Retailing is the combination of a group of activities involved in selling or renting consumer goods and services directly to ultimate consumers for their personal or household requirements. Other than selling, other activities include buying, advertising, data processing, and maintaining inventory.
The retail industry has gone online and has been rapidly growing in this sector for the last 4-5 years. With this digitalization, software testing in retail has become a priority to maintain a hassle-free shopping experience for the customer. It is necessary to have a proper test strategy to support the increased QA demand.
QA and Testing Strategy in Retail
Software testing in the retail domain helps understand customer business and their product, as well as maintain a stable online retail business.
Let’s take a look at why maintaining QA and testing strategy should be the primary concern in the retail industry:
- Bad experience
Today’s online retail market is heavily dependent on reviews and feedback from the customer, as a good review can bring more customers, and a bad review can repel away customers. While making an online purchase, the customer expects a smooth trading experience. If any bug or error happens while making a purchase, it could potentially lead to a loss of customers.
According to Statista, 38% of US online users have stated they check online reviews before making an online purchase.
Providing necessary updates to the software from time to time would prevent it from crashing, and bug fixing would require routine.
- The inherent working structure –
Every business comes with inherent risks. Running a retail store or an e-commerce website isn’t any different. As more customers prefer shopping online, e-commerce crimes increase, and retailers become liable.
Customer service in the banking and trading sectors enjoys a more structured and secure system than retail. Launching an integrated risk management program for retail, including assurance programs, frameworks, and activities, to business units and other relevant areas to avoid the inherent working structure.
- Complex sales promotion initiatives-
Sales promotions are one of the most significant ways to attract customers when done right. But often, too many promotions from one brand/site could overwhelm the customer and desensitize them.
Thus it is essential to personalize promotions according to the customers’ preferences and provide them with those promotions on different web pages and sites they visit.
But while doing this, it adds a layer of complexity to the workflow. This is where an effective QA and testing strategy comes into play. The targeted consumers can find their desired product through promotions if the testing strategy is appropriately done.
- The trouble of being “online” –
As the retail market got digitized, many new structures came up, including visual stimulations, product categorization, customer service, delivery, and promotion codes. Thus the IT infrastructure was required to remodel the infrastructure to meet the needs of the online retail shops. Through rigorous QA and software testing, the system was made to be stabilized and user-friendly. Without the help of the QA, the retail market would have fallen as customers wouldn’t be able to find a product or make a purchase.
- 24/7 uptime
Online retail is available 24/7. The customer can access it anywhere and anytime. Thus, the business must always be active, which requires an excellent IT process. And a crash in the system could cost the retail sector a considerable sum of money and customers. Extensive QA and testing should be done to prevent this massacre.
- Cyber security
While making an online purchase, the customer has to provide their details, which include their residential address and bank card details (for online payment). A lack of cyber Security could easily jeopardize consumers.
According to Fortinet, 24% of all cyberattacks target retail customers, and 62% of consumers lack confidence in their data security.
Strong cyber Security is essential, which could be achieved through software testing.
- Slow performance
While online shopping, consumers wouldn’t stay put if their patience is put to the test. According to Bluesquare, an average customer would lose patience after waiting for 3-4 seconds. Online retailers lose £1.73 bn in global sales due to the slow loading performance of websites.
Along with slow performance, another problem arises an inability to withstand heavy traffic, which generally occurs during seasonal sales or serious promo campaigns. Before launching the retail website, E-commerce testing shall be done to avoid these troubles.
- Handling employee affairs
With retail becoming online, it has become a massive base of employees from all across the globe. There are various departments, such as sales, marketing, accounting, customer relations, delivery, and more. The retail market must have a unique IT system for keeping information regarding their employees’ payments, benefits, and others. Hence, a disturbance in this sector could result in this data loss.
A proper QA and testing strategy could prevent this from happening.
- Search algorithm loss
While putting promotions on online sites, if there’s no complex system made for it to direct directly to the site, it would be frustrating for the consumers. While searching for a specific product, the website must provide the correct result. If the algorithm shows tea instead of tops, it will eventually lead to abandonment by consumers. Website testing and quality assurance should be done to avoid such mistakes and mishaps.
Quality assurance is a necessary part of online retail to avoid various mishaps that cause business losses. QA isn’t just testing for bugs. It also ensures that the product is built to your specifications.
It’s tempting to skip out on QA to save some money, but it’s a risky proposition and can lead to the software’s ultimate failure. Jumping the step of proper test strategy could leave a retail business tangled in problems. Thus, for retailers to maximize performance, they shouldn’t avoid these critical steps.