The proportion of online transactions in retail is growing all the time. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 49 million people in Germany alone order goods and services online - four out of five 16 to 80-year-olds are customers of local online retailers.However, as online shopping becomes a habit, the demands of potential customers also increase. No wonder, after all, the nearest retailer with a similar product range is only a few clicks away. Effective quality management and efficient processes are therefore needed to ensure the long-term success of your e-commerce business.
In this article, we would therefore like to look at the role of quality assurance in e-commerce and tell you how you can proceed with QA tests.
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Do you need support with your Shopify store? As Shopify Plus experts, we will be happy to assist you and help you customize your store to your requirements. Get in touch with us.
The basics: What does the abbreviation QA mean?
QA stands for Quality Assurance. Generally speaking, the term refers to processes and measures to ensure product quality. These can vary greatly depending on the type and nature of the product.
Quality assurance for online stores
With quality assurance in e-commerce, testing is geared towards your online store. You or your QA testers put yourself in the role of the user and go through all the processes that your customers may encounter when using your store.
E-commerce quality assurance should take place before the software is released. In this way, potential sources of error can be identified even before visitors to your online store are confronted with them.
However, the key to continuous improvement of your online store is continuous QA testing. QA should take place at regular intervals, as your customer requirements, and therefore the basis of your quality controls, can change.
60-70 percent abandonment rate: why you shouldn't underestimate QA in e-commerce
Have you ever failed to complete an online purchase? Then you're in good company. There are a lot of statistics on shopping cart abandonment in e-commerce (source: baymard.com). Most of them assume abandonment rates of around 60-70 percent, some of them even up to 80 percent.
With figures like these, the importance of QA in e-commerce becomes clear. Your online store has a lot of influence on the user experience: in the case of a positive shopping experience, the likelihood that customers will shop with you again increases considerably. A negative experience, on the other hand, usually means a potential customer is irretrievably lost.
Reading tip: In this blog post, we explain how you can reactivate your shopping cart abandoners and win back lost customers.
With QA in e-commerce, you can improve your user experience and react to potential problem areas at an early stage. This saves you time and money, as undetected errors in your online store can result in a loss of sales or increased support costs. In the worst case scenario, your company could suffer a loss of trust, which could cause lasting damage to your business.
"In today's fast-moving world, reliability is a basic requirement. Many webshops are functionally very similar and good quality, including in QA, sets us apart from our competitors."
Marija Kubareva, QA tester at Latori
Quality assurance in e-commerce: how to proceed
The duration and components of your QA tests are highly dependent on the size and complexity of your store and can vary greatly from online store to online store. The first step in your quality assurance process therefore requires a certain amount of advance planning: What requirements does your store need to meet and what are suitable measures to check these? To ensure that your results are comparable with subsequent follow-up tests, you should define a standardized pattern. To do this, it is advisable to create a checklist according to which you can work through the individual test points and document your results. This also ensures that no aspect of quality assurance in e-commerce is forgotten.
"QA testing follows a systematic approach, starting with understanding the project requirements. Continuous feedback from the testing phases is important for both the software and the testing process. The key is an ongoing process for continuous improvement."
Tina Lajqi, QA tester at Latori
Examples for your QA testing
How you set up your QA testing and which areas you consider relevant depends very much on the individual case. Nevertheless, we would like to provide you with some examples for your e-commerce testing below.
Successful user guidance is the be-all and end-all when conducting usability tests. Your online store should be easy to use and respond to input without noticeable delays. Easily understandable and consistent design aspects as well as a logical structure from the user's point of view are particularly important.Order process
Login, order, checkout and payment processing: With a corresponding order volume, your customers go through these processes several hundred times a day. If errors occur in any of these processes, this will most likely have a direct impact on your store's sales. At the same time, an intuitive checkout, for example, can significantly increase the conversion rate.
Tip: We show you how to customize your Shopify checkout here.
Compatibility with various web browsers
The WebP image format is recommended by Google to improve loading times. But did you know that the format is not supported by Apple's Safari browser and is therefore not displayed? Examples like these make it clear that it is important not to rely on just one browser for quality assurance in e-commerce. Instead, you should always test your store with several browsers.
In 2022, around 21% of Germans made a purchase via their cell phone every week - in many other countries, the smartphone is even more popular as a shopping gadget (source: statista.com). Your store should therefore definitely be optimized for mobile devices so that you don't lose these customers. As the smartphone market is very fast-moving and new devices are constantly coming onto the market, these tests should also be carried out regularly.
Customers who order an item in your store enter sensitive data such as addresses and payment information. If this data falls into the wrong hands due to security breaches, you could face horrendous penalties and lose your customers' trust.
Quality assurance is an elementary component of software development and should also play a key role in setting up an online store. QA in e-commerce helps to identify and eliminate potential hurdles within the customer journey at an early stage. This is why QA is firmly integrated into our processes and will continue to be in the future.
Latori, your expert for Shopify Plus
As Germany's first Shopify Plus agency, we have been working for more than a decade to make the online stores of international players even better. Only what meets the highest quality standards is good enough. For this commitment, we were named "Agency of the Year" at the Shop Usability Award 2023. We would be happy to use our knowledge for your project too.
Latori is happy to support you with quality assurance in your Shopify store. Get in touch with us.
Frequently asked questions about QA in e-commerce
What does the abbreviation QA stand for?
QA means quality assurance and is an acronym for the English term Quality Assurance. In the course of QA, measures and targets are defined, implemented and documented to ensure that products and services meet specified standards. In the field of software development or production processes, QA is an essential part of minimizing errors and maximizing quality.
What is quality assurance for online stores?
With quality assurance in e-commerce, QA testers take the customer perspective and check your online store for function, user-friendliness, a logical structure and a consistent design. This process begins before the software is released in order to identify potential errors at an early stage.
Why is quality assurance important?
Quality assurance is important to gain and maintain customer trust. A faulty online store can lead to abandoned purchases, dissatisfied customers, returns, reputational damage and ultimately loss of sales. Quality assurance for online stores helps to identify errors at an early stage and prevent such risks.