Get Test-Ready for Black Friday 2021

Once again, Black Friday is almost upon us. Last year, retail spending during what has evolved into a global event – increased by 22 percent. With many consumers still avoiding in-person shopping experiences, 2021 is likely to be another online boom time for sales. For test teams, this means a lot of pressure to make sure that everything is in good shape so that there is no downtime, or at the very least, no abandoned carts due to a faulty and frustrating customer experience. Fortunately, there is just about enough time to carry out some last-minute due diligence.

Here is a summary of advice based on the successful test strategies we have seen retail firms adopt. The first step is to test on the devices and browsers most relevant to the audience because while it is vital to support all those in current use, the most popular need to be the priority, and they can vary according to geography or audience demographic. Naturally, new introductions should be included — such as the Apple iPhone 13 — even though adoption rates are not yet high. In addition, test teams need to consider new types of app technology that were not so common last year, including progressive web apps, Flutter, APKs, and App Clips. Apps like these have different user flows, engagement and are less mature from a quality perspective, hence, require more developers’ and testers’ attention.


Automated end-to-end tests 

Another early step is to run automated end-to-end tests for core user interactions, particularly as many retailers start rolling out their Black Friday campaigns well in advance. Teams need to determine which aspects of their applications have the highest value and, therefore, also pose the highest risk should they go down. Every element of key business transactions needs to be tested, from log-in to input of credit card details. These tests should be part of stable test automation suites running continuously to ensure that everything is operating smoothly, including thorough feedback and consistent results to minimise mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR).

Here are some examples of core processes to consider:

  • Add to cart 
  • Log in or guest account creation 
  • Address and contact information input 
  • Payment processing 
  • Email confirmation 
  • Tracking emails 
  • Delivery confirmation 

This is not an exhaustive list, and each vertical and market segment will have its unique features and requirements. Each user journey must be well covered by testing, including:

  • Making a sale through the Apple or Google wallet 
  • Using a built-in camera’s AR feature to virtualise how an item might look on a person or in their home 
  • Buying items in specific locations (this was from the blog – can you provide an example of a location? Thanks) 
  • Mobile geo location-specific offerings and alerts 


Performance Testing 

Even if retailers try to mitigate the surge in online traffic by running offers in advance, higher traffic is very likely on an actual day, so it is critical to test an application’s speed, stability, and scalability while handling this increased workload. For web applications, the performance test checklist should include:

  • Page load time across browsers 
  • Varying screen sizes 
  • Resolution across different browser OEMs 
  • Refresh rates 

For mobile performance testing, this list should cover:

  • Varying network conditions, such as poor 4G or 5G network signals 
  • Apps running in the background 
  • Sensor latency, such as location and camera 

Black Friday is peak time for a website’s discount and promotions codes, so accidentally giving users incorrect or outdated discount codes on one of the most crucial eCommerce days of the year would be a catastrophe. Also, last year saw a shift towards more use of referral opportunities to acquire new customers and incentivise existing ones to return. Therefore, testers need to include referrals in tandem with one-time-only discounts and promotion codes.


Complex User Conditions  

It is essential that mobile app testing reflects the same environmental profiles as users, including accounting for more complex scenarios. With real user simulation testing, teams can test for all conditions that users may experience and eliminate the cascade of extra work that escaped defects create. User conditions to test include:

  • Biometric scanning 
  • Varying quality of mobile networks 
  • Airplane mode 
  • Camera 
  • Audio injection 
  • Call and text interruptions 
  • Device vitals 
  • GPS tracking 
  • Conflicting apps 
  • Packet loss 
  • Accessibility constraints 

Last but not least, to make the most of all these additional Black Friday test efforts, run regression tests to make sure that any new Black Friday updates, such as banners, discounts, pop-ups, or promo codes, do not cause bugs in other parts of the application. While regression tests can be carried out manually, a combination of Agile, test automation, and continuous testing is the most effective route to revealing defects early and supporting the faster rollout of new features and updates.

To help companies prepare more effectively for Black Friday, Perfecto has put together a free 37 point omnichannel checklist, which is available here:

With the omnichannel retail experience becoming increasingly sophisticated, together with new and evolving mobile devices and web technology, it pays dividends to put together comprehensive Black Friday test strategies, for 2021 and the years to follow.


Article written by Eran Kinsbruner, Sr. Director, Author, and Evangelist at Perfecto by Perforce