AUTOMATED TESTING + E-COMMERCE: THE WINNING EQUATION?
You have an e-commerce site and you don't do automated tests? No, but hello! More seriously, automated tests are perfect for e-commerce sites and Mr Suricate explains why.
We used to shop in physical stores. But that was before. With the development of the Internet and digital technology, we now do most of our shopping online, on e-commerce sites. It's convenient: we don't have to go anywhere, we have access to a wide variety of products. 129 billion euros: this is the amount spent by the French in 2021 on the Internet. And in the first quarter of 2022, this amount is 32.5 billion euros according to the report of Fevad, an increase of 11.5% compared to the first quarter of 2021 .
In short, we can say that e-commerce is working well and that it has brought a lot to companies. But it has also brought them an important competition, from which it has become more and more difficult to stand out. Those who succeed are those who know how to adapt to the constantly changing behavior and needs of consumers. And this includes their ability to offer an optimal user experience .
But what is an optimal user experience?
It's an experience based on simplified navigation, because today's consumers don't have time to waste and want to be able to find what they're looking for quickly, without having to rack their brains. It's a personalized experience, which corresponds to the profile and tastes of each consumer, which proposes adapted offers, which addresses the user directly. It's a fluid experience, meaning that the customer journey is not marred by bugs that slow down, complicate or prevent the purchase. And this fluidity includes the implementation of tests to detect the bugs in question that could negatively impact the user experience.
In this fluidity, there is also a story of speed. If a website is slow, users will tend to leave more quickly, to go to the competition. According to a study by Kissmetrics 40% of users abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. And this has a direct impact on the conversion rate and sales. Websites must also be able to handle a lot of traffic. It would be a pity if the site broke in the middle of Christmas or sales, generating important losses of money. One example is Amazon, which crashed during the first hour of its Prime Day. One of the solutions to avoid this, here again, lies in testing, especially performance testing.
Constant updates that need to be secured
We were talking earlier about the constant change in consumer behavior. They are constantly looking for new things. E-commerce sites must therefore regularly develop new features that improve their shopping experience. And this is not just about functionality. It is also necessary to be able to adapt to the demand by changing often the ergonomics of the site and its design: the buttons, the colors, the fonts, etc. But it is important to know that these updates, these evolutions, can cause bugs. It is therefore important to test them to verify that they do not lead to regression, with regression tests, but also graphic comparison tests.
Functional tests must also be run regularly to ensure that features behave as expected, that there are no bugs on critical paths, i.e. the paths most used by consumers and those that generate revenue. It's important to know that something as simple as logging in at checkout can cost hundreds of millions in revenue if it doesn't work well.
These tests can be easily automated. It is generally recommended to prioritize recurring and repetitive tests, such as regression tests, but also functional tests on critical paths, such as the purchase tunnel, and/or everything after the order as well: payment, confirmation.
How does test automation help e-commerce sites?
To avoid that their consumers go to the competition, but also to avoid losing sales, not to mention the company's image, e-commerce sites must have a very high reactivity in case of bugs. And this requires constant visibility, which can only be ensured by rigorous testing. A rigor that is not possible to obtain if you are only satisfied with manual tests.
While manual testing has its advantages over automated testing, and should not be ignored, automated testing allows for faster verification of functionality, taking only a few minutes, when manual testing can take several hours.
This speed makes it possible to run more tests, for a better coverage of the site. And above all, we can run them several times, for even more efficiency. This allows not only to prevent bugs and to secure updates, but also to increase the reactivity of the technical teams in case of a bug.
But more than reactive, e-commerce sites must be proactive. Payment problems are rarely recoverable. 86% of users tend to abandon a site when they encounter a bug. That's why automated testing is also crucial for e-commerce sites, as it is imperative to find bugs and fix them before users even have time to see them.
And where there are no bugs (or very few), there is a quality product, satisfied users, ready to come back and a good brand image. So, of course, test automation represents a small investment at the beginning, but in the long run, the return on investment (ROI) is more than interesting. You should know that the conversion rate can be tripled or even quadrupled (and more) thanks to automated tests.
What about mobile applications?
In a world where more and more purchases are made on mobile(51% according to a Payplug study), e-commerce sites must follow the trend by developing mobile applications or mobile sites to meet the needs of consumers. But users' behaviors are not the same on computers and mobiles, so it is necessary to develop different functionalities.
Because of this, the tests must also be adapted for mobile. But mobile application testing is not that simple, between different smartphone models, operating systems, operators, networks, etc. And the advantage of automated tests is that they can run on a wide variety of devices simultaneously, with various configurations (simulating network connections, for example). But we talk more about this in our article on "Which tests to automate on a mobile application"!
In an ever-changing society where technological innovations keep challenging our consumer habits, automated testing is becoming a necessity, especially for e-commerce, as it helps secure updates in the customer journey and optimize the quality assurance process.