Today’s Netflix bingers will evaluate the quality of a series through ratings, reviews, and their own engagement — the more interesting the show, the more time they’ll spend actually watching it rather than scrolling Instagram or playing Tetris on their phone.
While this trend of multi-screen behavior gives the e-commerce environment an opportunity to take advantage of this shift in consumer behavior, web developers and testers find a unique challenge in producing quality multi-screen software.
What is Multi-screen Behavior?
Google outlines two modes of multi-screening behavior in “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer behavior” – sequential usage and simultaneous usage.
Sequential usage is referred to as moving from one device to another at different times to accomplish a task, while simultaneous usage is using more than one devices at the same time.
Consumers may simultaneously use devices to research products, brands or information, or sequentially switch for preference of screen resolution or checkout preferences — sometimes it’s easier to enter all that shipping info with a full keyboard in front of you — but another part of consumer behavior on digital devices is “micro-moments.”
Particularly on smartphones, users are increasingly turning to their devices for instant information. They see an ad on the subway, need directions, or want to order delivery, and they reactively turn to their phone. Functional cross-device testing ensures that quick clicks give the user what they’re searching for in these highly impactful moments.
On the contrary, desktop and tablet users are more likely to engage in longer processes and depend on in-depth content, which means exhaustive end-to-end testing is essential.
Multi-screen Behavior Requires Responsive Design
Responsive design in the case of multi-screen behavior is not only going to affect e-commerce sales and the reputation of the company, it’s also going to influence how web applications are built and tested.
90 percent of Google’s respondents use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task, and we see a majority of online shoppers taking a multi-device path to purchase with 67 percent of online shoppers starting on one device to later continue on a different one.
It’s pretty simple — if your website doesn’t create a consistent experience for users across devices and browsers, you’re going to see it affect the bottom line when customers go between their PC and Android, or their iPad and Mac.
In fact, 51 percent of online shoppers saying that site slowness is the top reason they’d abandon a purchase, and just a two second delay in load time during a transaction resulting in abandonment rates of up to 87 percent, there is little room for error in the eye’s of the modern mobile user before they seek out a competitor.
To put that into dollar signs, online retailers’ annual loss of revenue from slow pages has been estimated at about $3 billion in abandoned online shopping carts. From there, about 43 percent of consumers will go to a competitor’s site.
The eCommerce Advantage
Brands and retailers can either take advantage of inevitable multi-screen behaviors or let their brand fall by the wayside with performance issues, breakpoints, and bugs when they don’t implement test automation to evaluate performance and visuals.
Most companies today know they have to have a mobile testing strategy and adapt to small-screened smartphones, but small screens are getting bigger and desktops are still part of a buying process that has numerous steps.
On top of that, multiple browsers, browser versions, and devices demand that business owners and website developers have the tools that allows them to test responsiveness, layouts, and UI across a variety of online shopping platforms.
Consumers require instant information, optimized performance and a seamless experience, all at the same time. They want on-the-go convenience and a satisfactory checkout, and testing has to meet these multi-screen behaviors to go beyond siloed shopping practices and respond to the modern buyer’s cross-platform journey.