Want to beat the competition? Get your e-commerce programs tested for quality and customer centricity

In today’s e-commerce landscape, customers and businesses alike are more and more empowered by the new digital technologies and channels easily accessible at their fingertips. However, this growing level of connectivity means managing a huge wave of data and information. Thus, businesses are increasingly facing the challenge of adopting omnichannel strategies and solutions to manage that data deluge better, know more about their customer behaviors and meet or even surpass customers’ growing expectations for quality service. Thus, unlike the earlier years when product-eccentricity (to gain competitive advantage via superior product merchandising or design) or channel-eccentricity (focusing on one or more key channels to achieve dominance) were emphasized upon, customer-eccentricity with focus on quality has emerged as a key element in e-commerce programs. From acquiring high-value customers to using relevant communication to build more profitable, long-lasting relationships, customer-eccentricity has become the primary goal of optimizing the value of every customer relationship. But to ensure your eCommerce programs meet the desired quality levels and give the customers a single, fast, secure and seamless experience across different devices, platforms and channels, a range of software quality testing needs to be performed.

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Performance testing is a top priority in e-commerce

Did you know even a delay of just 250 milliseconds of a page load time can drive customer away from your eCommerce platform to that of your competitors’? How many times have we heard eCommerce programs performing poorly or crashing under a sudden surge of holiday shoppers or during promotional events or when a sudden spike happens in their traffic? Since you can never predict with surety how many people would use your program at a given point of time, what should you do to ensure your e-commerce programs are ready to handle an abrupt shopping frenzy or a higher than expected number of users? The answer lies in having a performance testing strategy in place for software quality assurance.

The performance of your eCommerce platform depends on these factors:

Throughput

  • Executions per click
  • Transactions per minute
  • Request per second

Response time

  • Period of a task
  • Seconds per click
  • DNS Lookup
  • Page Load
  • Time lag between a click and the visibility of pages

So, these factors should be checked to ensure optimum performance of your eCommerce platform.

You should also consider these aspects while doing performance testing for your eCommerce applications:

  • Examine performance across geographical locations: The performance of your eCommerce applications shouldn’t be affected by the geography of your customer base. Since a wide variety of browsers and devices may be used across different locations, testing for the same is also recommended. Before the peak periods like the holiday season or when you are about to unveil a grand sale, the testing team should work with the marketing team to know how the campaigns and promotions will be executed so that they can test ahead and ensure their customers have a good experience.
  • Focus on UI/UX: The more usable your application/site is, the higher will be your chances of retaining the loyal users. So, you should check for poor site/catalog navigation, non-intuitive design and lack of support apart from using A/B testing to constantly test UI/UX elements to make sure the ones you use are giving you the best conversion rates.
  • Emphasize on mobile testing: Since 1 in 10 e-commerce dollars come from mobile accounts, software quality testing for ecommerce focuses on making the applications and platforms mobile-friendly. You can use load generation software to simulate peak loads and check if your apps and sites perform as desired and don’t crash under heavy load. Since the mobile domain has a huge variation in terms of platforms, devices and networks, mobile testing needs to address performance issues that such variations can trigger.
  • Testing for optimal transaction processing speed: Some particular transactions like product searches are likely to be more network intensive than others. So, you need to test such transactions across devices and browsers to ensure optimal processing speed for every transaction. It’s equally important to test each and every user path possible, especially if they are likely to affect critical operations or key functionality.
  • Cloud-based testing: If you are shying away from repeated, adequate performance testing due to the high costs involved, cloud testing can be your solution> as it can quickly simulate a large number of users without needing additional hardware. With cloud testing, you can even test your eCommerce apps and sites from geographically diverse locations without requiring elaborate setups.

Finding and dealing with performance bottlenecks and checking scalability are other factors that performance testing should address.

Other aspects to be tested

Security: In the speedily evolving world of e-commerce, conventional penetration testing is no longer sufficient. What you need is specialized penetration testing tailor-made to suit your e-commerce functional modules that can spot issues specific to e-commerce design, including third part integration (for products and vendors) and mobile payments. The penetration tests you design should address the most common vulnerabilities in the eCommerce domain namely

  • Order Management
  • Payment Gateway Integration,
  • Reward and Coupon Management, and
  • CMS (Content Management System) Integration

Once you find the flaws, you should make sure to fix them and have a secure design so that your customers can trust your eCommerce application and platform fully. Ensuring that information transmission is secure, digital signatures are used where needed, and adequate protection is in place against web attacks and computer viruses is equally crucial to have happy, returning customers.

