It’s the year 2017 and everybody across the world is shopping differently; times have changed, people no longer work the ‘standard’ 9 ‘til 5, most are glued to their mobile devices and tablets, and ecommerce companies are finding themselves facing new challenges in having to cater for new online shopping advancements. Globally, the mobile device market is rapidly increasing, where the demand is at its highest for smartphones and tablets that can be used for online shopping. Tablets are the second most used mobile device, in particular in North America and Western Europe. The demand that has penetrated a large portion of the global online population; in 2015 alone, more than 1 billion smartphone units were sold. Not just solely used for online shopping, mobile devices are becoming a shopping tool in their own right; used for comparing prices at home or in-store, checking product ranges, and obtaining discounts to use pre-purchase.
If we take a look at the figures from the Global B2C ecommerce Turnover results, we see the following: 2014 - $1,895bn (+23.3%), 2015 - $2,273bn (+19.9%), 2016 (f) - $2,671bn (+17.5%). The figures are ever increasing, meaning ecommerce companies must keep up with the demanding market. ‘Keeping up’ is of course a very loose term, and encapsulates many different areas. On average, a person will only wait up to 3 seconds for a website to load before they exit the website, and go elsewhere; this is applicable to both mobile and desktop users. Ecommerce companies therefore must ensure that they meet the needs of their users, and in the current market, this can be very challenging, especially when they have websites that are very large, offering many different products SKUs. There is, of course, a pool of technology that will aid companies achieve these goals, however, be mindful that technology is continuously advancing and staying on top of it can prove testing.
User journey and user experience play a very important role in increasing visitors to websites; if users are satisfied with their experience, they are more likely to further explore the website they are on. ecommerce shoppers have an endless stream of wants and needs; worldwide shipping, multiple shipping options, a visually pleasing website, fast loading times, no bugs or errors, and an overall ‘perfect’ experience. If these criteria can be met, visitors will likely convert into customers.
So, the question is how do companies achieve the ‘perfect’ experience, as well as maintaining an ecommerce platform, stock, and marketing? Crowdsourced testing is a popular trend within the area of software development whereby website and app testing can take place from multiple locations and replicate a real-world environment. Testers can be sourced worldwide across any browser or device, making it more reliable, timely, and cost-effective compared to hiring professional testers. Having access to a variety of people, universally, all holding a different set of skills and devices is extremely advantageous. Hiring internal full-time resource, or even part-time for ad-hoc tasks or projects can be extremely costly, and no longer make sense for businesses to do. Crowdsourcing gives businesses the ability to hire a wide range of people across many different locations, giving greater flexibility, lower costs and most importantly the device coverage they require. Conducting crowdsourced testing also gives users, who are testing, the opportunity to test meaningful and valuable transactions, access to data, and perform tasks that other users would perform. This makes the process much more transparent and reflective of the ‘real world’. All interactions are therefore verified, allowing any showstoppers or major issues to be weeded out very quickly.
With the majority of ecommerce companies focusing on international business, rather than just one location, it can often be a challenge for full-time employed testers, or even developers, to keep up with their in-house projects, as well as international markets. Ecommerce users shop on different devices, at different times of the day, therefore the market is constantly on the go; keeping up with the pace by partnering with a crowdsourced testing provider ensures that businesses create a flawless, user friendly and satisfying experience for their customers. Happy users convert to loyal customers, so investing the time and effort into improving and ensuring an error-free user experience should be near the top of an ecommerce business’s priority list.