Cloud Solutions for E-Commerce: Why Product Testing Is More Important Than You Might Think
The pandemic and its forced regulations that brought changes to consumers’ daily habits influenced every business sphere. E-commerce, unlike many other niches, was able to experience the advantages. In the USA, for example, e-commerce sales jumped by 44.4% in Q2, with $1 in every $5 spent online.
The North American market might be the most active in shifting to e-commerce patterns, but the ongoing gains in online shopping have become a global trend. As ACI Worldwide reports, e-commerce sales increased by 31% worldwide. This number indicates a significant shift towards e-tail that is likely to stick after the lockdown.
Consequently, the need for digital transformation in commerce becomes urgent. Retailers with strong online platforms had already learned about what a significant advantage they had over brick-and-mortar retailers at the beginning of the pandemic.
So when retailers learn about the statistics and trends, they start to break down cloud transformation and look for suitable software solutions. Some, of course, will immediately go online with the questions, “Salesforce commerce cloud or SAP commerce cloud? Magento cloud or maybe Adobe commerce cloud?”
Does that mean that less-known platforms have no chances to be noticed? Well, it may be difficult to compete with famous names, but every solution that can guarantee business enhancement will get the share of attention it deserves.
Cloud Transformation in a Nutshell
Cloud platforms enable staff to stay home and keep businesses-critical services going. That is probably the main benefit of any cloud software product that was helpful before and became a game-changer now.
Cloud solutions empower companies with the flexibility that is crucial in volatile conditions. They allow businesses to scale up and down easily, enable convenient data and file sharing, access to the functionality from different devices, and other features that seem usual and widely used but facilitate processes a lot.
Digital Transformation vs Digital Enhancement
It may be the very word transformation that dismays business owners, implying drastic changes in the business processes. But digitalization doesn’t mean you need to destroy the current state of things and build everything from scratch. In some sense, digital transformation has the same mission as QA services, only instead of a software product, you analyze the process and find bugs in daily routines.
Let people call it an improvement if they feel more comfortable. Encourage clients to start with little things and move step by step, transforming core operations from physical to digital to optimize the work. The task of cloud services is to provide clients with new tools and tech solutions that will optimize the working process. And software quality isn’t the last thing in this formula.
Cloud computing in e commerce is a way to reshape the product delivered, its value, or the essential processes. In each case, people need to learn to work with new tools. That will be more effective if they don’t have to struggle through poor performance, defects, or gaps in logic.
Benefits of Cloud Technology for Business
What are the reasons to invest in the development of a new cloud platform? To answer this, start with what makes e-commerce entrepreneurs look for XaaS solutions and adopt cloud infrastructure.
- Cloud software makes it easy to upscale/downscale companies’ services based on demand.
- Cloud platforms are highly reliable when it comes to traffic spikes.
- They are cost-efficient since users don’t have to invest in hardware or update the software to build the system and rent it instead. Thus, there’s no need to hire maintenance staff.
- Flexible payment options let users spend money only on the resources they have utilized.
- Shared access to data and its management enable visibility and transparency, also making cross-department communication more efficient.
- A cloud platform is an easy way to collect and analyze data, gathering valuable insights that can help to create more client-centered and tailored solutions.
Still, only a well-functioning cloud platform can make it possible to enjoy all the benefits. Development and business planning make a significant part of the work. Still, all the efforts can be vain without involving expert QA resources before the release and promotion.
Testing the Cloud Software
So developing a cloud platform that can deliver all those promised benefits isn’t an easy task. Our team covers the QA part, running different types of testing and suggesting improvements in general. Thus, we help companies to improve their product and, as a result, business delivery. So I’m going to focus more on what to test and why.
Probably, every idea for a new software product starts with its features. These features have to solve users’ problems or cover a unique demand, but still, the features help to imagine what kind of a product we are going to get, not business KPIs. Zuckerberg wanted an application you can use to communicate with other students on the campus, and your boss wants a platform that allows users to create e-stores without developing everything from scratch or buying on-premise hardware for this.
Functional testing focuses on software features. A QA team checks whether the actual behavior of the system matches the features states in the requirements.
There is a list of things users look for in e-commerce stores — quick view, detailed descriptions, sorting & filters, a shopping cart rather than a call-back feature, several payment and delivery options, integration with payment systems, etc. But that’s only half of the functionality a cloud platform provider has to ensure.
