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Software testing the Retail Industry—the why’s and how’s of it

Software testing in the Retail Industry — the why’s and how’s of it

September 28, 2022
 by 
 Rohith Ramesh Rohith Ramesh
Rohith Ramesh

From being the simple brick-and-mortar general stores, retail enterprises, today, have become large, digitally-driven business chains. In this changing retail landscape, several unique software technologies have percolated into different sections of the industry including online retail apps, eCommerce channels, CRM, PoS systems and many more. Further, the increasing access to the Internet has significantly transformed the retail landscape, with the number of digital buyers growing each year. In 2021, retail e-commerce sales amounted to 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars approximately globally. This is expected to increase by 50 percent over the next few years to around 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025.

Trend of increasing retail e-commerce sales
Trend of increasing retail e-commerce sales

However, this digitally-driven retail landscape, running multiple systems requires effective software testing to ensure that the retail apps and all the related-platforms function efficiently, and offer flawless performances to deliver the best customer experiences.

Why do you need to focus on testing in the retail space?

As the retail industry is adopting more and more software platforms to manage their regular operations, it is essential for the enterprises to perform rigorous testing for maintaining the software quality and efficiency.  Following are the key factors why software testing in the retail domain is a must —

1. Maintaining the omnichannel approach: the retail functions and operations are dispersed across multiple platforms and channels today. The apps, devices and related-systems involved in the retailing must be tested for their functioning and performance to ensure that these render the same user experience across whichever touchpoints the customers engage through.

Check out: Tips to Improve Retail Mobile App Testing

2. Delivering tailored customer experiences: Today, it is easy for customers to slip away from one particular brand to another in case they are not completely satisfied. Hence, avoiding customer experience glitches is essential in order to deliver consistent, hassle-free, and seamless experiences. Efficient software testing solutions for retail enable us to identify the performance gaps in the retail enterprises, the security loopholes, other issues like downtimes, unreliable payment gateways, slow loading pages, website crashes, downtimes, and other technology-linked challenges.

3. Improving the software performance: The overall performance of any retail software directly impacts the business value and customer satisfaction. For instance, the PoS system that is critical for the retail industry is integrated with the supply chain, inventory, and other systems required for a smooth retail operation. Testing the performance of the PoS system in the context of the surges and usage peaks will assure its seamless functioning, allowing the retail enterprise to execute tasks efficiently, including those beyond the PoS. A rightly-functioning PoS system also assists retail enterprises in better serving customers, thereby improving the customer experience. Hence, efficient software testing in retail is a major requirement.

4. Improving the scalability: Consumer habits and expectations are continually changing today, and the volatile market scenario urges retail businesses to scale out in order to cater to the changing needs. The retail applications, online channels of the brands, and other systems involved require evaluation at a global scale to be able to meet the growing customer requirements.

5. Building robust security: Given the huge number of retail apps in the hands of customers today, the risk of security breaches has increased too. Not only personal information like name, date of birth, and other identity-related information, but bank account-related details are also prone to unwanted exposure. Hence, it is a mandate for retailers to focus on security testing to prevent security breaches, monitor the software, the different entry points, network interfaces, and system integration points for vulnerabilities, and ensure zero data leaks or security lapses. End-to-end testing of the applications is a key to safeguarding applications’ privacy, ensuring seamless performance, and enhancing user experience. 

6. Critical 3rd party integration: A complete retail journey involves multiple apps, delivery channels, transaction platforms, and much more, which are accomplished by integrating with other third-party app vendors. For instance, a retail store relies on a third-party payment merchant app, a supply chain management app, a delivery app, advertisement platforms, and so on. Therefore, it is essential to run end-to-end tests to analyze the different scenarios and ensure proper integration. 

7. Seamless issue detection: Efficient end-to-end testing is a true enabler of detecting performance issues early on, thereby assisting in proactively resolving these issues and reducing high costs for issue detection after customers come across it. 

A holistic software testing platform is a must for the retail businesses and HeadSpin brings that to table.

Here's how HeadSpin helping you improve your retail processes

HeadSpin delivers a holistic retail application testing solution to help global retail companies deliver optimal user experiences, thereby improving overall business growth. 

HeadSpin’s unified AI-driven digital insights platform allows automated, integrated, and continuous end-to-end testing, with advanced AI capabilities that help identify performance issues securely and remotely on real devices across 90+ locations.

Also check: How leading retailers can maximize performance and online revenue

How does the solution work?

The platform captures data from different real devices that are deployed across different locations to analyze them by leveraging advanced machine learning and other data science techniques to render critical insights. HeadSpin makes it further easier by allowing users to access the test devices remotely via HeadSpin remote Control UI/ Debug Bridge. 

HeadSpin’s machine learning capabilities allow users to perform

  • root cause analysis 
  • regression testing
  • issue detection, and much more to obtain crucial insights. 

Further, HeadSpin’s retail testing solution offers unique visualization capabilities that render helpful dashboards, actionable insights, and alerts for vital KPIs.

Improving customer experience with HeadSpin’s AI-driven testing platform

How does HeadSpin help retail businesses?

