Is Digital Assurance and Testing the Secret to a Sustainable E-commerce Strategy?

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Decades ago, Walmart changed the picture of retail in the American market and altered the economic balance by shifting power from manufacturers to retailers. By forcing decline of small, local, old-school stores through lower prices, Walmart paved the way for the magnanimous stature that it has now. The retail scenario is changing again. This time, by e-commerce. E-commerce has disrupted the way people shop. In this fast-paced world, people are tight on time and online shopping has come to their rescue. It incorporates the two major factors – technology and sustainability – that the modern, tech-savvy, environment-conscious consumer looks for while making a purchase. Every big and small retailer today is working constantly to make these digital platforms robust and secure.

E-commerce giants such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba are becoming the Walmart of online shopping. Quite evidently, digital transformation has revolutionized the consumer behavior in terms of their purchasing pattern and check-points. Hence, knowing the opportunities and challenges in the digital space, a lot of attention is driven towards Digital Assurance and Software Testing.

Can brick-and-mortar stores exist without embracing the digital disruption?

The benefits of e-commerce are attractive, both for sellers as well as buyers. The geographical limitations of a physical store are not a concern for an e-commerce platform. Going online has allowed businesses to market and sell their products worldwide, presenting them with the possibility to expand their customer base exponentially. E-commerce enables sellers to offer better variety and range to their customers by analyzing their buying history and purchasing pattern.

With minimal investment, e-commerce drives higher revenues, as online businesses do not have to spend exponentially on building stores or paying rent, furniture, installations, and electricity. Omni-channel advertising becomes significantly cheaper with social media, eliminating the need to hire and pay sales and marketing personnel.

Although, ecommerce is not completely ecological, it relatively helps in reducing the carbon trail in many ways. The major emissions for e-commerce come from the heavily-powered data centers and the additional packaging material required to ensure safe delivery. But, there is nothing that cannot be moderated. Deployment of renewable energy resources and recycling the packaging materials provide e-commerce the scope to emerge as the sustainable option of retail.

Having said that, there are still many who find a sense of security in traditional shopping and would prefer a personal service at a physical store over a few clicks on a mobile shopping app. Traditional shopping also lets customers to take the merchandise home the very same day, while they have to wait for a few days to get an online order delivered to them. The waiting period may kick in anxiety in some buyers, making the “retail therapy” useless.

Possibly, e-commerce will not kill traditional retail immediately. It may lead to a slow and painful death, if the retail stores fail to evolve with the changing time, implying that there has to be a balance to ensure omni-channel experience.

How the retail giants are coping with the digital change?

The decline of old-school retail stores with the rise of big-box retail has taught businesses one thing- To stay in the game, you must adapt with the change.

The soaring e-commerce success has led the retail behemoths to take the cue and adopt an appropriate strategy to stay competitive and relevant. The acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon and Flipkart by Walmart shows the trend of cross-format deals that traditional stores are taking to save their face.

The popularity and ease of online shopping over offline cannot be ignored. In such scenario, convergence becomes the key to survival for brick-and-mortar stores. Developing a hybrid model, in which they offer the convenience of online shopping while maintaining a physical space to interact with the customers, is their best bet. Here, Enterprise E-commerce application testing and Software quality assurance solutions will play a key role. This facilitates an Omni channel presence of retailers, empowering them to tap on maximum customer touch-points.

What makes Digital Commerce or E-commerce so compelling?

A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University showed that an e-commerce model results in a 35% decrease in the total energy consumption and Carbon Dioxide emissions as compared to a traditional retail shopping model. The study also suggested that about 65% of the total emissions of a traditional retail model stem due to customer transport to and from the store. By eliminating this need to commute, e-commerce is lowering the carbon imprint significantly.

Not a single level of business remains impermeable in this digitally-transforming era. With this, the focus has shifted to deliver enhanced user-experience, which can be achieved by taking an intuitive, technology-driven approach.

One of the main attractants of online shopping, where physical stores fail miserably, is the ability to offer a customized user-experience determined by an individual’s past purchases, searches, and interests. Retail is headed towards a data-driven future, where Big Data and AI will be the critical spearheads, driving the conventional retail stores to the success of their digital commerce strategy. Soon, every stage of the retail framework will be backed by a sophisticated technology and will require the support of enterprise e-commerce application testing. The data gathered along a supply chain will have to be analyzed and interpreted by a smart AI to better understand the behavior of customers.

Why is Digital Assurance and Testing critical?

The need to streamline an organization’s digital value chain and to offer a seamless user experience makes Digital Assurance and Testing inevitable.

With the absence of a physical store, the user interface becomes the face for an e-commerce business. Its credibility is determined by how interactive and engaging its website or app is. In order to impart maximum sense of satisfaction, it is imperative for the complete online shopping experience to be smooth and glitch-free for the user. This can be achieved by implementing software quality assurance solutions that will ease the entire digital transformation process.

Digital Assurance disseminates uniformity across varied platforms through which an e-commerce business operates. In order to avoid confusion, it is critical that the layout and services remain the same across different channels as well as regions. By enabling automation, digital quality assurance and testing speeds up the process for the end user by providing real-time solutions.

One of the major threats that digital transformation brings is Cybersecurity. Users are highly sensitive and concerned about their data. Having an integrated security framework will build trust among the users, leading them to make purchases without having to worry about the confidentiality of their private information. Proactive and continuous software testing will keep an eye on any vulnerabilities and potential security threats, facilitating the deployment of necessary proactive measures.

In Conclusion

In this digitally disrupted world, the traditional stores will have to take the leap from retail to e-tail in order to stay in the picture. This transition is not only crucial for ROIs, but also for an environmentally-sustainable future. The e-tailers need to harness customer engagement by using eco-friendly packaging and energy-efficient web design. With the support of data-driven, engaging technology tools, ecommerce will be able to offer an omnichannel, secure, and convenient experience to the consumers across the globe.  Implementation of digital assurance and testing will result in a smooth flow of data and safeguarding of a disaster management pathway.

Bringing this change into effect may seem cumbersome to many. At Cigniti, we strive to work through the complexities and make the digital transformation journey effortless for our clients. Contact us to know more.