It is the age of digital establishments and businesses are venturing online while proposing large prospective customer bases, with the opportunity to scale globally. Although, many industries have been stirred by the internet revolution, the retail industry has taken a big blow. Today, retail giants have followed their customers and have been forced to operate out of online avenues in addition to brick-and-mortar stores. The future of mobile technology has enabled these stores to enhance their IT infrastructure multi-fold. This has led to an increased demand for effective Quality Assurance (QA) and testing maturity across various levels.

In fact, the need for QA maturity has thoroughly increased because of the impatient nature of customers. Pioneers like Amazon and Alibaba are innovating to keep customers on their feet and excited with every purchase. Some of these innovations include voice ordering, real-time pricing and more. Therefore, it is forcing retailers to move online to sell directly to the consumer. This means they have to constantly adapt to new environments and stay ahead with the trends or let competitors overtake them.

Here are some of the major areas where testing, both technical and functional and QA find importance in modern-day retail businesses.

Basic working structure

Even though costs of operations are high and margins are low, retail industries have been based on other industry models. Some of them even match their service quality like those of the banking or healthcare industry. With evolving customer expectations, it is in the hands of the IT enablers to tackle the infrastructure to suit their desires with varying levels of service.

Legacy systems

Many retailers have been prevalent in the market for over two to three decades and are still dependent on legacy systems for daily functioning, which include unstructured and difficult-to-maintain codes. With the shift for a digital influx in motion, the transition to newer infrastructure should include end-to-end QA and testing to maintain the integrity of services across systems.

Link with other channels

With many retailers consistently sharing their promotional content and offers on other websites or applications, it must follow a process powered by a complex algorithm so that it doesn’t go amiss. These algorithms demand a QA cover around them to indicate that they have been efficiently tested.

24/7 uptime

With online shopping, the factor of convenience has grown remarkably. This means that stores need to be able to tackle shoppers 24/7 globally, a huge requirement while setting up the business and IT processes. This demands effective QA and functional testing to assure there is no downtime due to system crashes.

Secure customer transactions

With a huge class of today’s population turning to online retailers for shopping experiences, transactions must be handled carefully, a major requirement under the ethics law. Here QA and repeated testing schedules should play a major role in ensuring safe shopping experiences.

Poor compatibility

The increased use of mobile devices and web browsers has exponentially grown in the last decade. This reflects how e-commerce solutions must be compatible across browsers and devices. They should also not be restrictive to languages, countries and interfaces. Therefore, an effective QA strategy should help your applications run smoothly across all platforms to keep your target audience satisfied.

Slow testing cycles

While retailers have gradually moved from the Waterfall model, it is key to ensure testing in agile projects does not remain stagnant. Through an optimized regressing testing approach, at least 70% of sprint efforts can be taken care of. The addition of test automation on a regression test can also reduce test days to a matter of a few hours.

Substandard user experience

Customer preferences are one of the critical factors in how retail stores and online retailers compete for market share. This is often determined by experiences that they may face during the interaction, which can also create bad publicity in case of a social media share. Therefore, the QA and functionality testing of web and mobile applications must take top priority.

The Need for Continuous Testing

It has become evident that the ideal solution to compete in the market is to offer a seamless digital experience to customers as online shopping has become a trendsetter. Thereby, a thoughtful testing strategy must be put in place, most often achieved by continuous testing. The reasons for employing a continuous testing approach include:

  • The constant evolution of retail software
  • CX must be a major priority
  • Partial elimination of human testing
  • Save time and resources with early bug detection

As brand loyalty has become the numero uno in the retail business, it is important to take on a digital approach. This will help them personalize, discriminate, and improve the consumer campaign.

Digital Benefits for Retailers

Retail technology has upgraded the purchasing power to the ultimate stage. However, despite the potential of digital conversion, not all retailers are completely on hand. There are many avenues that are associated with executing the technological backbone to help it perform. It includes operations, workflows, and mindsets that must change for innovation to succeed.

The Action Plan

To attain a 360˚ expertise for your consumers, technology must be combined, automated, and ready to deliver insights that can help individual customer shopping styles as well as more extensive sales trends.

With the right partner by your side to walk you through this, you can ace your retail strategy and aim for the skies.

Suresh Balakrishnan

Suresh Balakrishnan

Project Leader in Retail Testing at Aspire Systems
As a Project Leader in the Retail Testing domain, Suresh works closely with the two leading eCommerce platforms BigCommerce and Magento. While retail testing is his daily grind, he spends his spare time in Numismatics - the study of currency and collecting antiques artefacts.
Suresh Balakrishnan

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