The holidays are fast approaching, and your website is up and running. The website is dynamic and catchy, you have special offers for the season, and customers are doubling their visits and exploring their choices. There was this big sale lined up for which everyone in the company worked hard, the deals have been communicated for days together, the inventory is ready, and before you know it – the day is here! This is it, the big break your company could really use, the sales that would mark the break-even, or the customer base that would help your brand seize more market share.
Suddenly on the day of the sale, the website servers are down. The payment gateway crashes. Customers are not able to clearly view product availability details. There is an endless waiting on their side. And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Soon after, complaints and accusations of carelessness start pouring in. The staff is overwhelmed, the tech guys are on vacation, and the people trying to handle the situation are either stressed and overworked, or dazed and confused.
The tables turn upside down and everyone is holding their breath for things to go back to normal. It could take a couple of seconds (people would forget about it), it could take a couple of hours (people would take to Twitter about it), it could take a couple of days (the sale has ended and there is nothing good about the situation).
That the issues even surfaced to begin with is itself unfortunate – but the response time with which the website bounces back often determines how many customers would trust it again in time to come. Increasingly, e-commerce websites are taking the time to ensure that issues can be capably handled almost as soon as they pop-up. This points to a great amount of testing, which has the scope to cover different scenarios under a uniform context.
Here we talk about 5 effective testing techniques that would put your E-commerce company at a much better place when it comes to dealing with adverse situations on the day(s) of the big sale:
- Website Security: Website security literally either makes or breaks your e-commerce company. Security is not an option; it is a mandate. Making sure that your website is secure is perhaps the most important tip here. While other issues might be overlooked, forgotten over time and might still bring back business, security issues will send customers running from your website. Even the idea of a hacker being able to access sensitive information, including banking information and address details, would be off-putting to consumers. To have to deal with such an ordeal would ultimately result in loss of brand reputation and would evoke plenty of animosity, which in turn would directly impact current and future sales. To avoid such situations altogether, security testing of the website is key.
- Review Past Data: Often, we realize a little too late that we have yet again made the same mistake. This step is crucial in determining what had gone wrong previously (if anything) and will help gain an understanding of what needs to be tested. Apart from reviewing past mistakes, data, when sufficiently analyzed, gives valuable insights to consumer shopping behavior. This in return gives more scope for targeted marketing and increases the chances of overall sales and profit. The data also gives a comprehensive view of the performance levels of your website. However, there are multiple factors that can affect the performance of a said website. There are companies that offer performance analysis for e-commerce websites, through which the various options help discover and optimize inefficiencies.
- Usability Testing: Especially considering that e-commerce websites contain plenty of dynamic content, usability testing helps testers identify genuine problems faced by potential users. The testing is conducted under specified scenarios that represent realistic situations. A/B testing comes under this category, and is perhaps the most effective. A/B testing or Split testing, helps identify what scenarios work and what do not. This helps effectively design the webpage, and helps most your customers have a better connect with your website. If content and designs are randomly juxtaposed, there is a danger of cluttering the web page, making it difficult for users to navigate the website or even draw desirable information from it. Usability testing can also be done from remote locations to identify potential factors that might affect cross-border transactions.
- Leverage the Mobile Experience: A seamless mobile experience achieves two things:
- Stickiness factor
- Brand image building
When customers have carefully picked out what it is they want to buy, imagine their frustration when the transaction remains incomplete. Once they have already made up their mind to purchase the item, if the transaction fails on the current website, within seconds, your customers turn to your competition. Having a customized mobile application that your users can turn to at times like these helps sustain, and even improve the brand image. Further, it gives them the assurance they need to continue the association with your e-commerce company. However, as much as we would all like to believe that it is, a seamless mobile experience is not as easily achievable. Mobile application testing needs to be conducted across devices and on various platforms to ensure that user experience remains uniform.
- Run Load Tests: The importance of load testing cannot be stressed upon enough. It is crucial to be able to handle the website traffic on the day(s) of the sale, and to be able to perform multiple transactions simultaneously. Here is where most websites, despite all the predictions and extrapolations, tend to fall short. A good testing vendor would be able to use the most appropriate tool required to provide the basic metrics of your website. Load tests help provide data in terms of size of files that is required to download a page, the total number of page elements, status of HTML and CSS code, etc.
Testing every aspect of the website in every achievable manner is crucial for the overall website performance. To avoid a lull after the sales period, and to avoid losing customers because of performance, security and usability issues, an end-to-end testing plan needs to be expertly executed well before the day(s) of the sale. Cigniti Technologies is globally a leading provider of testing solutions. We cater to customers across industries, through effective frameworks. Recently, Cigniti Technologies launched its proprietary testing platform, BlueSwan, that offers an array of testing services.
Visit our website www.cigniti.com to know more about us and get in touch with our experts.