The coronavirus imposed lockdown and the unstable global economical and commercial situation has seen a change in the mindset of consumers. No longer are they opting to visit malls and stores for their everyday purchases. Instead business is booming online. E-commerce or online sales are scrambling to brace the impact of this global pandemic by taking the help of e-commerce app testing services.
Statistically, global online sales or e-commerce has seen a sudden spike. In the US alone, June online sales grew by around 76%. Notably, the sales of specific products like toilet paper, sanitizers, antiseptic liquids, surface cleaners, medicines, groceries etc., saw some of the highest increase in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the world, e-commerce companies are playing a key role in ensuring people stay safe within their homes yet their daily needs get catered to.
Another positive side of this e-commerce boom is the preservation of jobs during the ongoing period of health and economic crisis. They are even creating new job opportunities in these trying times. The increase in popularity of e-commerce or online shopping is evident from the current online search patterns. With almost all countries worldwide keen on preventing the spread of the infection by encouraging social distancing and limiting physical contact between individuals, the digital economy is fast becoming the mainstay of many businesses and households alike.
Drawbacks to COVID-19 impact on e-commerce
But with this sudden spike, two conditions have also developed. They are:
- Online businesses were not prepared to take on this sudden spike in popularity and usage and
- Hackers are having a field day with all the confidential data currently available online.
In the first instance, the internet or World Wide Web played spoilsport as it did not have the required bandwidth to handle such a huge influx of consumers. The need for the internet heightened considerably with people being forced to stay back at home and work from home. Additionally, with people going online to cater to their daily needs, the internet was ill-prepared for such a huge onslaught of usage.
For the hackers, the sudden spike in e-commerce sales proved to be a goldmine that demanded to be explored. The e-commerce websites were ill-equipped to prevent a breach of data in some instances. Very recently an e-learning app was forced to take extreme measures as their database got hacked and valuable customer data stolen.
Thus to prevent such a security threat from materializing, e-commerce apps have been resorting to e-commerce app testing services. Thus these services too witnessed a spike. But to understand the COVID-19 implications of an e-commerce app, it is important to understand the different e-commerce apps present.
Types of e-commerce apps
Most e-commerce apps can be divided into 5 different categories. They include:
1. B2C or business 2 customer e-commerce: The main focus of these apps is directly on the end customers. They cater to these consumers by maintaining a virtual store and delivering the ordered products directly to the customer after selection and payment. Some common B2C apps are Amazon, Uber, and LinkedIn etc.
2. B2B or business 2 business e-commerce: Herein goods are provided to another business using the online platform. This category is not as popular as the B2C customer e-commerce category.
3. C2C or customer to customer e-commerce: While this is a relatively old concept, it is only now that it is fast catching up. Herein, individuals sell their products directly to customers using the online platform.
4. C2B or customer to business e-commerce: This type of business is common among freelancers, web designers, artists etc. These people sell products and services directly to big companies.
5. C2A or customer to administration e-commerce: The sales herein happen from consumer to any public administration.
6. C2C or customer to customer e-commerce: Herein trading happens between consumers using a money exchange medium like PayPal, Gpay etc.
All e-commerce apps fall under one of the above categories. The selection of the e-commerce app thus depends on the type of e-commerce business the owner wants to cater to.
Criticality of testing e-commerce apps
E-commerce today deals with a lot of different segments like finance, auction, marketing, manufacturing, wholesale and retail etc. The past few months have seen a huge spike in its popularity but e-commerce was set to show a predicted growth even before that. Thus to absorb this spike, websites and mobile apps need to be tested to reduce chances of failures. Some important reasons for testing e-commerce apps include:
- App usability,
- Interface user-friendliness,
- Errors and mistakes etc.
