Things tend to break at the connecting points. Take the human body’s ligaments being fragile. Or every developer’s favorite architect Chris Alexander’s classic observation (in a book that once upon a time was on every old-time developer’s shelf, A Pattern Language) that neighborhood borders are precisely where neighborhoods lose their character because that’s at the point where they blend together.
This holds true of Salesforce Commerce Cloud as well. That is, at the point of integration. Quality assurance (QA) teams, much like the family physician at an annual checkup, work to make sure that everything is in good shape (and send you off to a specialist if you’re not!). Whether you come with a broken bone or hole in a custom integration, you’d want to call the QA team (or maybe a doctor!).
So what are the pivotal stress points of Salesforce Commerce Cloud that often come up during QA? We spoke to United Virtualities’ own Nadia Garcia, the head of QA for our Mexican office, and she had a bunch of noteworthy observations on this subject.
Stress Point One
The first area is at the order management system (OMS). When orders come through, the process of accepting and fulfilling them is a core operation, from the factory to the door. Yet there are a million ways (OK, not quite that many!) you could trip up along the way. And any accumulation of errors can quickly add up to a serious issue.
Imagine a chain of companies tied together via the ordering process. Company A receives an order and payment, which needs company B to process the order and transfer the money to company C, who accepts or rejects the payment. Then this is communicated back through the channels to company B then A. It’s a quick chat among them. But if company C decides to update their APIs, then so do the other companies. What happens if this is not done in time? Like a bad relationship, the communication is lost, and orders get delayed.
Alternatively, if an ecommerce company is using an inadequate OMS, it could lack a reliable inventory management component, being unable to maintain an accurate account of stock, and potentially annoying many potential customers who ordered your product, only to be told that it is out of stock.
Stress Point Two
A second issue that crops up during quality assurance is that classic payment cartridge conundrum, which can fundamentally shape the inner workings of your ecommerce system. Put simply, there is no standard way of doing payments on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and the myriad options available could end up stifling your decision.
This common problem has generated horror stories. For instance a number of companies had made it through the discovery process (where you pay a sum of money for a bit of research that it undertaken), anticipating a healthy remuneration for their hard work. Yet as time ticked by… bank accounts went unfilled. They never captured payments!
If you’re in the commerce world then it’s highly likely that capturing payments is a top priority! Which is why a key area of focus for a quality assurance team is at the integration of payments. We’ve already talked here about our favorite payment gateways, and which ones integrate more smoothly than others, minimizing the possibility of things going wrong.
Stress Point Three
A third common issue revolves around the inventory imports. If you’re a local supplier of fidget spinners, you can simply keep stock of how many red and blue ones remain unspinned, whether you need to stock up on more plastic ones or steel ones. In more complex environments, inventory imports are critical to get right.
To keep on top of this requires continuously updating current inventory: are you out of stock on a certain product? Do you have new products you wish to roll out? Are you running low on certain sizes? Without communicating these changes swiftly, any significant delay would provoke a divorce between what your customers can see and what your actual inventory is. Can you imagine that list of angry reviews waiting to be written?
Let’s recap. The quality assurance process is important for all complex ecommerce sites; it’s simply where you go to get a clean bill of health. And if not in the clear, the tests performed allow the Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s QA team to catch errors early on, making them easier and cheaper to modify and fix.