We know online shopping is the flavor of this holiday season with a variety of products and convenience being provided by e-commerce retailers out there. Well, many of the e-commerce store owners like you would be hoping to make something big this holiday season by rolling out thousands of offers as it is rightly said, the period of four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas is where you drive the largest chunk of revenues.
For many of you, this holiday season seems scary as your websites and apps are pushed to peak capacity and load slowly while order tracking and payment processing become difficult. However, this reputation killing issues can be avoided with effective testing in place.
Right from ensuring that the website is interconnected with various functionalities to confirming successful transactions without a website crash or payment gateway error while customers are zeroing in on their purchases, a solid testing process handles everything well. Apparently, in this holiday season, making sure that your e-commerce store is ticking all the right boxes in terms of usability, experience,
Here are the 8 testing tips that you should follow to get your online store ready for the holiday season:
1. Plan Your Tests
Planning is the most important aspect to kick-start testing of your website since it ensures enough time and processes are covered to test critical components. The first thing that goes into planning is the identification of the goal. If your goal is to gain the maximum sale, then you may require identifying the typical website funnels, devices and networks customers use and functions developed to devise a test plan accordingly. Further, it involves the identification of approaches, resources required, time to test different components and success metrics ahead of time.
- Identify objective to achieve from the website or application.
- Identify and allocate enough time, budget and resources for testing.
2. Ensure Website Functionality
Believe it or not, website functionality impacts 50% of customer loyalty. Having said that, online shoppers will not return to a website if its functioning is poor. You should always perform functional testing to give your customers a flawless shopping experience since they are more likely to stick to a website that doesn’t experience downtime or functional errors. Also, all functional testing should be engineered based on customer perspective and not guesses or behavioral patterns.
- Focus on the navigation – product selection to checkout.
- Prioritize testing of important functions first.
3. Check Performance & Load Conditions
In a fast-moving world, a slow-loading website pushes your customers away. Website performance expectations have now evolved where users expect it to load within two seconds or chances are that they may abandon your site. Hence, website performance testing is inevitable in order to ensure it is accessible and performing well under peak load conditions. Utilizing website monitoring tools or traffic management systems can help in keeping a check on website load conditions and alert during a sluggish performance.
“A one-second performance delay can be the difference between a profitable and unprofitable year," says Kavitha Mariappan, Director, Product Marketing, at Riverbed.
She also says, "According to a Harris Poll, 44 percent of shoppers would cancel their online purchase midway during the final checkout process due to website delays and 89 percent of adult U.S. shoppers would simply stop shopping at an online store as a result of a poor website experience."
- Check website load conditions and performance intervals.
- Use load-balancing devices to manage load and users.
4. Check UI Elements & Content Pages
UI elements and content play a crucial role in the success of an e-commerce website and hence, you should actively get involved in ensuring correctness of UI elements and content. This may include testing of product and category page layout, images, content pages, static and dynamic text box and CTAs. Therefore, you should formulate a solid testing practice to check and optimize the front-end of your e-commerce store considering the
- Review past user experience data & behavior metrics.
- Conduct A/B testing for better analytics before going live.
5. Test & Scale Infrastructure
Servers and website infrastructure form a critical part of any e-commerce website. Even ten minutes of server shutdown or outage can cost huge to companies, crushing their online sales. This is the reason your website servers should be tested rigorously to ensure how well it can perform during specific conditions. Leverage fault tolerance wherein both hardware and software can take over when usual components fail. Also, scaling up and scaling down of servers can be utilized to increase or decrease the number of servers according to the load generated.
- Leverage fault tolerance.
- Use auto-scaling of infrastructure.
6. Ensure Mobile Responsiveness
With the increase in the usage of smartphones, 75% of the total traffic for most of the online stores constitute to mobile traffic. Underestimating mobile traffic can be a big mistake, especially during the holiday seasons. Hence, your website should respond properly to devices on which it is displayed and this is why testing mobile responsiveness is an essential part of the process. It is interesting here to note that mobile shopping apps also need to be 100% accurate for the majority of mobile shoppers abandon apps if it’s not mobile-friendly.
- Utilize dedicated tools for testing mobile versions of your websites.
- Use real devices for testing rather than simulators.
7. Secure Payments & Customer Information
E-commerce business owners also have to ensure that all the payment and sensitive information regarding customers are completely secured at all times. Along with this, you must also ensure that your website back-end administration and checkout partner information is highly secured to avoid any chances of information theft and hacking. You must also ensure that all the payments are processed via servers that are SSL encrypted.
- Test for DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) mitigation.
- Ensure all the vulnerable systems and servers are protected in advance.
8. Keep it Real
Lastly, it is advisable to test your e-commerce store in the real-world scenarios. Although testing in lab environment help understand the performance of the application, however, the production environment is always different in terms of infrastructure, software configurations, shared networks and links. This is the reason the impact of the application is different in a real environment and devices than lab environment. This should go hand-in-hand with devices and infrastructure preferable used by customers to understand the actual application performance.
- Consider customer’s environment.
- Keep a check on actual and test environment analytics.
In addition to above, it is recommended to precautionary measures by determining the critical areas of your e-commerce store that are more likely to get affected during the holiday rush – and focus on getting them sorted first. Lastly, acknowledge that continuous testing and monitoring is essential to make your e-commerce store grow exponentially.
We hope, by following these 8 tips you really make your web and mobile users happy and deliver rich and amazing shopping experience to them.
So, this holiday season we wish you make the highest conversion and don’t let increased traffic, API errors, browser/device issues or blackouts kill the performance of your e-commerce store.