30 Days Of E-Commerce Testing - Day Five!

Day 5: Identify different types of ecommerce business classifications/models (e.g. Business to Business). 

Google ‘ecommerce business model’ and you get various iterations of:

  • B2C (business to consumer - which covers most online stores)
  • B2B (business to business)
  • C2C (consumer to consumer - an intermediary, helping people sell to one another - like TradeMe)
  • C2B (consumer to business)

Some sources mention other possibilities, such as B2G (Business to Government). It’s important to know which one your organisation is when testing - so that you can ‘get in the head’ of your users effectively.

However, an interesting source on added some interesting dimensions other to this. ( - hope the link works, Squarespace is being shady as I write this...)

Because on top of these business classifications, they talk about business models, and product models, for ecommerce.

These seem like valuable things to know about when testing!

Business models

The business model is all about sourcing & inventory.

Does your company outsource all the design, manufacturing and inventory of its products?
Or - do they manufacture and store everything themselves?
Or some mix of the two (maybe designed in house, but manufactured elsewhere?)
Do you manufacture on-demand, or have a warehouse full of stock to clear?

Our business model could affect how we test.

Our system might integrate with another system that manages inventory - how do we test that integration?
Or - our system might manage its own inventory. How do we manage this? Does our system behave when we’re out of stock of something?

Product models

Product model is all about what you sell.
Businesses will typically sell either:

  • a single product
  • a single category of multiple products (e.g. just t-shirts, but in different designs, colours, sizes)
  • multiple categories of multiple products

Whichever this is will affect the scope of what testing needs to be done.

For a single product site, you’re probably going to want to deep dive into testing that one thing can be found and sold successfully. Because if it can’t, well, then you’re in trouble!
For a site with a much broader scope, testing will be much broader too, and there will be added complications of selling multiple items, different variations, that sort of thing.

And that’s what I learned today!

- JE