The advanced AI technologies make HeadSpin’s retail solution a perfect driver for improving retail business outcomes. Following are some of the primary capabilities of HeadSpin’s retail solution:

  • Advanced data science capabilities: HeadSpin has several unique ML models and other AI capabilities that enable the clients to obtain actionable insights into app performances. The solution allows collecting real-time KPI data and analyzing these to render actionable insights leveraging integration with service management. 
  • Track critical user journeys: HeadSpin's AI-powered solution enables capturing crucial user journey attributes across the entire journey, including login/home launch, product browsing, adding products to carts, checkout time, transaction, and much more, enabling retailers to offer optimal customer experiences. Further, the machine learning capabilities help identify performance issues and resolve them proactively in the early stages.
  • Global testing: HeadSpin enables seamless end-to-end testing and monitoring with real devices remotely with multiple OS (iOS/Android/Web browser) across 90+ global locations and different networks (WiFi/Operators). Users can garner the advantage of automated testing of functionalities in real-world scenarios and access devices from the HeadSpin Global Device Infrastructure. Further, the solution helps to test scenarios involving 3rd party services/applications like payment, inventory, and others, replicating real-world scenarios.
  • Online identity verification: HeadSpin offers capabilities to run and automate biometrics, AI, one-time passwords, single sign-on, two-factor authentications, and other identity verification attributes to ensure complete security of the customers and retailers and thereby win customer trust.
  • API usage monitoring: The holistic testing platform allows users to efficiently keep track of how the APIs are being used by the apps. HeadSpin also helps track the impact of 3rd party APIs on application performance.
  • Performance regression: HeadSpin enables running build-over-build regression to identify performance regressions. The platform helps compare performances across -

- Multiple locations to better understand performance across the different markets

- Multiple networks to understand network dependencies

- Multiple devices and OSs to understand cross-device/cross-OS compatibility and performance.

  • Competitor analysis: HeadSpin's anonymized peer benchmarking assists clients in comparing their performances with competitors with respect to several KPIs and customer journeys. Further, the AI-enabled platform helps capture several critical KPIs like time to search or time to buy and evaluate these across various factors. Additionally, HeadSpin offers excellent data visualization capabilities with helpful dashboards, intelligent alerts, and actionable insights, which help understand performance and user experience trends better.

HeadSpin’s data visualization allows users to consume data collected across various sessions and easily interpret experience and performance insights from the data.

 Sample Grafana dashboards that help to track custom KPIs.
 Sample Grafana dashboards that help to track custom KPIs.

HeadSpin Success Stories — How HeadSpin assisted organizations deliver best-in-class user experiences 

With customer satisfaction being a primary focus, the e-commerce company was exploring ways to improve the overall experience of their platform, aiming to build brand loyalty and an edge in the market competition. It was crucial that the company gains an understanding of the comparative performance of its apps and websites with other competitors in the market and analyze app performances on real devices.

Don’t rely on iOS emulators & android simulators. Test on real devices. Learn more!

HeadSpin precisely addressed the needs of this client, offering them the solution for 

  • Anonymized Peer Benchmarking
  • End-to-end testing through the HeadSpin AI-driven Platform revealed not only the scenarios where the client app was lagging in the competition but also the performance bottlenecks causing this lag. 
  • HeadSpin cloud platform offered data points from real devices distributed across the client's market geography, streamlining their testing efforts.
  • Additionally, HeadSPin enabled the customer to measure business-specific custom KPIs like time-to-buy and time-to-search.

With HeadSpin, the e-commerce company was able to reaffirm its competitive advantage in the industry and ensure delivering a top-notch experience to its customers. 

In another instance, HeadSpin assisted a leading clothing brand in measuring its app performance across multiple devices and carrier networks. Generally, it is challenging to measure real-world performance data where companies rely on simulations that often don't reflect actual user experiences. HeadSpin helped them perform regression tests using more than 3000 test cases running in parallel.

The impact of HeadSpin’s solution

Conclusion

Retail enterprises are transforming rapidly with the intent to keep up with the continual changes in customer demands. And with this technological intersection, enterprises are increasingly focusing on efficient testing for their applications and other retail systems to offer a seamless customer experience and thereby improve the ROI of the business. The holistic testing approach of HeadSpin integrated with AI-powered capabilities for experience monitoring and performance optimization has enabled multiple retail enterprises to increase their app performance, retention, and user engagement and drive their business growth by significant numbers.

FAQs

Q1. What are the types of testing for the PoS system?

Ans: This includes two major levels —

  • Application level
  • Enterprise level

Q2. What are some of the key challenges in PoS testing?

Ans: Following are some of the challenges in PoS testing —

  • Testing on real devices
  • Complex interfaces
  • Peripheral issues
  • Multiple configurations
  • PCI compliance
  • Upgrades
  • Test lab maintenance

Q3. What are smart shelves?

Ans: These are IoT-enabled shelves with three primary components- an RFID tag, an RFID reader, and an antenna. The microchip on the tag is transferred with the help of the antenna to an IoT platform, where it is processed by a reader. As a buyer walks around the shop with a digital shopping list on their smartphone, the cell phone vibrates in case a needed product is on the shelf nearby. 

Software testing in the Retail Industry — the why’s and how’s of it

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