Browser compatibility: It’s important to test if your eCommerce application and programs work on the latest browsers (Google Chrome, IE7 and above, Safari and Firefox) in use or else, you may lose out on a sizable chunk of business.

Page display: This involves testing for run time error messages, page download time that’s too long, erroneous font sizing or page display and dead hyperlinks.

Shopping order processing: From checking shopping cart functionality and order tracking to how fast and correctly order processing is done and how seamless payment processing is, testers in charge of software quality testing have a lot of aspects to focus upon to ensure customer satisfaction.

Back-up and recovery: Testing fault tolerance, back-up failure and recovery problems in case of program malfunction or crashes are crucial so that important data isn’t lost or corrupted.

E-commerce testing challenges

Testing for quality assurance in software and applications for eCommerce often faces some challenges. Since such apps and platforms usually need to be made accessible to various business regions with multi-lingual markets, compliance with accessibility standards to support the same is a tough task. Another challenge is to protect customer data and identity. Checking reliability and scalability of applications as well as extensive testing and test management for programs dealing with large scale e-commerce transformation are other challenges that testers have to deal with.

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Final words

Testing for quality assurance in software for eCommerce applications and systems is crucial for meeting the demands of customers and encouraging them to keep coming back. If you are looking for an outsourced quality assurance partner for your eCommerce needs, you don’t need to look beyond TechArcis. Reach us to get started with testing your customer-eccentric eCommerce solutions today!

Load Testing in Agile Environment – Do You Know it All

Load testing in agile environment is being extensively used in most software development scenarios in order to help developers to respond to changeability. However, the industry still withholds certain misconceptions about load testing. Think you know it all? Read on to be amazed!

Automation Testing in an Agile Environment: Five mistakes to avoid while testing in agile environment

Importance of performance testing in Agile Methodologies

Most developers and code testers prefer load and performance testing in agile development methodologies over traditional approaches as it proffer opportunities to access the direction all through the development lifecycle. Moreover, there are certain benefits of using agile methodologies, listed below:

  • The widely accepted approach to development significantly decreases testing costs of the software
  • It helps developers to build the right software by rectifying the bugs during initial stages
  • It empowers load and performance testing teams to incessantly plan their release to optimize its value right through development, enabling them to be as competitive as possible in the market.
  • Specialized problem solving units with well – Load testers – are entities which receive inputs through sensors and act on through effectors.

Some important attributes which must be followed during load testing in agile environment are mentioned below:

  • The involvement of active user is imperative
  • The testing team must be allowed to make decisions
  • Requirements develop, but the timescale remain fixed
  • Step-by-step release and iteration
  • Gathering requirements at high level; visual & lightweight
  • Complete focus on the incessant delivery of products

Common misapprehensions about load testing

load testing

There are quite a few misconceptions regarding load testing. It’s time to bust them!

  • Performance Testing is completely different and is not feasible when it comes to agile environment– Performance testing offers a much more robust testing scenario since it enables the testers to test each module separately. A series of well-designed modular tests can help in overcoming this misconception.
  • Performance testing is not quick enough for agile development environment– The testers can rely on targeted performance testing in order to rectify any issues related to speed. Most testers put up SLAs on high priority to ensure that the testing process moves smoothly.
  • Another misconception related to load testing is that most developers feel that the application must not be subjected to performance testing until and unless all the features and functions are completed. However, this is not true since each module can be tested separately.
  • Measuring the actual performance of the application is not possible if it is under the development process. On the contrary, the developers can test the performance of their code using performance test in the early phases.
  • Another misconception related to load testing is that it does not require the inputs of the whole team which is untrue.

Scenarios and practices related to load testing in agile development environment

Agile-oriented computing actually boosts designing and developing applications in terms of independent software entities, placed in an environment. In agile-based computing, software entities interact with one another in terms of languages and high-level protocols so as to achieve goals.

load testing

The above mentioned features are well suited to manage the complexity of developing and testing software in current scenario since load testing, stress testing and performance testing play a key role in defining the scalability and work-ability of the application. The agile way in which agents interact and operate is well suited to the unpredictable scenarios where software is likely to operate. The load testers ensure that application is tested through recommended procedures to ensure that it runs without any glitch.

