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Yet another busy holiday shopping season is already upon us. Despite macroeconomic trends and inflation concerns, sales during the 2021 holiday season grew by 14.1% over the previous year. And the projections for 2022 are even higher. Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day of the year, with over $11 billion spent online (a 5.1% year-over-year increase).
With the sheer volume of shoppers, development teams must start planning and testing websites and mobile apps early and often to prepare for peak traffic. Today’s digital-first mindset has heightened customer expectations for the services and experiences they receive from brands. It’s critical for teams to monitor channel performance and simulate realistic engagement and user flow patterns ahead of the big day. By doing so, they can enter Black Friday confident that the user experience and backend performance will be successful.
To better understand consumer sentiment towards shopping expectations and how failures impact their perspective, Perforce conducted a 1,000-person consumer survey through Dynata.
The survey found that 59% of consumers use websites and mobile applications as their primary channels for holiday gift shopping, for convenience, identifying the best deals and the number of options available to them. Consumers report that the most frustrating experiences are when the website or app loads too slowly, or product images don’t load. Hiccups like this are preventable through modern testing, specifically performance and functional testing.
Why does the experience matter so much?
Well, 78% of consumers are likely to take their business elsewhere if a mobile application crashes or is slow when shopping. Further, nearly one-third of consumers (31%) would shop elsewhere if shopping cart items disappear. Similarly, nearly one-third (31%) of individuals believe a website or app should never crash, with only 6% staying loyal to the company/retailer if a crash does occur. More than a quarter (28%) of consumers believe crashes should be fixed within minutes. What’s more, bad experiences ignite frustration—68% of individuals have felt like throwing their phone against the wall when a shopping app crashes.
Heading into an extremely profitable time of the year, you can’t have experiences negatively impacting customer loyalty, their willingness to return and ultimately the bottom line of your organization—especially when testing can prevent it.
Table of ContentsA Generational GapYour Black Friday Testing ChecklistTesting for the User ExperiencePerfecto and BlazeMeter: Your Path To A Successful Black FridayTable of Contents1 - A Generational Gap2 - Your Black Friday Testing Checklist3 - Testing for the User Experience4 - Perfecto and BlazeMeter: Your Path To A Successful Black Friday
There is a noticeable difference when considering the channels and preferences across generations. Specifically, the younger the generation, the more likely they are to use mobile applications to shop with 22% of Gen Z shopping on mobile apps, 14% of Millennials,12% of Gen X, and 6% of Baby Boomers. Companies need to understand their target demographics and preferences to tailor and enhance the experience through and through.
Understanding what matters most to your customers is critical to shaping and curating their experiences. This includes the expected features when shopping on an online platform or mobile app. Here are the top five features today’s consumers expect and how you can leverage shift-left continuous testing strategies to exceed expectations.
Related Reading: Explore Perfecto’s Testing Checklist for a better Black Friday >>
The largest proportion of respondents (59%) selected safe and secure checkouts as a top expectation. Pay attention to the payment process from start to finish—the complex payment ecosystem can be daunting given the myriad of rules and regulations but it pays to do your part in creating a secure checkout experience with well-tested backend gateway functionality.
58% of respondents don’t want to be surprised when they go to their cart and find out items aren’t in stock. Review the “add to cart” user process and go through the checkout motions. When shoppers review their carts, it is critical that product availability, item accuracy and sale prices are all accurate and accounted for. Creating the most seamless checkout process reduces the number of abandoned checkouts, so test the experience from start to finish.
Bargain hunters expect the coupon codes they have to work, with 47% of consumers ranking this as a top feature. Testing this feature is equally important to your company—you don’t want codes to be inaccurate or give the wrong percentage. Imagine if codes were intended to be 10% off, but there was an added ‘0’ in the backend, giving individuals 100% off.
Add promotional codes and test the payment processes. Before the biggest shopping period of the year, confirm your holiday deals and discount codes work how they are intended to.
Nearly half of consumers (47%) view page and image load time as some of the most important aspects of their online shopping experience. When it comes to pressure testing, you can’t over-test. Consider the response time, page load time, screen size load time and overall performance across different browsers, at different times and in different quantities. Anticipate experiencing your highest peak traffic levels during Black Friday and the shopping season, and test for those scenarios. This includes testing application speed, stability, and scalability while handling an increased workload and considering staggering traffic even further by offering early access opportunities to customers.
Consistency is king, in life and retail experiences. In fact, 45% of consumers agree. It’s up to brands to ask (and test) whether items show the way they should across different devices and browsers. It’s also important to ensure any content associated with items, including SKUs, pricing, warranties, return policy, and other elements, are accurate.
Don’t miss out on reviewing the full 37-point omni-channel checklist for the year’s biggest day (and shopping season).
The criticality and cost of failure for channel functionality, accessibility and performance across all screens, geo locations and persona types has never been greater, thus bringing more attention to testing strategies and their impact on user experiences.
As technology, systems and devices continue to mature, it will become harder for development and testing teams to exceed expectations. Functional testing coverage must span all mobile platforms and web operating systems, regardless of the new, beta or legacy networks and devices leveraged. Consider the rise of foldable phones and smartwatches that vary in size and capabilities. How do your apps run on these numerous screens and devices? Do different network conditions impact the experience? What happens during peak traffic periods? These questions must be addressed.
Further, give way for APIs to be part of your strategy. Most modern digital applications rely on micro-services, meaning APIs are the true backbone of these apps. If you cannot ensure API quality and security, your entire application may be at risk. Using virtualized services, which can respond with real-world conditions, throughout the testing and maintenance of the APIs is a proven best practice.
Having the right strategy in place and equipping your teams with the right tools and technology will help prepare you for the chaos (and revenue potential) the holiday shopping season brings. To ensure your apps are ready for peak performance this holiday season and beyond – join leading companies like the Gap, Ulta, Chanel, Rolex, DSW, Ebay, and more and test with the best.
See how Perfecto and BlazeMeter can help your team get Black Friday ready today.
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Perforce surveyed 1,000 people 18+ in the U.S. with Dynata, a Data and Survey Insights Platform.
DevOps Chief Evangelist & Sr. Director at Perforce Software, Perfecto
Eran Kinsbruner is a person overflowing with ideas and inspiration, beyond that, he makes them happen. He is a best-selling author, continuous-testing and DevOps thought-leader, patent-holding inventor (test exclusion automated mechanisms for mobile J2ME testing), international speaker, and blogger.
With a background of over 20 years of experience in development and testing, Eran empowers clients to create products that their customers love, igniting real results for their companies.