The clients of any B2B commerce cloud are e-stores owners. They want a bunch of features that make building a shop easy and work flawlessly. Thus, the following things should be reviewed during functional testing:
- Built-in basic e-commerce features, including catalog management, WYSIWYG, etc.
- Default themes with standard design and functionality, as well as an opportunity to add custom code.
- An opportunity to modify page designs and other parameters (e.g. product pages on clothing and tech e-shop feature totally different styles of descriptions).
- Opportunity to connect a chosen domain name, select preferred bandwidth and uptime, etc.
- Simple connection to numerous APIs, unlimited API call volumes.
- Integration with social media platforms, including social buttons and sign-in options.
- Built-in analytic and SEO services, chat, email, etc. or easy integration with third-party solutions.
- Localization options — both languages a shop owner can work with and the support of a multi-language interface for end-users.
Basically, there are several levels of functional testing, each with a different approach to the functionality. For example:
- In the course of smoke testing, the team inspects the basic functionality after receiving a new build to check whether the critical path works.
- Integration testing focuses on the ability of different components to function correctly when brought together. Similarly, interoperability testing is a way to check interactions with other systems (payment, delivery, etc.)
- Regression testing is an inspection of the full or critical functionality of the unchanged part of the software to learn whether new features have affected it.
Compatibility testing also comes in several layers. Owners need to make sure that software is supported by different OS versions and PC screens. A mobile version will bid welcome as well, for sometimes users need to make changes in content or check something on the go.
For end-users, compatibility is about the support by a maximum number of platforms, and mobile QA is critical here. A mobile-optimized website that provides the same full experience regardless of a device OS, browser version and screen size is a must for an e-commerce platform.
It would be more reasonable to postpone the development of advanced functionality and start with optimizations for different devices than add innovative features supported by a few smartphone models.
GUI testing is a careful inspection of the user interface, both on the business side and the shoppers’ side. Here’s a list with some examples from both categories:
- There are no pages with a broken layout on any device.
- Buttons are clickable and linked to correct pages and actions.
- Users can switch between different colors & sizes to see product images, availability, etc. These parameters are attached to every particular version of a product.
- Hints with explanations pop up after users click on them.
- Radio buttons, checkboxes, lines, and forms work as supposed.
Simply put, all graphic elements a person uses to interact with software work and perform the intended functions.
UX testing evaluates the convenience. In some way, it may seem a subjective estimation, though, in general, the requirements are quite straightforward: readable fonts for texts, clickable buttons, a color palette that doesn’t strain your eyes, etc. If in GUI you check whether hints pop up, in UX you check whether the explanations are clear. It is all about how simple to use and intuitive the website is.
As I’ve mentioned before, performance is usually more important than functionality. Good performance at least guarantees that a user will open a website and look at it. E-store owners look for solutions that enable scalability. With time, the number of products and registered users will grow. The system stores more data, and it shouldn’t interfere with platform management.
Meanwhile, from the very beginning, shoppers want to find and order items quickly. They are not interested in how many people are using the platform at the same moment. And it shouldn’t be their concern: people have come for flawless service.
Thus, software & QA services have to feature several types of tests united by the umbrella term performance testing:
- Load tests.
- Spike tests.
- Stress tests.
- Endurance tests.
- Volume tests.
- Scalability tests.
Altogether, they help to detect how stable software is, whether it can withstand user surges, for how long it can handle high traffic, and how fast it can recover after a failure. This data is valuable not for the holiday season only.
To Sum Up
E-commerce cloud services offer huge potential for entrepreneurs. As the share of online shopping in the retail sector grows, the need for better software solutions becomes more urgent, and competition in the niche — more fierce. Product quality matters more than ever before because it gives a competitive advantage.
As the experience shows, it is better to find a QA specialist or team to cover the testing tasks than assign this part of product development to software engineers. If your company doesn’t have a continuous flow of testing tasks, consider QA outsourcing — it allows involving specialists only when you need it.
In QA Madness, for example, we have several cooperation models, including a Dedicated Team and a fixed amount of testing hours per month. Each model is based on the client’s needs. We start by studying the product carefully to build a custom testing strategy and adapt to a company’s processes quickly. If you need assistance with testing your cloud solutions, feel free to reach out. In any case, we were glad to share the basics of QA for cloud software ;)