How Quality Assurance can improve the Conversion Rate in Fashion E-commerce
Event by Digital Fashion Academy
April 18th 2023
Watch the webinar here:
TITLE: Quality Assurance for the improvement of the Conversion Rate in Fashion E-commerce
DATE: Tuesday April 18th at 5:30pm (CET ROME)
DURATION: 1 hour
REGISTER: The webinar is free upon registration
Join Enrico Fantaguzzi (Digital Fashion Academy) and Lorenzo Fanetti (Unguess) as they present the best practices for quality control of e-commerce sites in the fashion & luxury sector.
The webinar will illustrate the key concepts for quality assurance control in e-commerce projects, from the standard processes used in large companies, to the Service Level Agreements (SLA) to be shared with development agencies during the definition of contracts.
- Quality Assurance is the set of activities aimed at ensuring that the results of a project meet the expectations of the customer, the end users of the product and any standards required by the regulations.
- In fashion e-commerce, Quality Assurance is essential both to guarantee success in terms of site conversion rate and to control project costs.
“Often what happens at the end of an e-commerce site development project, is that numerous defects are found that risk undermining the success of the project and the relationship between developers and clients. The correct management of Quality Assurance is what allows us to obtain satisfaction of the client, the best User Experience and correct management of the client-supplier relationship”Enrico Fantaguzzi
- Definition of the quality standards of the e-commerce site
- Product warranty after delivery
- Product testing methodology and bug resolution management
- Bug tracking and issue tracking tools
Before starting this E-Learning company, I worked for more than 20 years in fashion and luxury companies, from small brands to large multinational companies and e-tailers.
In this webinar I’m gonna share with you some of the things I learned during the time that I spent working for fashion brands, even if the experience I’m sharing with you today was mostly gained outside the fashion industry, in the digital entertainment sector.
So today we’ll be talking about the importance of quality assurance and why it’s critical for the success of fashion ecommerce.
I’ll present you with some ideas and examples of how to organise quality assurance processes within your company
And finally we will cover some of the things that you need to keep in mind when you discuss assignments with your suppliers developers or system integrators, what to ask them during negotiations and what to include in the contract so that the final result will will meet your expectations.
So what is the purpose of quality assurance for fashion e-commerce?
What is the purpose of quality assurance?
The purpose of quality assurance is to make sure that the digital product meets the expectations of the client – yourself – and of the final users of the digital product which are your customers.Enrico Fantaguzzi
To be more specific when we talk about expectations we talk about requirements and specifications, requirements and specifications are different from expectations because they are clearly stated and documented in one or more documents.
On top of that, you may have to comply with requirements that are binding for your company because of legal constraints.
Thirdly there are a set of expectations that are not written but you still need to consider them as part of your project because some of these expectations could be the expectations of your management or the Board of their Directors or other stakeholders somehow involved in the project.
What are requirements and what are specifications?
Let’s try and define now better what are requirements and what are specifications, these are technical terms that can be familiar to some of you but I’ll give you some examples so you can fix them in your mind through examples
- Ability to create an account,
- Ability to check out as guest,
- Ability to pay by installments instead of one single transaction,
- Ability to choose among different shipping options,
- Ability to filter only specific sizes during search,
- Ability to search for keyword with a search tool
- Visibility of shipping cost and taxes during the check-out process
- Compatibility with devices and Operating Systems
- Sizes of images, banners
- Frequency data exchange between systems
- The format and the number of results per page
Where are requirements specifications and expectations stated?
This elements are usually written into one or more project documents.
The most frequently used document is the Product Requirements Document, also called PRD, which is usually owned and written by the manager who is responsible for the e-commerce platform. If the Product Requirements document is not available we can write Requirements and Specifications directly into the Project Plan, finally we can find part of Quality Specifications and Requirements also in the Quality Plan.
The quality plan mainly serves the purpose of organising the Quality Tests and the Quality Assurance Process in General but it can also contain some specific requirements for the quality of the digital product. For example the Quality Plan can refer to specific Security tests that need to be done. For example when I was working as a service supplier for a large sportswear brand and I was developing their ecommerce website, I had to coordinate the security tests on our servers to meet the client’s security standards.
Out of scope tests
On the other hand the Quality Plan may indicate what tests are out of the scope for the project, For example if you’re not planning to ship to Australia with your ecommerce, you should not spend time and energy to develop and test any specifications for that specific country.
Wireframes and comps
The Quality Plan can refer to other documents for specifications and requirements. for example the quality plan can refer to Wireframes or Comps mockups for everything that is related to the design quality and the look and feel of the website in general.
These documents are important because they will be used by your developers as their reference for what they need to develop and accomplish in their work.
Besides the requirements the quality plan describes the tests that need to be done, when they will be done during the project and during the delivery of the product and how they will be carried out.