There is also a mandatory need to comply with QA standards set by statutory bodies. These compliances enable an e-commerce app to show commitment, maintain product quality and ensure a superlative experience. Some of the important things that e-commerce app testing services offer to ensure security and quality of e-commerce apps and services are:
- Functionality of the app: There are 4 important elements associated with an e-commerce app. They are:
- Main pages that include the Home Page, the Product Page, the Add to Cart and Checkout pages, the Special Offers Page etc.,
- Category or product type pages,
- Product descriptions and
- The shopping cart.
Initiating functional testing on the app or the e-commerce website enables developers to understand if the app is functioning properly and in an error-free manner.
- Application workflow testing: To understand if the complete workflow of the e-commerce app is working properly, the following features also need to be tested. They include:
- Signup and login options,
- Product review feature,
- Application of filters for choosing specific products,
- Sorting feature,
- The add or remove functionality of the shopping cart,
- Checking out process,
- Payment options,
- Generation of order no and invoice etc.
- Payment gateway functionality testing: This is another important aspect of the e-commerce app that needs testing. This functionality testing should be carried out several times to ensure that:
- The product details including its price, tax, shipping charges, discounts are properly added so that the customer can pay the correct price,
- Payment processing can be done smoothly and in a hassle-free manner,
- Invoice generation is properly done and the same is sent via emails,
- Refund processes including refund receipts and emails for the same are working properly.
- Security and cyber vulnerability testing: E-commerce apps are vulnerable to cyber attacks as they hold valuable customer banking and payment data. Thus security testing of the app forms a criticality that no one can afford to ignore. Testing methods generally used include ethical hacks, SQL injections etc. The pages that need to be tested for security and cyber threat vulnerability are registration and login, payment options and gateways etc.
- Web browser compatibility: Many different users make use of search engines that are different from Google. They include Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer etc. Thus e-commerce app testing services need to account for testing the functionality of the e-commerce apps so that all users enjoy a good experience irrespective of the browser used.
- Mobile responsiveness testing: Today smartphones are fast overtaking desktops and laptops in popularity. Thus all apps need to be tested for mobile optimization. Most companies take a mobile-first approach to ensure e-commerce app success. Thus the app responsiveness vis-à-vis the different screen sizes needs to be tested for a good mobile experience.
- Performance testing: This needs to be done to check if important parameters related to the website and its pages are working properly. These parameters include:
- Speed of webpage loading,
- Data transfer rate,
- Efficiency and uptime,
- Traffic load tolerance,
- Database performance,
- Throughput and
- Error or failure messages etc.
Also Read: Top 6 Trends in Mobile App Testing Services
Implementing SEO techniques imparts higher visibility to the e-commerce app and subsequently, this leads to better conversions and leads. Thus such SEO strategies like Meta tags, Meta descriptions, title tags, image alt tags, URL structure etc. also need to be tested for their proper implementation.
- Social media integration: Social media has contributed hugely to the success of e-commerce apps. Thus the developer needs to ensure that the website architecture, workflow etc., is aligned with social media integration. Thus integration testing enables e-commerce app testing services providers to understand if APIs related to the same are working properly.
Thus the testing types that need to be applied to an e-commerce app to check and ensure its functionality and utility are:
- Functional testing,
- Performance testing,
- Usability testing,
- App testing,
- Database testing,
- A/B testing
- Security testing
There is no doubt that e-commerce app testing contributes hugely to its success. It ensures the reduction of such errors and failures that have the potency to crop up when it is being used by consumers.
Benefits of e-commerce app testing
There are several key advantages to enabling the testing of the e-commerce app like:
- Improvement in the conversion rates leading to the strengthening of business,
- Increase in the release of updated versions so that the app can be kept upgraded to reflect the current user buying habits,
- Facilitation of cost-cutting by:
- Improving the quality of the e-commerce app,
- Testing before launch so that errors and failures, if any, can be detected and
- Huge reduction in unsatisfied customers etc.
Retail is a highly evolving, volatile and dynamic industry. Thus it is recommended that e-commerce apps be tested before their launch. This ensures app success and enables the website owner to capitalize on the growing need for online retail.