Read Time – 6 Minutes
Your website’s performance and usability needs to be constantly optimised to protect hard-won revenue gains and grow your brand’s success.
A well-defined and directed testing strategy can be central to this process, providing the insight that you need to prioritise bug fixes and suggest significant improvements in conversion.
Test to protect
Brands lose millions each year through bugs and system crashes as websites and apps remain unready and unoptimised for the surges in traffic that are the reality of modern online retail.
These are the headlines we are used to seeing every day, but they reflect the precarious status of a digital brands’ reputation and the huge threat to revenue that digital failure can entail.
In the last few months alone we’ve seen American retailer Costco’s Thanksgiving outage reportedly cost them $11 million in lost sales - while in the UK, Curry’s Black Friday crash led them into a PR nightmare as frustrated customers took to social media to berate them.
But it’s not just the major incidents that cause customers to abandon your site and take their business elsewhere:
According to one piece of research by the DevOps Zone:
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% of consumers abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
When seconds count, sales and reputation can be lost for good in a single sub-optimal customer experience.
Consider this, also from DevOps zone:
- 44% of users will tell their friends about a bad experience online
- 79% of users who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to return.
A regular sequence of performance testing at speed and scale executed with the use of a website analyser will give you the confidence you need to know your website or app can deal with unexpected spikes.
But performance testing can be a blunt tool. Synthesised traffic and load testing with undifferentiated scripts or single device types can’t effectively simulate the jumbled real-world behaviour of a large volume of concurrent visitors to a website or app.
But done right, with the right combination of test scripts, devices and browser types, manual load testing can reproduce these moments more accurately, and give you precise data about where sites are slowing down and performing strangely. It can show you the conditions where speed and quality are being compromised, giving you the detail you need to correct and optimise for more seamless customer experiences for all your customers.
Test to grow
Optimisation: is there a silver bullet? Where are the opportunities to grow those conversion rates - to optimise experiences and customer journeys still further?
Remember those stories from the early days of ecommerce when CRO consultants could sweep in and make a single recommendation that changed the entire fortune of a company?
Where are the fabled $300 million dollar buttons of today? Where’s that single change in U/X, that re-labelling of a single button on a website that can see a historic leap in sales and make heroes of a digital team?
The digital experiences being offered up by today’s ecommerce brands are, far more rich and complex than in the past. And, crucially, they’re being conducted on many different platforms accessed by a huge range of different devices.
These days the revelations about revenue loss are coming from sophisticated analytics, looking deep inside a digital world fragmented by device and operating systems.
They can show you the leaky browsers, the device and browser combinations that are under-delivering. They can demonstrate exactly where you need to concentrate your testing resource to uncover the bugs and usability issues that may be costing you customers and cash.
In today’s digital environment, rather than silver bullet issues, there are more likely to be myriad, incremental issues experienced across an ever-changing and fragmented digital landscape that can be corrected to optimise revenues. And a focus on usability driven by these insights can help you spot them.
App and website usability testing typically covers how easy it is to learn or understand to navigate a digital experience and the efficiency with which a customer can perform desired actions, the amount of errors the customer makes in pursuing those actions, the level of satisfaction a site delivers and the ‘memorability’ of that experience.
Usability testing will flag up parts of customers journeys that are confusing, illogical or where required actions are unclear - as well as pick up on reactions to design decisions that can help you make optimisation choices.
In addition, professional testing companies can deliver real-world testers who match the target audience of your site - this can include age, gender and other demographic information so that your testing feedback reflects the people whose behaviours and opinions matter most to your bottom line.
Conducted at scale, on relevant device and browser combinations, the right company will be able to quickly script and mobilise the right-sized test group (from the appropriate demographic) to uncover the shifting and specific UX problems that can be fixed to drive more revenue growth.
Iterative usability testing is central to picking up on these issues and opportunities. The insights delivered by these teams can help you make the right changes where they matter most.
So - test to protect and test to grow - the detail and insights you need to improve performance and maximise ecommerce revenue are all waiting to be found.