U.S. Department of Commerce figures show that even with many retail outlets closed for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, total retail sales rose 4 percent between January and June 2020. Much of this was driven by a 30 percent increase in e-commerce spending.
Now, a new Pollfish survey shows nearly 77 percent of consumers plan to do more of their holiday shopping online this year. This makes ensuring a superior online shopping experience to avoid cart abandonment critical for retailers — especially considering more than 76 percent of online shoppers said they have exited out of a potential purchase in the past because of technological issues with a website or app.
One of the major drivers of these issues is the diversity of technology that's used to access retail websites. While quality assurance (QA) teams work to ensure a seamless experience on the most popular devices and operating systems, it's nearly impossible for them to test every eventuality. This is where crowdtesting can be a huge difference maker.
Crowdtesting uses a global network of thousands of QA professionals to enhance traditional QA programs by running PC and mobile applications, chatbots, web portals, and Software-as-a-Service options on every device and operating system on which it will be used. Each “mission” finds the bugs and issues in even the most obscure instances quickly, ensuring the application will deliver consumer satisfaction no matter where and how it is used.
Crowdtesting offers six specific benefits to enhance the work of internal QA teams:
- Testing by QA professionals: Unlike beta tests, which are generally performed by fans of the software who are also likely to have updated devices and operating systems, crowdtesters are QA professionals who are adept at finding bugs. They know how to perform comprehensive tests across a wide variety of old and new platforms and devices, covering virtually every conceivable way the software will be used.
- Focus on the full user experience: While beta users and internal QA teams will tend to focus on features and functionality, crowdtesters examine the entire user experience. They will catch whether type is mashed together, language translations sound awkward, links work, etc. They will also check for known malfunctions found in other applications.
- Using developers wisely: Having crowdtesters performing QA means developers can remain focused on correcting known issues rather than looking for new ones, using their time more effectively.
- Speeding time-to-market: Crowdtesting removes the time limitations imposed by a fixed number of internal QA professionals. Retailers can scale up as needed, reducing a process that might have required several weeks or months to complete to a few days — or even a few hours if necessary — so new applications reach the market faster.
- Reduced costs: An experienced crowdtesting vendor will select candidates for each mission that specialize in the devices and operating systems expected to access the application. It will also supply a project manager, who will provide clear instructions to the testers. This process delivers the scale required while reducing costs and internal QA team time.
- Comprehensive reporting: At the completion of the mission, the project manager will inspect the mission report to ensure each bug appears only once and that all reported bugs are properly documented. Internal QA personnel can then immediately remediate any issues to ensure a successful launch.
Online retailing has been on the rise over the last few years; the COVID-19 pandemic has helped accelerate it. Retailers that want to avoid rampant shopping cart abandonment from increasingly demanding shoppers must ensure they deliver an outstanding user experience in every aspect, on every platform. Crowdtesting offers the keys to make it happen.
Tanya Johnson is managing director, testing, North America, at CTG Group, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. Johanna Castro is digital quality assurance (QA) advisor, Stardust, CTG Group.
Related story: Recapturing the E-Commerce Holiday Shopper