The quality plan should also contain the GO-LIVE criteria the GO LIVE criteria are set of conditions there should be met in order to go live with the project and example of GO LIVE criteria are the maximum number of bugs allowed on the Live website and their severity, for example the quality plan can state that the project goes live only if there are a maximum number of 10 bugs into total on the website at the moment of the go live
Finally the quality plan contains the procedures that the Project Team will need to follow during the Quality Assurance process, for example, who is responsible for testing and what, How to use the bug-tracking tool, how to classify the bugs according to their severity.
What types of test do we need to run?
Types of Quality Assurance tests
Now, let’s take a look in more detail at what tests should fashion brands focus on
There are several types of tests that can be run by fashion companies in order to make sure that the commerce platform is working according to the Expectations.
The Smoke Test is a simple test that aims at checking the core features of the digital product. These tests are usually done by developers during the project to make sure that the core of functionality of the software are working. It’s a simple test that consists of trying the Core Features of a program simulating a regular user or potential client who needs to complete a task on the platform. To give you an example, if you are implementing a Text Search feature on your website the Smoke test would be to Type in few keywords relevant to your brand e.g. “red leather bag” and check if the result is consistent. In this stage for example the graphic design may not relevant, the goal is to get consistent results. If you search for Red leather bag and you get a blue t-shirt as a result the Smoke Test has failed.
The integration test it’s a specific test to verify the correct passage of data from one system to another. For example from the E-commerce Platform to the Company’s ERP, and From the ERP to the Warehouse management System or from The ecommerce-platform to the Business Intelligence platform. We can consider this test successful if the data is passed correctly from one system to another, without loss of data and in the expected timeframe.
User Acceptance Test
The user acceptance test, or UAT, is usually carried out together with the presence of the Client and the Developer.
During the UAT the client runs all the possible use cases, e.g. search for a product, add a product to wishlist, move a product from wishlist to cart, complete the checkout process, to make sure that everything is working as expected.
These tests are usually done near the end of the development phase, when the product is almost ready to be delivered to the client. Usually the output of this tests are a list of bugs, requested by the Client, that will be fixed by the Developer.
The fourth type of test is Regression Testing. Regression testing ensures an application still functions as expected after any code changes, updates, or releases of other features on the platform. Regression ensures the overall stability of the platform.
These tests should be carried out by the Quality Team every time there is a new release on the website, to make sure that all the features that were previously working are still working correctly.
For example if you are developing a new payment system, let’s say that you are developing the Pay by Instalments in your checkout, and during the deployment of this new feature, you break the credit cards payment that were working fine earlier, so we introduced a bug in a previously working feature, in this case we’re talking about Regression.
Bug testing and Bug Fixing processes
We talked about the role of the Quality Assurance Lead, now let’s see how all the actors involved in the Quality Assurance process interact with each other.
The first step happens when a bug is first discovered; the tester, either a project Team member or a Professional Tester following a Test Script, finds a bug. For example the test script could say: add a product to the wishlist and then move the product from the wishlist to the shopping cart.
If the tester is not able to add a product to the wishlist or move the product from the Wishlist to the Shopping cart, the Tester will report a bug, and he or she will open a ticket in the bug tracking tool. When a tester reports a bug in the system, he or she should also add some specifications such as the instructions to reproduce the bug, this will help the developer to quickly reproduce the conditions when the bug was found. The tester will also generally report on which device and which operating system was in use when the bug was found. For example I was using Safari on iPad Pro.
In the second step, the QA lead will check all the information available on the bug and he or she will double check that the bug has not been reported yet. This is important otherwise we may have on the bug tracking tool duplicated bugs.
The QA lead will then assign the bug to a team member to work on the issue. Please note that I’m using bug and issue as synonyms at the moment.
In step 3 the developer fixes the issue on the development environment and marks the issue as fixed.
Please note that the developer marks the bug as Fixed or Solved but he/she doesn’t close the ticket on the bug tracking tool, only the person who reported the bug or the QA lead should proceed to mark the issue as closed.
In the last step the person who reported the bag or the QA lead will check that the bug is actually been fixed on the platform and it will mark the issue as close in the bug tracking tool.
Summary of UAT test steps
- The tester try to complete a task on the website, e.g. add product to wishlist
- If the tester is unable to complete the task, he/she reports a bug in the bug-tracking tool
- The QA lead verifies the bug i.e. the bug has not been reported by someone else already
- The QA Lead assigns the Bug to a team member to fix
- The team member works on the bug and marks it as fixed when the issue is resolved
- The QA lead or the Tester test again the feature to make sure it’s working
- The bug is finally closed by the QA lead or Tester
Enrico Fantaguzzi is co-founder of Digital Fashion Academy and fashion e-commerce consultant. He has worked for multinational companies including Gucci, The Walt Disney Company and Yoox.
Lorenzo Fanetti is the Digital Quality Consultant and Sales Manager of UNGUESS, a spin-off company of the Milan Politecnico University. UNGUESS is a partner for the digital optimization of some of the most important companies in the field of Fashion E-Commerce in Italy and Europe
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