Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

Testing m-commerce apps ‘in the wild’ to guarantee user satisfaction

Richard Downs, Director Northern Europe, Applause

Whether it’s in retail, travel, banking, media, or utilities, any business that enables its customers to pay for goods or services online also needs to deliver a seamless m-commerce experience. In-app purchases, and account management tools must accommodate customers on mobile devices, especially when serving those digital natives who expect to be able to do everything on their smartphones. After all, not only do these people make up a significant share of the market, they’re also likely to share their grievances on social media if their digital experience isn’t up to scratch.

There is a lot for businesses to consider about their users when designing a mobile app, including locations, cultural norms and expectations, device options, operating systems, and global networks. The recent emergence of the super app complicates things with further complexity, integrating familiar apps, interfaces, and payment mechanics into one seamless experience.

Given the enormous number of variables at play, comprehensive user testing is essential. Without it, it’s likely users will encounter issues that will impact their overall customer journey and user experience (UX). This, in turn, can affect a business’s reputation and bottom line. It’s essential, then, when implementing m-commerce, to ensure you get the experience right.

A curated community of testers

Real-world testing carried out “in the wild”, will give a brand targeted insights into its customers’ mobile app experiences. This requires the testing of multiple different dimensions, such as function, payment, and UX to determine if and how the app works. Questions must be asked of the app. For example – Does it work as designed? Do customers like it? Can they easily use it to pay for things? Indeed, questions like this should be at the heart of any testing regime.

To answer those questions in any meaningful way, however, the brand must curate a community of vetted testers that represent a range of demographics. This ‘crowdtesting’ model isn’t restricted to gender, race, or age. It’s much more far reaching. The different dimensions and variables inherent in any mobile app mean the community should also comprise testers with different native languages, for example, and that use different devices, operating systems, and are representative of any other specified filters. Once that crowd is in place, a business will be positioned to meet even the most complex of testing requirements, the outcome of which should ensure the best for its mobile app initiatives.

By way of illustration, online food delivery company Just Eat has to ensure its mobile app affords successful interactions at every step of the delivery process. Its end customer group can pose a unique challenge. According to Daniel Broad, Just Eat UK’s Technology Manager for Consumer Apps, the company is “trying to create a good experience for hungry people – who are not always the most forgiving users.”

By employing a group of testers carefully chosen to meet the particular needs and demands of its customer group, Just Eat enjoyed assurance on the app’s device and location coverage, and was able to quickly release new updates, confident of how they’d be perceived by its customers. This is just one example of a brand turning to Applause to help them refine a customer journey and improve the digital experience of the end user.

Rise of the super app

The m-commerce landscape is evolving. The advent of super apps, otherwise known as digital front doors, has led to a mass marketplace of services and offerings, made possible through a combination of in-house technology and third-party integrations.

Chinese tech giant TenCent, for example, transformed its WeChat messaging app into an entire ecosystem of related services, including taxi-hailing, hotel reservations, payments, and medical consultations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are now making overtures toward the super app space too.

But, while the revenue potential for such a conglomeration of products and services is huge, the adoption – and subsequent success – of a super app will ultimately depend on the quality of the UX it offers. Super app developers must offer an attractive, frictionless marketplace with strong user appeal. It must seamlessly interact with multiple third-party vendors, too, and be underpinned with strong security and an effective payment platform.

However, without rigorous testing, this can all be for nothing. Quality crowdtesting is needed to evaluate the app, its systems, software control flow, and the overall experience it delivers to ensure there are no defects or sticking points.

The value of crowdtesting

M-commerce is no longer a nice-to-have for businesses. Whether it’s for a small, family-run retail business, or a huge, multinational corporation, an m-commerce app has to deliver the best possible experience. Loyalty, reputation, and revenue can depend on it. Given the importance of ensuring everything works, for every user, across every dimension, a community of testers covering all potential variables has never been more valuable.

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