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!

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.

Don’t let Digital Future Come at the Cost of Quality

Today’s digital age has brought customers much closer to businesses, which in turn has significant impact on testing and quality assurance functions. The new age customer loves to stay connected and expects to get the desired information at his/her fingertips. No wonder that they have made companies rethink their business models and operations, accelerate the necessary changes and respond to emerging external market forces to offer customers superior products and better customer service. However, in their quest to embrace the digital future, quality shouldn’t be compromised. Rather, emphasis should be given on quality assurance and testing as they will reduce the time-to-market, thus helping to enhance performance, security and customer satisfaction, all of which will let businesses easily adapt to the digital revolution.

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QA and testing trends and how they will affect the transition to digital

Though customer experience, security and corporate image remain the most vital strategic IT drivers for ensuring quality of digital transformation, emphasis is also given on efficiency and effectiveness as significant testing and QA objectives.

According to the World Quality Report 2016, higher QA and testing spends wasn’t triggered by a higher level of digital focus. Yet, in their bid to improve the time to market, businesses are increasingly adopting DevOps and continuous integration, which in turn influences the QA process.

The report predicts that among the entire budget allocation for QA and testing for new developments, new digital solutions like mobile, cloud, IoT and BI/BA will claim a significant share of 60%.

To stay ahead in the competition, agile testing and continuous delivery will be increasingly emphasized upon. When it comes to agile methods, the development and test teams need to have a string relationship and collaborate effectively. For example, agile scrum is a holistic, flexible product development strategy that’s changing how testers function by encouraging teams to self-organize and ensure regular communication. Continuous delivery too is going to be in the limelight as it would help in early detection of problems, help in assessing the effectiveness of a change and decide whether such a change can meet the end-user expectations or not.

Setting up of TCOEs to align quality efforts in sync with business needs is another trend that’s going to stay. Focus on mobile testing and cloud-based testing is also going to pick up and QA and testing teams will increasingly need to find ways to allay fears related to privacy, security and control of data.

Recommendations for beating the competition

  • Security: With digital transformation, security would demand a multi-layered approach. For example, you can correlate multiple events from different systems using artificial intelligence and machine learning, which would help spot sources of a breach and learn adaptively how to offset it. Companies should research new technologies, such as ephemeral systems, software-defined security and homo-morphic encryption together with considering new processes like bringing the development, testing and operations teams together to offer smart, pervasive security.
  • Automation: Virtualization and automation are increasingly replacing human interactions with codes that handle everyday tasks, thus bringing a huge change in how business process, IT infrastructure services and interactive customer services function. To get ready for a future where more complex tasks will be performed by software apps, small steps can be taken. This could include automating interface creation, or testing and coding hand-offs from requirements through deployment. Leveraging emerging tools like modeling languages is also a good option as you can use it to describe processes that a human and a computing system would both understand.
  • APIs: As APIs become an integral part of company resources that encourage innovation and drive revenue, businesses will need to find ways to develop, share, use, secure and monetize APIs. One way is to design services that don’t just support technical functions but even specific business capabilities like an inventory check etc. A successful strategy for API-driven ecosystems would also need continuous integration, DevOps, testing, logging and tracing, messaging, monitoring, service registration and discovery among others.

Final words 

QA and testing is crucial for any digital transformation journey. So, businesses need to identify the right tools, measures and methodologies to make their organization future ready and assure top-notch quality of their products to enhance customer experience. With TechArcis, you can stay ahead of the curve by being ready to undergo a digital transformation without sacrificing quality. Contact us today to know more.