On average, 70% of carts are abandoned by customers, reportedly equating to $4 trillion in lost revenue every year for online retailers.

The world of e-commerce is a dynamic and highly competitive landscape, where competition is fierce, and margins are tight. Success in this industry hinges on providing an exceptional shopping experience. Online shoppers want a swift and easy route to purchasing goods. If they are confronted with website defects, bugs, slow load times, and 404 errors, they are quick to continue their search elsewhere.

So how can retailers guarantee a fast and painless route to checkout for their customers? A good quality, performant, bug-free website is key and could give e-commerce sites a 35% uptick in customer conversion rates.

However, achieving this goal can be a complex challenge given the numerous technical aspects involved in running an online store. This is where Quality Engineering and the intelligent application of test automation comes into play as companies strive to remain competitive in today’s increasingly tough e-commerce landscape.

What is test automation, and why is it important for retailers?

Simply put, automation is the process of using software tools to execute tests on a website, application, or technology to test functionality, performance, or security. It’s a means of automatically performing repetitive tasks extremely quickly and accurately, to identify bugs and defects without the need for human intervention. Test automation can provide significant time and monetary savings, and provide a quality customer experience, leading to a higher rate of checkout completion for e-commerce brands.

Using test automation to increase consumer spend

The principal benefit of test automation is its potential to increase e-commerce consumer spending. The user experience is paramount in online retail. It encompasses everything from page load times to checkout processes and beyond. A seamless shopping experience is key to attracting and retaining customers.

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Automation can quickly and efficiently identify issues that can impede user experience; such as broken links, missing images, or sluggish page load times.

What’s more, automation enables vendors to respond quickly to changing market trends and customer demands. Retailers can quickly amend and upgrade websites safe in the knowledge that their rapid automated testing processes will detect any bugs before they cause an issue. This agility, and quality customer experience, can help increase conversion rates, foster customer loyalty, and encourage higher spending.

Saving retailers time and money

Automated tests can be executed simultaneously on multiple configurations, around the clock, and are completed in a fraction of the time it would take a human counterpart. Not only does this save retailers precious time, it also reduces manual labour overheads which come with a significant cost.

For instance, a global online retailer recently automated a regression test pack, achieving 58.5% test coverage, time savings of 125%, and estimated yearly cost savings of over £45,000. This was a fantastic outcome for the retailer and a testament to the time and cost savings automation can provide businesses operating within an extremely competitive landscape.

Preventing post-release issues

Automation testing systematically examines the application or website’s functionalities, features, and workflows to identify any issues, errors, or bugs. By detecting defects early, retailers can address these problems before they are released, when they are subsequently much more time consuming and expensive to fix.

What’s more, if a retailer develops a reputation for providing a quality, faultless, shopping experience, they will develop a repeat customer base and reduce cart abandonment and lost revenue.

Using automation to test website load capabilities

Load testing is designed to evaluate a website’s ability to handle a substantial amount of concurrent users, data, or requests. It informs retailers whether their website or platform can accommodate a growing number of visitors. This is crucial for handling traffic spikes during peak shopping seasons or promotional events such as Black Friday. Retailers do not get two bites at the cherry during these events, so they must ensure their website will not crash and result in lost revenue.

In today’s highly competitive e-commerce environment, a bug-free online shopping experience is not just a nicety; it’s a necessity. Quality Engineering and test automation are key to a flawless and consistent consumer journey which ultimately helps to reduce cart abandonment whilst boosting sales and customer satisfaction.

By investing in these strategies, retailers can fix problems before they cost lose revenue and damage brand reputation. With an initial investment of time and money, retailers can implement a solid test automation strategy and lay the foundations for a robust and successful e-commerce venture that will foster customer loyalty, encourage repeat business and expand market share.

About the author: Louise Owen is a senior automation quality engineer at Quality Engineering Consultancy Roq.