PrettyLittleThing Finds Automation Sweet Spot With Eggplant
Online retailer automates testing to ensure an amazing UX for fashion-forward demographic.
PrettyLittleThing (PLT) (prettylittlething.com), offers teens and twenty-somethings affordable, catwalk-inspired fashion, inspired by of-the-moment celebrity influencers. PLT’s strategy has worked well and has established them as a dominant player in the fast-fashion market. Started in 2012 in the UK, the online-only retailer has since launched a presence in Australia, France, Ireland, and the U.S. Just a couple of years later, PLT was recognized as the fastest-growing online retailer after experiencing a 400-percent increase in sales and 663-percent increase in site traffic.*
Testing Across All Devices and Platforms
PLT’s goal is to be the leading women’s online fashion retailer. This means it needs to provide a flawless user experience (UX) — especially on mobile, which is the preferred way to shop for PLT’s target demographic. Any issues on the company’s website or application can make or break a sale and negatively affect revenue.
To meet customer expectations, PLT takes a continuous development approach, characterized by frequent releases and updates, and relies heavily on its small testing team. “We were doing two or three live releases a week and spending a lot of that time doing manual regression tests,” says Scott Jenkins, lead QA engineer at PLT. “Our short-term test goal was to automate all our regression tests across all of our devices. Our long-term test goal was to have all of those critical regression tests happen automatically.”
Taking advantage of its established relationship with QualiTest,** PLT sought a solid recommendation for an easy-to-use automated testing solution that would help improve testing efficiency and control costs. After evaluating a few test automation solutions, Rory Cruickshank, senior automation consultant at QualiTest, put together a proposal for PLT. “Eggplant was my recommendation for them, partly because one of the major requirements was that it had to test across all e-commerce platforms and all devices — mobile more than desktop,” he notes.
Kickstarting Test Automation With Eggplant
In addition to Eggplant, PLT’s test team also considered using Selenium. “Because 70 percent of our web traffic comes from mobile, we needed to perform our automated tests on real devices,” says Jenkins. “Both Eggplant and Selenium were the top products on the market for that.” PLT ultimately went with QualiTest’s recommendation for Eggplant. “The biggest reason why we suggested Eggplant over Selenium WebDriver was because PLT wanted to do everything on their own,” explains Cruickshank. “It’s time-consuming to manage the day-to-day upkeep of Selenium and all the peripheral add-ons required to get a proper test setup. Plus, it was important for them to have an easy-to-use solution for non-technical testers.”
Eggplant and QualiTest helped PLT kickstart its automated testing by initially writing the first set of automated regression tests based on various critical testing scenarios that Jenkins and his team were manually performing across the website. Hands-on training happened during a two-day engagement where PLT’s team put scripts together via the different methods that Eggplant and QualiTest had already developed. “During the practical demos, they were quickly seeing the benefits of automation and the benefits of not needing huge amounts of coding experience or knowledge to use Eggplant,” adds Cruickshank.
Easily Keeping Up With Continuous Development
Armed and ready with a suite of regression tests to put into action, Jenkins says it didn’t take long for them to get comfortable writing and editing their own scripts. The true test came a month later when the entire checkout journey changed on PLT’s website. “It was a good challenge for us. Because Eggplant Functional is easy to use, we were able to write these new tests for our new checkout process and do it very comfortably across all of the devices we use,” says Jenkins.
The team now runs a single Eggplant script to test across iPhones, Android devices, tablets, and desktop browsers, as well as a single script to test any new site features. Because the team tests two to three live releases per week, they have to stay on top of their scripts, but Jenkins explains that it’s easy for them to change things as well as add new scripts themselves.
“Since we’ve been using Eggplant Functional and have all of our tests running across all of our devices, it’s just saving us so much time,” he explains.