Mike Wager - 21 July 2021
Online shopping has steadily grown in popularity, with a well-documented boost in the last 18 months. However, even with the continued rise of eCommerce, shoppers are slowly returning to physical stores.
Nevertheless, whatever channel a customer uses to interact with a brand — website, in-store, or social media to name a few — retailers must adapt to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience.
To make this happen, retailers need numerous applications, devices, and systems integrated with a modern point-of-sale system (POS). And these systems must be tested to ensure they function as expected within your environment.
The evolution of POS
Just a few short decades ago, retailers had to rely on a shop assistant manually punching in some numbers into a cash register. Money was handed over, with a receipt going in the other direction. Transaction complete. Ding! Next customer, please.
The simple cash register has certainly evolved since. Modern POS systems are now central to in-store and online retail operations and delivering a successful omnichannel experience.
Connected to a retailer's online presence, POS systems expand payment methods and integrate with social media. In-store, they have modernized to interact with mobile devices for both employees and customers. To bridge the gap between both, new services such as curbside pickup and buy now, pay later, have been introduced.
To adapt to changes in consumer behavior, retailers need a modern POS platform to seamlessly integrate across numerous customer-facing applications, device configurations, and cloud-based back-office systems.
Testing the connected POS ecosystem
Successfully integrating a POS system to deliver a flawless omnichannel experience requires a lot of testing. This includes every possible customer interaction across different channels, devices, and platforms.
Even straightforward online customer journeys require robust testing. One customer may use a Chrome browser on a Windows machine to add an item to a cart, complete the purchase on an iPhone app, and choose home delivery.
Another may use Firefox on a Mac, select curbside pickup, and want to receive an SMS notification when the item is ready to collect.
Whereas the next customer might begin their shopping journey on an Android device, find a discount on an Instagram ad, choose to collect in-store, and then use a chip-and-pin device when they arrive.
Each of these user journeys, although appearing simple for the customer, are complicated under the surface, so must be tested end-to-end to allow these transactions to be successfully completed.
Buying an item in-store the old-fashioned way is also more complex now that various integrated systems have a role to play. These interactions and the software of the POS platform need to be tested.
But every POS is slightly different depending on the make and model, and how the retailer intends to use it. Some might be based on-premise, others in the cloud. The graphical user interface (GUI) that employees interact with must function as expected to make the checkout process quick and straightforward. Connected peripheral devices, such as payment terminals, must work with credit cards, chip-and-pin, and mobile wallets. And then there are connections with barcode scanners, receipt printers, and gift cards that must be tested as well.
Underpinning all this are integrated business-critical operations, such as inventory management, accounting software, banking application programming interfaces (APIs), and customer relationship management systems (CRMs). Every single action, workflow, and process must be synchronized to complete a simple transaction, requiring even more testing.
But what’s this? A new feature, update, or upgrade needs to be implemented for your POS system, CRM, or website, changing your entire IT infrastructure configuration. Yep, you’ve guessed it, you need to perform more testing to maintain functionality. Across. Every. Single. Component.
Manual testing is a fool’s errand
POS systems and their integrations are complex, because of this you must implement automated testing. Not only automated, but it also needs to be intelligent and focus on these three areas:
1. Online experience and front-end software
Many customer journeys begin online and end with an interaction with a POS system. This could be via an integration with a website or mobile application or when a customer comes in-store to complete a transaction.
Customers use a raft of different devices, platforms, and browsers as well, just to make your testing that bit more challenging.
This means monitoring the customer experience from the user’s perspective is vital, no matter the technology used. Testing in this manner helps fix anything that impedes that customer journey, which can’t be identified by merely testing the code.
So, if a website pop-up obscures the “Add to cart” button, taking payment is glitchy on a mobile app, or a discount isn’t applied at checkout from a social media ad, you’re going to deliver a poor user experience.
2. In-store POS software testing and peripheral devices
When a customer arrives in-store and purchases an item, they expect it to be simple and quick. A straightforward process on the surface, but when you break it down for testing, things get a little more complicated.
Testing needs to consider scanning an item, the POS GUI touchscreen display, and then numerous payment devices and methods.
Trying to manually test every function, peripheral device, and payment process connected to the POS is a challenge due to the range of technologies, software, and hardware involved.
3. Back-end system integration testing
Every retailer is unique, but all have one thing in common — a technology stack that integrates, streamlines, and automates back-end systems and processes to deliver business intelligence and a seamless customer experience.
Due to the myriad of moving parts, intelligent end-to-end test automation is required to cope with numerous different codebases, configurations, and platforms and maintain functionality.
A typical tech stack for a retailer could include an ERP, inventory management, security architecture, payment processing, CRM, logistics, accounting, and probably much more.
Attempting to manually test every integration and workflow is a challenge too big for even the most accomplished testers. Especially when manual regression testing is necessary after every update, new feature release, and scheduled maintenance.
Accelerate and automate POS testing with Keysight
Keysight’s Eggplant test automation is one solution that can revolutionize your testing matrix. Using a model-based approach, driven by AI and machine learning, Keysight’s Eggplant test automation solution will revolutionize your testing matrix.
By monitoring the customer experience through the eyes of the user and intelligently automating testing for any technology, you release to the market faster, blowing your competitors out of the water.
If you want to know more, read our solution guide to discover how you can accelerate your POS testing and reduce testing for months to just days.