The wisdom of the crowd – ‘real world’ users validate m-commerce apps
By Richard Downs, Senior Director, Northern Europe, Applause
Recent figures reveal that mobile commerce (m-commerce) is by far the most popular way to shop online. M-commerce sales currently make up almost three quarters of total ecommerce sales, accounting for an estimated $3.56 trillion in 2021.
It’s clear, then, that with mobile now the predominant channel for paying for goods or services online, businesses need to ensure a seamless user experience for their customers – especially those digital natives who expect to be able to do everything on their mobile device. Appealing to younger, and more digital savvy, customers is key, in part, because they’re the most likely to share their frustrations on social media if they’re unhappy with their mobile app experience.
When designing a user-friendly app that’s intended to appeal to a broad user base, it’s important to get the basics right. At the very least, this means intuitive functionality, a rigorously tested user experience (UX), and professionally implemented user interfaces (UI). However, there’s a lot more for businesses to think about when designing a mobile app. Their users’ locations, cultural norms, and expectations must all be taken into consideration, as should the various devices, operating systems, and networks they might use.
Such a huge number of variables means comprehensive user testing is essential. Without it, users are likely to encounter issues that will impact their experience of the app, and their overall customer journey. And this can affect a business’s reputation and its bottom line. This method of testing is vital, therefore, to getting the mobile experience right.
The value of crowdtesting
Performed ‘in the wild’, real-world testing will provide a business with targeted insights into customers’ mobile app experiences. It involves testing multiple different dimensions, such as UX, functional and payment to determine how – and, indeed, if – the app works. It asks questions of the app, too: Does it work as designed? Do customers like it? Can they easily use it to pay for goods and services? In fact, questions like these are fundamental to any testing regime.
Answering such questions in any meaningful way requires a curated community of vetted testers spanning a range of demographics. And these shouldn’t simply be restricted to gender, age, or race. This ‘crowdtesting’ model should be far more wide-reaching. Given the different dimensions and variables inherent in any mobile app, the testing community should be representative of several specified filters. For instance, a community composed of testers with different native languages who use different devices and operating systems, will enable a business to satisfy more complex testing requirements, thereby ensuring the best possible design for its mobile apps.
Delivering high-quality banking apps
The need to deliver apps that are intuitive and attractive, and that appeal to a diverse customer base, couldn’t be more apparent than in digital banking. Virtually all adults have a bank account, which is why banking apps need to suit customers of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Usage of banking apps increased considerably during the pandemic; they have become the primary interface for most customers. The crowd allow banks, fintech and financial services organisations to rigorously test security and usability, to ensure a consistently high-quality, positive customer experience.
For example, when financial services company Western Union first offered money transfers many years ago, they were only available through its brick-and-mortar locations. Since then, of course, the company has digitised the process, enabling customers to use its web and mobile applications. But, in doing so, the process has become much more complex.
Western Union is legally required to verify its transfers process in different countries, across a range of payment options, including Mastercard, Visa, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, as well as verifying that its transfer portal functions properly on different devices and operating systems. Like many organisations that operate internationally, though, it lacked the internal resources to test across all these digital options in so many locations.
By crowdtesting more than 2,500 transactions across a range of devices and payment methods in 87 countries over the course of a year, Western Union was able to understand when and where its processes worked, and where there were issues it needed to address. Every time a fix was made, the process in question was re-tested to confirm that it now provided “a happy path”.
Everything for everyone
Regardless of its size and complexity though, as with any mobile app, rigorous testing is essential. Quality crowdtesting is needed to evaluate the app, its systems, software control flow, and the overall experience it offers to ensure that everything works as it should, with no defects or sticking points.
The growing popularity of mobile, especially among younger consumers, means mobile apps are increasingly becoming part of the global economy, delivering shared experiences. So, whether it’s for a small, family-run business or a huge, multinational brand, a mobile app has to deliver the best possible user experience. Otherwise, loyalty, reputation, and revenue can suffer.
Ensuring everything works for every user, across every dimension is complex, however. That’s why a crowdtesting approach, employing a diverse community of testers covering all potential variables has never been more important. M-commerce matters like never before. It’s time to make sure your mobile app works for all your customers.