed each time the build system generates a new version of code, saving time for the development team.
Don’t Forget the Backend
With so much riding on the customer experience and frontend operations, some less experienced QA teams neglect to test administrator portals, database integrity, third-party services and other backend functions. However, administrators and developers can unwittingly contribute to the possibility of lost sales if they facilitate the use of bad code.
To round out eCommerce quality assurance, teams mustn’t overlook the important aspect of backend testing to avoid potential defects – now or in the future.
The payback for making an investment in eCommerce quality assurance will be well worth it when customers can easily make purchases and leave your site satisfied, thus increasing the chance that they’ll return. You can bank on it!