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The B2C Equation

B2C testing, Ecommerce, Testing Web application

Introduction

“According to one study, Internet users are more social, have a better outlook on life and they shop more”

The World Wide Web has transformed the way people live, work and play. We now chat, correspond, blog, shop, browse, listen to music, learn, work, update ourselves, have fun, govern countries, run corporations, talk to people on the moon, and much more, via the Internet.

B2C

Gone are the days when things were bought with feel and touch as aids to the buyer/customer. Even women, who cherish the habit of going out shopping around the city, are now happily ordering items on the Internet and getting things delivered at their doorsteps. Online purchasing that has people of all ages and sections of society hooked ranges from concepts/services, high-value items and collectibles, to daily consumer goods being bought. With the advancement of technology and communication, “the World turned into a Global Village” merely translates to a layman in a remote part of the world being able to get what he/she wants, at the mere click of a mouse.

B2C or Business to Consumer - is the new avatar of business that has established a better connectivity between the buyer and seller in real-time environment. Fierce competition and a rapidly-changing business environment have compelled organizations to move from conventional sales to web-based transactions, or in other words, to E-Commerce. Moreover, with access being extended through mobile phones, it becomes even easier to support the B2C Equation.

Focusing on Quality in a B2C environment

Now to scrutinize it further, how well are we equipped to understand the quality aspect of B2C? This is one area that needs a 360 degree approach to analyze the B2C equation from different perspectives.
Such an approach should evaluate a B2C application on the following parameters:
  • Usability

  • Performance

  • Functionality

  • Browser Compatibility

  • Security


Each of these parameters has various sub levels/types of testing:

Usability component

The B2C application should be kept simple from a functionality standpoint, thereby making it user-friendly not only for the digital natives, but also for users who are not technically savvy. Prior to rolling out the application, the testing phase would comprise:

  1. Running a quality check on the language being used

  2. Ensuring the functionality of web components such as the links, buttons, resolution of the images etc that are hosted on the website

  3. Finally, making the application visually appealing for the end-users


Another level of testing that must be carried out is ensuring the comfort level of the users who are scattered across multiple locations, especially if the application is made available in several languages. This enhances the importance of localization testing of the application using plug-ins or off-the-shelf language translation software.

Performance evaluation

It focuses on the response and processing time of the links, which eventually leads to conventional testing methods such as the Load tests, Volume tests and Stress tests, each of which try to test the web application with huge volumes of test data or simulated data. This kind of testing gives insights into the network and server capacities, and the load balancers all of which get tested by ramp up and ramp down of the number of users who try to access the same application.

Functionality testing

It is all about testing the application to verify whether it is able to perform all tasks once it is launched on the web. Here, the testing process should focus on the requirement and functional specifications which are based on business scenarios and application design.

Browser compatibility

It confirms the compatibility of the B2C application with browsers used by a global community, or against browsers specifically mentioned in the application design and user specifications. This test is important as multiple browsers ranging from our very old Netscape to higher versions of the much used Internet Explorer, are now available.

Security testing

It is an important aspect that warrants special attention, with cyber attacks, phishing, hacking, script kiddies DDoS and the likes being rampant. This aspect of testing involves penetration and vulnerability assessment, session time-out checks, password settings, firewalls, router verification, checking for any open ports that could be easily accessed by unauthorized parties and site protection through legal copyrights and disclaimers.

As Andrew Carnegie clearly puts it, “The surest foundation of a manufacturing concern is quality. After that, and a long way after, comes cost.” This statement highlights the importance of employing high-level verification and validation processes, which would be the key differentiators in making your B2C application the most sought-after in the global e-market.
Published: 2007-06-18
Author: Shanthi Meganathan

About the author or the publisher
Shanthi Meganathan serves the Testing Service line at Kanbay ( a Capgemini Company), India.

Source: Not applicable



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