The need of software testing in a world of tech-driven RetailCigniti Technologies
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Nike By Melrose, an LA concept store by Nike, considers the shopping preferences of local users while stocking up products in its inventory. It leverages data gathered from its NikePlus app to identify what the local consumers are buying and to determine the store’s merchandising mix. This data enables the store to stock up its inventory every two weeks, against the brand’s usual turnaround of 30-45 days. On the other hand, shoppers utilize the data to take informed choices by finding the most popular products among the consumers living nearby the store.
A study revealed that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. Nike By Melrose is one of the many examples of retail sectors that are evolving, technologically and innovatively, to deliver the greatest experiences to their customers.
We are inching toward a customer-controlled and consumer-obsessed world. Retailers are trying to optimize, upgrade, and augment their existing methodologies to better align with the changing technology spectrum and user demands. The ability to provide an omnichannel experience has become a must-have. Cutting-edge technologies are opening new channels to the retailers for facilitating a seamless shopping journey for the users. At the same time, retailers are also facing various challenges that come with the adoption of advanced technologies.
The retail technology trends for the digital future
The retail sector is blooming with user data, which is used by every advanced technology for giving back a better experience to the user. A PwC report suggested that 63% of US consumers would share more information with a company that offers great experience. “Customer experience is not only the new frontier of competitive differentiation but also the future of how physical retailers will generate revenue. Experiences won’t just sell products. Experiences will be the products”, says Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet.
Here are the top trending technologies that will be dominating the future of retail:
- The rise of Extended Reality (XR)
Extended Reality or XR technology is the key trend which will design futuristic experiences to the modern customers. XR will connect the dots between reality and virtuality and create a multi-dimensional understanding of a retail product. As per a forecast by Goldman Sachs, the market for VR and AR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025. E-commerce is already big. Both brick and mortar stores and online stores are building their digital and physical counterparts respectively to impart a holistic user experience.
IKEA and Wayfair use Augmented Reality to let customers visualize how a furniture will fit in with their home décor. The magic mirror offered by Sephora online and in-store help customers envision how a certain color or makeup looks on them. Although the trend initiated with Pokémon Go, it is staying and expanding across the industries including retail.
2. Predictive analytics and personalization
80% of the customers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Kiran Mani, Managing Director of Retail at Google, says, “Personalization is nothing but translating information into assistance. Over the next few years, $800 billion in sales will shift to e-retailers that use site personalization, and away from those that don’t.”
Data is the engine driving this age of personalization. With the help of Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, and analytics, retailers are driving customer-focused optimization of legacy systems and processes. The analyzed data combined with intelligent processes can help retailers make informed decisions about their user preferences, inventory management, and supply chain optimization.
Kohl’s equip its store managers with a data-empowered dashboard that they can use to garner valuable insights that will drive more sales.
3. Cloud computing
Cloud infrastructure breaks down the walls between different stakeholders and channels a visible, transparent system across the chain. In addition to the benefits of speed, scale, and storage, cloud computing can prove significant in improving the performance of a retail store. McKinsey suggests that retailers should take a journey or workflow approach to cloud. They should first identify and migrate those workflows that have the highest impact on the business. These workflows may include pricing and margin management, website and recommendation-engine personalization, loyalty-program management, real-time inventory visibility, omnichannel order fulfillment, and inventory optimization.
4. Smart support assistants
A few year back, Lowe’s introduced Lowebot in its stores within the San Francisco Bay area. The autonomous retail service robot helps customers navigate the store and find the products they are looking for.
Pepper, the robot retail software, offers store navigation, answers FAQs, sends discount coupons and special promotions to the customers via email instantly, and help improve the overall store efficiency.
In addition to the in-store bots, chatbots are also on a rise. The global chatbot market is projected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 24.3%.
Retail software testing: The anchor to the digital future
The technological advancements and innovations are to drive seamlessness across a customer’s purchase journey. In order to strategically tap on all the touch-points and offer a true omnichannel experience, retailers need to ensure flawless functioning across their retail applications. From cloud storage to front-end point-of-sale systems, all the applications should be aligned to each other and able to transmit information effortlessly. A minor breakage in the flow may disrupt the entire system, leading to disgruntled customers and a bad reputation. Here, testing the retail applications for quality becomes imperative. Assuring the quality of applications would enable retailers to differentiate themselves in the market.
The modern point-of-sale systems are essentially a one-screen dashboard that orchestrates multiple processes on the backend such as user profiling, pricing updates, responsive merchandizing, among others. For the orchestration to occur uninterrupted, the multiple configurations involved should run seamlessly. To deliver an integrated, omnichannel experience to the users, it is crucial to develop a well-thought retail testing strategy. The strategy would optimize and prioritize the highest-impact applications for quality assurance. By performing functional testing, retailers can ensure their POS systems are working well within the required specifications. Performance testing assesses the systems’ capability to manage various work loads and traffic. For mobile and e-commerce applications, software quality assurance is crucial to determine multi-browser, multi-OS compatibility, along with usability across platforms.
Cigniti’s end-to-end retail test automation services focus on POS, Merchandising, CRM, and WMS, amplify the user experience in stores, and contribute to improved sales and profitability. We take a balanced approach to build a holistic retail solution while aligning business goals and end-user objectives. Our comprehensive service offerings span across the retail and digital commerce ecosystem, supported by our Retail and Digital Test Center of Excellence (TCoE) and Domain Competency Group (DCG).
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Cigniti is a Global Leader in Independent Quality Engineering & Software Testing Services with offices in US, UK, India, Australia, and Canada.