It’s no surprise that the lockdown-induced demand for online shopping caused the need for e-commerce software, marketplaces, and custom solutions to skyrocket. In the United States alone, retail e-commerce sales increased by 13.7 percent in 2021 to reach $908.73 billion. Worldwide, e-commerce sales growth throughout the pandemic rose by 25 percent. B2B retailers also felt the sales bump. Their sales went up to nearly $1.5 billion in 2021, a 12.2% increase from a year prior.
With this increased demand also comes rising customer expectations. With rigorous testing planned and executed correctly, you can not only dodge the bullets of the negative feedback but also gain resources to add value to the product you sell — in the form of a seamless buying experience.
The importance of testing for e-commerce projects
Lost revenue and damage to your brand reputation are just two of the consequences of unresolved online store bugs and errors. No matter how expensive or well-maintained your e-commerce solution is, your QA team will still have to test every minor customization on top of their existing list of required e-commerce test cases. If you leave e-commerce site testing to their own devices, your venture will be exposed to risks of compromising security functionality and performance.
Here’s a brief summary of key points that can make or break an e-commerce enterprise of any size:
- Online store availability
Conducting sales means your business experiences high and low seasons, and your marketplace has to be available under any circumstances. An unstable connection, slow-loading pages, and popping server errors can spoil your customers’ first impression, impact the buying experience, and provoke consumer anxiety. Subconsciously, your customers may choose to switch to another store.
- Goods availability
Whatever you’re selling, two of the main benefits of ordering goods online are speed and reassurance. Just a quick search and a few steps are enough to place the order. Instant availability is the main advantage you have over your competitors — because even if you’re not up there in terms of design and UX yet, customers stick with the seller with the product in stock.
- Strong UX with emphasis on the search
Even if you keep inventory levels in check and offer the best prices, what’s the point if a customer can’t find what they’re looking for as quickly as they need it? The chances are, they’ll give up quickly and leave without giving you a second chance. Test your search feature thoroughly with all the possible faceting and filtering you are planning to include.
- No “dark patterns” in UX
The infamous conversion-rate killer is the deceptive strategy some companies use to lure buyers into paying more. Some use patterns like hidden shipping costs or items automatically adding to a customer’s shopping cart. The catch is that user experience patterns often throw customers off instead of converting them into returning customers. It’s essential to make sure the user journey is free from unpleasant surprises.
Types of e-commerce application testing
Ways of improving e-commerce software testing for B2B e-commerce solutions
First, let’s learn more about crucial e-commerce test cases you need to pay attention to in the digital commerce domain and the core differences in test cases between B2B and B2C. Even though the mechanisms and general patterns are similar, your priorities might shift depending on the industry you’re in. There are more differences between B2C and B2B commerce than you might expect.
We asked Forte Group’s own Senior Director of Commerce and Digital Innovations, Alex Shakhnovich, how he and his team approach testing. Here are a few insights.
Keep in mind the business-specific user workflow
For the B2B public, the attractiveness and marketing wrap that comes with the product matter way less than for the B2C crowd. This is because B2B buyers usually come with a clear intention and understanding of what they would like to purchase. What the seller has to do is provide the buyer with a store layout that is easy to navigate and highlights all the product features that make up the final price. Sometimes, business analysts think that a one-size-fits-all standard catalog feature for every e-commerce platform would be enough. And this is what causes them to lose potential customers whose line of work is purchasing goods quickly and effectively.
Figure out CPQ functionality to the T
For the B2C business model, quotation functionality is often not relevant. But in B2B, where item configuration might get extremely complex (take, for example, heavy machinery or medical equipment), quotations and budget negotiations are win or lose features. The specialist in charge of testing this feature should have a clear picture of the requests customers of this particular store might have. What will the most frequent purchasing scenario be for this type of product?
Make the checkout intuitive and include appropriate payment options
The person in charge of a wholesale order or a business purchase doesn’t usually shop for their personal needs. More often than not, it’s their job, and placing the order quickly, correctly, and with all order details accessible is their priority. Unlike in B2C, the range of payment options should include deposits, credit limits, invoice payments, and so on. Each of these features requires additional rounds of testing.
Expect challenges when integrating a digital commerce system
No two e-commerce implementations, whether B2B or B2C, are the same. A system that marries production with a product catalog and automates sales is never easy to build. This is why a QA engineer should be more than a test executioner — they should study the client’s operations and test with their business needs and pains in mind.
Testing processes in general are often regarded as the final stage of delivering the software product. But when you want an e-commerce tool to not only digitalize your sales but also multiply them, simply checking whether the code runs is not enough. A QA specialist aims for a deeper understanding of the sales process and accompanies the system development from scratch, penetrating the system with tests at every stage.