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Digital Experiences in the Age of Social Distancing

by Tara McLaughlin, on 2/23/21

Close your eyes and imagine the year is 2019. You’re in immediate need of a new pair of running shoes. Your trusted favorite pair has finally given up the ghost, and you’re supposed to go on a run with your friend this evening.

You pull out your smartphone and check the mobile site of your favorite brand to confirm the style you want is in-stock in your size at a nearby retail location. And what’s this? They offer this style in your favorite color, too!

You happily place the item in your cart and select the option for “Same Day In-store Pick Up” during checkout.

You never receive the promised text message to let you know the order is ready for pickup, but no matter: you have a screenshot of the order confirmation.

You arrive in-store and request assistance from an employee to collect your order. The employee informs you that they never received the order in their system, but they’ll check in the back to see if the pair you wanted is available.

It’s been several minutes since the employee went to the back. The store is becoming quite crowded. Another customer is standing right on top of you near the stockroom door, talking loudly on their phone.

The employee returns: the sneaker you want isn’t available in your size at this location.

Frustrated, you turn to exit the store and accidentally bump into the loud talker along the way. You pull out your smartphone, text your friend to cancel your evening jog together and ask for the name of the sneaker company they had previously recommended.

Now open your eyes and immediately apply hand sanitizer because simply imagining shopping in crowded store gives you the heebie-jeebies.  

While this scenario certainly depicts a very poor customer experience in 2019, through the new lens of 2020 and 2021, this scenario could also be considered unsafe.

In the blink of an eye, consumer behaviors and the way in which retailers need to support and engage their customers has changed. And with the memories of 2020 deeply imprinted on our minds, these changes are likely to persist.


Meet Changing Customer Demands with AI-powered Test Automation

Retailers have rapidly scaled their digital operations and over the course of the year, bringing their brick-and-mortar stores closer to their digital shopping experiences with buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS), contactless payment options, and real-time delivery updates. 

Pre-pandemic, these kind of omnichannel shopping experiences were slowly being introduced, but the advent of social distancing requirements gave the industry a massive push. 

As stores slowly re-open and with online expected to continue to be the fastest growing shopping channel, retailers are being pushed to their limits to scale their omnichannel offering to deliver a seamless experience.

And with today’s “always on, hyperconnected customer willing to walk away from brands they love after just one bad experience, retailers only have one chance to get it right.

The way people are shopping has changed, and making sure they have a good experience across these new, often untried user journeys is absolutely vital.

AI-powered test automation ensures that your business will be able to meet the real and sustained shift in customer expectations to provide a stellar retail experience at every touchpoint.


Reimagine Retail with AI and Automation

In a recent articleBrian Solis, digital analyst and futurist, shared:

“If 2020 was the year that forced the acceleration of digital transformation, 2021 will be the year that tests which companies can reimagine the new rules of business and find opportunities to innovate. Atop the list of technologies driving this change are artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. 

Speed, consistency, and convenience are the key ingredients for a positive customer experience. Retailers’ physical and digital presence are now part of one continuous and collective customer journey.  

Simply testing for problems on the website is not sufficient to meet customer needs and ensure a happy omnichannel journey — and manually testing all the possible journeys is inefficient, with some journeys bound to slip through the cracks.

Eggplant enables retailers to move beyond testing only for the speed, consistency, and convenience of your website. Intelligent test automation that spans devices, platforms, and channels can ensure a personalized experience at every level — whether it be BOPIS, purchasing with digital wallet at a self-checkout station, returning to buy items placed in a mobile shopping cart days earlieror one of many other scenarios. 

Our Digital Automation Intelligence platform experiences and interacts with websites and applications the way your customers do. It can observe real user journeys your customers are taking so that you can test the way people actually use your software. 

What’s more, using AI and machine learning, Eggplant identifies the riskiest areas of your application and determines which components and functionality could harm the customer experience and overall business objectives.


A Seamless Omnichannel Experience with Intelligent Test Automation 

Close your eyes, again, and imagine you’re in the market for those running shoes. 

You pull out your smartphone and confirm the item you need is available at a store close byYou place the item in your cart and proceed to checkout. Oh, and there’s a recommended item you can buy now for 10% off. You think, “Sure, who doesn’t need more socks?"  

You select “curbside pick-up” during checkout and continue merrily about your day.

A short time later, you receive a text message letting you know the shoes are ready for pick-up, with a number included to call when you arrive.  

You arrive outside the store and call the number. An employee kindly greets you at your car and hands over your new running shoes. 

On your way home, you receive another text message thanking you for visiting and providing a status update on the reward points you just earned.

Open your eyes. No hand sanitizer needed, right?!  

Read our Buyer’s Guide to discover how intelligent test automation can help you keep your customers safe and their omnichannel experiences nothing short of amazing — not to mention how to keep your customer journey heebie-jeebie free!

Topics:omnichannel testingecommerceRetail

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