In this methodology, only the true valuable features for a system are selected by eliminating waste and thereafter, those features are prioritized and delivered in small batches. The process put emphasis on the speed and efficiency of development workflow. There should a fast and reliable feedback between programmers and customers.

Key Features of load testing in Agile Methodology

  • It focuses more on the efficiency of the use of team resources
  • Methodology ensures that everyone remains productive as much as possible
  • It involves writing automated unit tests along with the code.
  • Lean methods focus more on concurrent work
  • Kanban development method is basically used by organizations to administer the development of products with an emphasis on incessant delivery, while not overburdening the team.

Now that you understand load testing better, we hope you can embed it in your agile setting. With so much changing about testing tools and processes, this is a great time to make load testing a part of your agile process.

Get in touch with TechArcis’s Agile Test Specialists today.

Multiple testing strategies to achieve quality in DevOps

Continuous testing and quality monitoring together with continuous test development based on TDD, BDD and shift-less as well as shift-right testing are all crucial for DevOps quality. At the same time, performing quality checks at different points in the DevOps cycle is also the responsibility of everyone involved. For example, the emphasis at continuous build is to find if the build has the potential of interfering with operation, while validating usability and functionality is focused upon at continuous development. The focal point of continuous integration is to validate security, performance and usability. To ensure quality in DevOps, clear understanding of potential risks and priorities with respect to business performance and customer value is also crucial. Let’s take a closer look at some key aspects that drive an integrated DevOps quality approach.

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An automated testing process and continuous quality monitoring:

These are related to the continuous build, development and deployment process. With a completely automated process of testing, every aspect (from test planning, test strategy, test environment set up to test data provision and test execution including functional and non-functional testing) is covered. Validation checks are performed with quality analysis tools while newly created/defined validation checks are automatically included in the complete set of existing quality checks. Based on instant user reports and production incidents, quality level of applications is monitored closely and continuously by setting up a quality automation framework.

Continuous testing:

This implies continuous quality since every step of the SDLC process is under consistent quality check to ensure flawless delivery and faster time to market. Continuous testing is performed by adopting the following approaches:

  • Shift-left and shift-right: Shift-left is an integral part of continuous integration, while shift-right is used when the domain of testing is extended after receiving end-users’ feedback.
  • TDD and BDD: With these methods, everyone involved (from developers and operations to users and testers) get a quick idea of the expected functionality and operations of the application. When coupled with priorities and possible risk factors, such knowledge can act as inputs to generate test cases automatically.
  • Continuous Integration with Test Automation: With this, you can reduce the manual effort, thus helping testing and development teams to detect and fix issues faster throughout the SDLC process.

 Integrating Non-functional Testing with Continuous Testing:

Usually, non-functional tests are not frequently run in normal continuous-integration-system cycles since they may take a lot of time to be executed. For example, it may two weeks to run a stability test. But to achieve quality in DevOps, it’s important to integrate non-functional tests for performance, usability and security etc with continuous testing. Increasing the number of test beds that allow multiple, overlapping tests or configuring the CI systems to selectively run longer tasks based on their capacity are some ways of doing it.

Other key points to consider:

For DevOps quality, the following too should be given due importance:

  • Tracking frequency of new code deployment: It will let team members of any project track the regularity of deployment.
  • Tracking lead time and change in projects: While the former will help to track successful deployment and find areas of improvement, the latter will help set parameters to track project changes.
  • Tracking percentage of failed deployments: This will help to know the deployments that led to users’ negative feedback and outages, both of which will help to ensure quality right from the beginning till the end of the process.
  • Assessing MTTR (mean time to recovery): This helps to check how market-ready the product is by tracking failures and complex issues, together with evaluating how efficiently teams can handle such difficult situations and bounce back on track.
  • Checking stability of performance metrics: Irrespective of changes in deployment indicators or user feedback, performance metrics should stay stable as they indicate the preparedness of the application/software within the defined limits.

Final Words

To improve the value your business delivers, you need to choose a testing partner that knows and implements steps to achieve excellence in DevOps quality. TechArcis can play this role well by bringing its experienced test team to help you achieve DevOps with quality. Contact us today to get started.