Retail has been disrupted by the massive transformative power of digital. And point of sale systems are now a key differentiator for retailers. In this era of mobility and the connected store, POS has become a powerful component of retailers’ omni-channel strategies, with an enterprise-wide impact. An increasing number of retailers are augmenting their existing POS with new digital technologies in order to gain maximum visibility across inventory, orders, customers, and products.
Only by adopting a results-driven approach in Quality Optimization can retailers support such robust capabilities and ensure that their POS deployments attain their full potential.
Challenges in POS Testing
Testing of POS systems is considerably different from any other software. Hence, an in-depth understanding of POS-specific challenges is essential.
- Rapid innovation in technology– The modern POS must deliver the reimagined connected customer experience, while still adhering to the POS ‘fundamentals’ of high transaction speed, flexible payment options and robust security.
This makes it imperative for retailers to adopt the latest innovation in technology, which in turn leads to frequent hardware and software upgrades and complexities of infrastructure.
- Complex Integration– POS systems are a key piece in the new ‘customer engagement’ network of applications (POS, OMS, CRM, loyalty, gift cards, etc.) and also an important facilitator in both pre- and post-sale processes. They must be tightly integrated with several other software systems like warehouse, inventory, supply chain, purchase order, marketing, merchandize planning At the same time, they are also expected to integrate seamlessly with various in-store devices like sensors, terminals, kiosks, screens etc.
This makes testing incredibly tricky since these systems aren’t working in isolation, but together with several other systems within a single use case or even multiple complex use cases. A proper setup with multiple types of hardware devices and versions of the software is required, necessitating thorough compatibility and integration testing.
- Managing Promotional Offers/ Discounts – This is a complex testing area which can give rise to multiple challenges. Since promotions are short-lived by nature and not applicable everywhere, testing for discount and coupons requires extra care.
Multiple configurations may need to be done as per the store requirement. For instance, if a retail chain wants to launch a promotional offer only in one city, in such a case, special configurations would be required for POS systems being used in that particular city.
Also, when retailers roll out promotional offers across both online and offline channels, it can give rise to additional challenges. Continuous testing becomes imperative to manage the activities seamlessly by aligning several IT applications for efficient performance and desired outcomes across multiple retails channels. In case of any delay or error in configuring or testing, speed to market can be adversely affected.
- Online security & Mobile POS Security-Care must be taken to meet security requirements across the online and mobile platforms. Testing practices must therefore create a security testing framework and include tools to minimize the security risk of the web/mobile interface for the customers. Besides, the sheer number of POS applications, POS credit card enabled mobile apps, credit card reader devices, and wireless technology, necessitate thorough security checks for the core infrastructure.
- PCI Compliance- Since POS testing deals with the end user’s card details, it is crucial to ensure PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance.
Retail POS demands high level of testing across the following three levels of functions, keeping in mind that its performance directly impacts business revenues. Testing must be performed at Application as well as Enterprise Level, while addressing various issues such as multiple configuration settings, peripheral issues, upgrades etc.
Given the fact that there is a constant need to conduct tests across multiple platforms and devices, test automation is the need of the hour. It can help the retailer gain remarkable advantages in the form of enhanced test coverage, reduced timelines and cost, as well as easy defect tracking for faster troubleshooting.
The market is flooded with plenty of commercial and open-source test automation tools. A proof-of-concept (PoC) exercise, evaluating two or three shortlisted tools should be performed to select the best-suited tool for the POS application.
It is also important to take into consideration the ROI of the entire automation effort since automation calls for significant investments. Based on inputs like releases planned per year, number of regression test cases, size of manual testing team etc., an ROI report can be generated. It can compare the effort and cost for both manual testing and test automation and provide the overall saving in terms of percentage and break-even period to the retailer.
To sum up, the best approach is to adopt a carefully designed test strategy that includes a combination of both automation and manual testing with an integrated cross-channel QA approach. Only with a mature, well planned testing approach can retailers mitigate risk and ensure quality optimization of retail POS.