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Posted March 23, 2021

Maximizing the Value of Testing in Retail and e-Commerce

Creating flawless digital experiences for customers is not an option for retail and e-commerce companies: it’s a necessity. Whether it happens via websites or mobile apps, online shopping has become the norm, even before the global COVID-19 pandemic made it essential. But what does that mean for enterprises?


Customer experience is key

Spending via smartphones is going up. According to Forbes, smartphones accounted for 46.5% of all holiday sales on Thanksgiving Day 2020, and 40% of sales on Black Friday. This means close to half of all purchases were made not only online, but on a smartphone—which makes the mobile shopping experience all the more critical. Customers expect their transactions and experiences to go off without a hitch. And if that doesn’t happen? McKinsey & Company found that 25% of customers will abandon a brand after a single bad digital experience. Those lost customers represent real opportunities and real revenue. 

We also know that improving customer experience is good for business. Increasing incremental revenue by a few dollars per customer can mean huge gains in overall revenue. A Forrester report published in January 2020 also found that the revenue impact of a 1-point improvement in an industry’s CX index score led to a direct increase in revenue resulting from a yearly incremental increase per customer. 

Examine the analytics 

Testing is a key piece of the puzzle that you need to secure your retail customers and revenue. Here are a few things for developers and testers to keep in mind as you plan your retail testing strategy.

Retailers are constantly on the lookout for conversion lift—an increase in the number of orders actually placed on their platform. This means customers moving seamlessly through checkout flow, minimizing abandoned carts, and maximizing order value.

Many things can go wrong along this journey, which is why it’s more important than ever to test not only the different paths through checkout flow, but also the analytics that feed from these user activities along the way.

  • Are users having to go back and forth between steps in the checkout flow to check order details? 

  • Are users unclear on which fields are required?

  • Do users need to create an account before beginning the checkout process? Do you make that process easy or hard?

You don’t always get the best signal from your tests. You find out more by observing how your users actually behave on your site, and studying these signals for insight and intent.

How can testers help? Two ways:

  • Making sure the signals are fired when you mean them to, and

  • Making sure the analytics are sending the correct information.

Analytics are software, developed like any other. But testers are rarely involved in the process, and are seldom even aware of them. Retail software testers have historically missed the opportunity to get involved in this critical part of the business, and the result can be missed attribution, misleading signals, and ultimately a slide in NPS.

At Sauce, we like to ask, “What does the money want?” In other words, you should focus testing on the most important parts of your business. 





All this means you’re testing value.


We recently hosted a Test Automation Day covering mobile automation and industry trends affecting retail and e-commerce businesses. If you missed it, be sure to check out the recording to hear presentations from Marcus Merrell, Patrick Poulin and Sauce customer Wayfair. 

Photograph of Marcus Merrell.
Test Strategist
Mar 23, 2021
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