Ecommerce is nothing but a retail store available for customers on their desktop, mobile and on the web for purchase. Retail is a dynamically changing industry that keeps the hook of customers in innovative and exclusive ways.  

Automated end-to-end tests are essential for ensuring high-quality applications. Nevertheless, they pose challenges to the testing team. Here are the challenges that affect most end-to-end testing efforts and how Aspire can help overcome them. 

Top Challenges of End-to-End Test Automation in Retail   

  • Product Configuration 
  • Using a single framework to connect multiple tools 
  • Accessing Non-API applications 
  • User Authentication for downstream applications 
  • Triggering JOBs on-demand basis 
  • POS / Thick client / Access point 
  • Physical payment (Card swipe) 

The main challenge is configuring the product by defining E2E test automation scenarios using Excel or XML for different product combinations involving Product Name, Product ID, Price, Quantity, User Account, PDP, Quick View, payment, shipping, promotions, gift cards, user account type, add items to cart, checkout, etc.  It serves as a configuration sheet for automating the backend as well as the frontend of the eCommerce store.  

Order Processing Models can also be automated in the front end by using OMS UI, and in the backend with an order XML file that automatically retrieves customer orders and displays the order numbers.  

Using a single framework to connect multiple tools – Every eCommerce business needs tools and services like an eCommerce platform, inventory management system, stock keeping unit, payment processing system, email marketing platform, analytics, and tracking system, Shipping Service Integrations, customer relationship management, supply chain, order placement and return management system, etc., to ensure the best overall shopping experience for the customers. Ecommerce sites use different frameworks for their web & mobile applications as well as their desktop applications. A framework that supports cross-platform testing of the cross-platform app is necessary to support eCommerce websites. Here, the challenge while performing cross browsing testing is to perform tests on all browsers and platforms and to automate test cases. 

It seems highly complicated to invoke non-API applications unless the API service provider provides the APIs to consume, and then set up the initial environment that invokes API with a set of parameters and finally extracts the test result data. The middleware for API E2E Testing should be configured as per the application requirements. After configuration, the API function should be called to check whether that API is working.  

Users’ authentication within downstream applications – Integrating E2E testing into authentication services to programmatically or automatically authenticate users into downstream applications is a difficult technique. In E2E testing, steps for authenticating users or signing in using a token or security key could result in serious security issues.  

On-demand or need-based job triggering – Background jobs run by the sequence of systems present a problem in E2E testing. In most cases, integration jobs are scheduled or run according to EST time, so running them in IST time will create too much data in the SFTP folder. SFTP folders typically contain high-converting leads.  

As eCommerce websites are updated often, such as when a new product is added, or when new promotions are introduced, it becomes very difficult to test the front-end, back-end, functional flows, as well as the UI and functional elements.  

Store Point of Sale (POS) / Thick client / Access point) – Retailers face the greatest challenge to achieve seamless end-to-end automation testing since they use different frameworks for testing web & mobile applications, as well as desktop applications to test POS, which is responsible for the Front of House (FOH) and Back of House (BOH) activities of the stores. Through the POS system, customers can place orders directly through the website or via a mobile app. To streamline POS, retailers need a unified testing solution to handle the chaos created by multiple frameworks in their desktop and mobile applications.  

It is more complex to automate thick client applications or non-web applications as well as desktop applications as automating user actions on windows-based applications is more challenging. Hence, for thick-client testing, a tool that recognizes the objects or web elements on the desktop application is required. 

Applications must provide easy and fast access to certain data for the users while preventing malicious and unauthorized users’ access to the system. The testing of access points should be included in security testing, performance testing, functional testing, and usability testing as well. To verify web applications dealing with sensitive data, it is highly recommended to utilize a test automation tool that verifies access points before they are put into production. 

Physical payment (card swipe) – E2E Testing or performing fast tests on an EMV payment terminal conducted between a merchant and a credit-card brand (a financial institution issuing the payment), with authentication checks made by a processor (a mediator between the merchant and the brand) and/or the brand is difficult. Automating EMV operations, such as initiating the transaction, performing actions (e.g., inserting the smart payment card into the terminal), or verifying the transaction is no easier than doing so in real-time.  

The above-mentioned top challenges can be efficiently handled by Aspire’s DCqaf Framework with cloud-based testing platforms and Continuous Integration will work as a solution to the challenges faced by the Retail Industry offering high quality and long-term return on investment.

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Kripaa Krishnamurthi