by Delia Stanescu, QA Manager at Luminos Labs
If you spend much time in the eCommerce world, odds are you have seen or experienced a painful digital transformation. A delayed site launch may cause much of this frustration because of the potential issues that may arise. A site often requires a lot of testing that can cause delays impacting your revenue and credibility. Starting a new digital commerce business, re-branding, or re-platforming your website, will always have surprises. Why worry about making everything perfect when you can focus on the most important things? The earlier you launch your new website, the sooner you can iterate and improve it.
A surefire way to fail is by overcomplicating things. Depending on your digital commerce business model, you should first prioritize identifying key features. This way, you can focus on implementing, testing, and launching the features and capabilities that are essential to creating value for your customers, within your budget and timeline constraints. Consider the core customer-facing features for your website’s initial launch by analyzing what you currently have and decide what the “table stakes” are. Be careful not to target “bells and whistles” (nice-to-haves) and cosmetic issues as you will be able to address them in future phases by simultaneously releasing enhanced versions of your website along the way. Focus precisely on what will make you achieve your end goal of launching the new site.
Will your eCommerce website launch work without products, cart, and a checkout process? No. Can you launch the website with a simplified version of the products, cart, and checkout process? Without a doubt. You can implement improvements in the post-launch phases and take advantage and include small enhancements along the way. Regardless of how much planning you do, there will always be things you will need to adjust in post-release deployments.
The same rules apply for testing, especially when dealing with time. If you can find ways to test smarter and more efficiently rather than harder, you can quickly deliver a digital commerce solution.
How to Test Smart
One way of achieving 80% of the results, with 20% of the effort is to focus testing on customer flows. It’s easy to lose the big picture by focusing too much on specific scenarios rather than focusing on end-user behavior. There can be thousands of scenarios to verify, but which ones are going to occur in real life? Maybe two or three? Multiple small mistakes can lead to spending considerable time and resources on testing things that do not provide much value. Testing each field/option of the form individually may not bring much ROI, but you can gain immense value by testing the entire form based on how the customer will interact with it. Ultimately, the customer’s experience is what matters.
3 Steps to Test Efficiently
1. Plan testing work
Make a clear plan regarding the testing approach. Strategize and focus on essentials to have your priorities set from the beginning. GANTT charts, a graph that illustrates project scheduling, are excellent ways of organizing work as it allows you to see daily progress and will also help with resources planning and allocation.
2. Define user flows
Identify your customers and what their needs and expectations are. Based on this information, you can define user flows to cover real-life scenarios that will bring the most value. You could even create a quality mind map with a focus on typical flows to help you keep track of testing coverage at any point
3. Decide when to start testing
When to begin testing is a critical decision because you want to make sure your features are customer-facing ready, meaning that you have implemented all requirements. Building a website can be similar to building a puzzle; you need to make sure each piece it’s correct and ready before putting it into the right place. For example, to test the Product Detail Page (PDP), it’s ideal to have at least 80% of it completed before the start of testing. There is no point if a price is displayed correctly, without being able to validate different prices and discount types. Similarly, it isn’t imperative to test the first or second step of checkout without being able to place an order. Premature testing is often a big trap because it implies there is a lot of regression testing, which can be more inefficient than you can imagine!
To set yourself apart from the competition, challenge every aspect of the current process you have, so your testing will be useful, decisive, and adaptable. Be agile and quick to get your website live because slow and steady will not win this race.