E-commerce is growing at a phenomenal rate with the expected sales to reach $ 4.13 trillion in 2020 and $ 4.9 trillion in 2021. This is a direct result of the parallel penetration of smartphones and the internet. The seamless and omnichannel experience delivered by e-commerce portals make them attractive for the customers to embrace this model. However, this growth is creating high level of competition among various players with customers veering towards those who deliver the better customer experience. So, how do e-commerce players up their game and remain competitive? The answer lies in embracing a standardized e-commerce application testing process.
It is the testing of an e-commerce application and its various features and functionalities. E-commerce testing helps identify and fix bugs in the application before it is released to the customers, thus ensuring conformity to the client requirements. E-commerce mobile app testing validates various functionalities in terms of their performance, security, and usability, among others. The objectives of e-commerce app testing are:
- Ensuring the quality, assurance, and reliability of the app
- Ensuring optimal capacity utilization and performance
- Improved time to market
- Ensuring the security of customer data
- Predict customer behavior during peak loads
- Enhancing customer experience through glitch-free and high-performing application
Bugs and glitches can mar the customer experience in any e-commerce application and impact the sales volumes. So, rolling out superior e-commerce applications and portals at a rapid pace is crucial to keep a business competitive. The e-commerce domain faces a slew of challenges as mentioned below:
- High operational expenses and low-profit margins
- Unable to leverage the best available technology
- Addressing the needs of the new-age customers
To enhance its capacity, security, and sales volumes, the e-commerce industry needs to integrate:
- A multi-channel approach
- Knowledge about the target customers, their preferences, and browsing habits
- Right technology platforms
- Superior customer experiences
The e-commerce providers face a number of testing challenges in their pursuit of delivering superior customer experiences.
- Prevalence of legacy applications
- A plethora of POS applications
- Multi-device and multi-channel environment
- The need for round-the-clock uptime for POS
- Demand for rapid and continuous delivery
The above challenges notwithstanding, the e-commerce sector requires robust and reliable software systems to drive complex business processes. To ensure the testing procedure is not impacted by these challenges, a Testing Centre of Excellence should be used.
Comprising standardized testing processes, necessary tools, metrics, and human resources, a TCoE operates as a shared function across the organization. It enables the organization to achieve a higher level of QA maturity, drive test automation, and ensure better test outcomes.
The sundry benefits to be derived by e-commerce businesses in adopting a TCoE are as follows:
Optimal operational efficiencies: The QA processes followed in disparate departments or functions within an organization do not always follow a standard template. This can create issues due to the inconsistent test outcomes generated across the value chain. The issues created in any non-standard e-commerce mobile app testing may include defect leakages, wastage of time and effort, reduced productivity and efficiency, higher test expenses, and missed deliveries, among others. A Testing Center of Excellence, on the other hand, can offer a standardized testing process within the organization. This may lead to fixed guidelines for test planning, writing test cases, using tools, and execution.
Greater transparency: In the absence of a TCoE, the e-commerce business would be unable to track the test expenses and returns thereby allowing inefficiencies to set in. Leveraging a TCoE that uses metric-based tracking, the business can measure the performance of the test process in terms of effectiveness, test effort, test coverage, defect identification, and test ROI.
Support DevOps: A TCoE can help the QA team to be in sync with the latest technologies and trends, and deliver a competitive edge to the organization. Also, a TCoE can speed-up test automation and ensure quality across the CI/CD value chain.
Expanding test coverage: The QA team involved in any ecommerce website testing possesses limited project visibility – a significant challenge to get scale economies and optimize test resources. A TCoE ensures the open-source test resources are already deployed and ready to be extended for any team and at any time.
Better alignment to organizational goals: A TCoE serves as a repository of all testing functions, processes, tools, and people, operating towards a common organizational goal. It precludes the QA team from working towards a project goal alone and serves the quality standards expected of the organization in the eyes of the customers or clients.
Even though a TCoE might call for some investment at the initial stage, the benefits can more than make up for the investment and delivering good returns. It helps to make the metric-based QA process more agile, innovative, scalable, efficient, fast, and cost-effective.