BugFinders slams poor ecommerce testing

Online stores turning off buyers with beginner errors

According to crowdsourced software testing company BugFinders, poorly-tested ecommerce sites continue to lose customers, often because of embarrassing beginner-level errors. In a press release, the company said common complaints include broken links, overlong payment procedures, browser and platform incompatibility, and an apparent lack of security.

BugFinders claimed poorly tested sites cost a minimum of five per cent of sales, and director Donna Mudge added that if a site "has issues which hinder or prevent a user purchasing products, even if they are small, customers will go shop elsewhere". She said that browser testing is of paramount importance, not least with current versions of Firefox and Chrome, which are now very regularly updated, but also on mobile. With smartphones accounting for eight per cent of the UK ecommerce market as of December 2011 and tablet users spending more than PC users, developers should "question the amount of users who bounce off these sites due to incompatibility issues".

Perhaps surprisingly, the company also concluded Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 was the "best browser for ecommerce," primarily due to websites loading faster than they did in rival browsers. Director of BugFinders Martin Mudge said: "This is good news for IE9, but I wouldn't give all the credit to the browser itself – there are a number of issues that need to be taken into consideration. For instance, the size of the pages and the number of objects on them can significantly affect the speed, which is one reason why a lot of popular websites may keep you waiting while making an online purchase." He added that the company's findings now suggest many users will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to download.