With pre-releases being a common norm in the booming online market, beta versions and beta testers are terms that most of the majority are familiar with. But as an entrepreneur what does beta release really mean to you?
What Exactly Is A Beta?
Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet, suggesting that it is the second development phase that usually comes after the MVP or the alpha testing. A company/developer/entrepreneur usually releases a beta version when its product is feature ready but might have bugs that can be found only when a wide user base tries it out. Thus, this is the crash test for your startup.
Why Is Beta Phase Important?
Generally, products tend to have much more bugs or system flaws when released in the beta phase. They are then worked on, rectified and a much cleaner result is launched as the actual product. Releasing a product without having a beta phase could result in catastrophic market responses as users expect a finished product on the release and having a direct launch might give a product with possible performance issues. The initial launch is the most important phase, and that makes Beta even more important. Beta is your safety net.
When in beta state, beta testers are more considerate and help reporting bugs and faults back to the developer. In exchange, the developer fixes the bug and gives the beta testers benefits like early hands on the product, special offers, etc. This sets the base of your product and through your beta testers’ review, it is easier to understand what users really expect off your product and so how you should market your product.
The 3 Types Of Beta Testing
Since beta is usually for apps, websites and other online platforms, beta nowadays may go on for years. The term that is provided here is perpetual beta. Perpetual Beta is practically a developer’s way of saying that the product is not completely ready and the support team is not to be blamed for the bugs you might face.
Closed Beta is launched for users that are limited and known to give professional reviews and feedback for the product. A closed beta is launched by inviting beta testers and asking them to review the current state of the product. Generally, games or applications that are making major changes create a closed beta platform for their known users to give feedback.
Open Beta is open for all. You need to sign up stating that you are aware of the possible bugs in the system and you cannot claim damages because the product is in a development stage. This gives you a much larger and open audience that helps you test your product for free.
How to build a Beta
Let us suppose you have built an e-commerce website that deals with baby products and you have taken similar assumptions as that in “What is an MVP”
Target audience: 25-40 years old mothers
Best-selling product: Diapers
USP: You deliver products within 6 hours
Most opted shipping method: 6-hour delivery
Now you have already tested this by creating a Minimum viable product. What next? You open it up for a beta.
After starting with the beta phase, you realize that about 70% of users get an issue when choosing a particular Bank’s debit card option. This probably would’ve been passed off in the MVP as mass traffic is required to test these things. Therefore, you resolve the issue with the payment gateway and update your backend for the website.
This is an example for open beta. You do this on your website before rolling it out on all platforms so that you make sure customer dissatisfaction is minimal because after all, it is the first impression that your product/service makes on the users.
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