How to Survive Black Friday in a Whole New Digital Reality
It’s without a doubt that 2020 has shaken each and every business. Organizations that were partially or not digital at all transformed almost overnight and became more digital. However, that’s not sufficient to remain a leader and retain high business outcomes.
Facing a New Digital Reality
The majority of leading retailers already announced that their physical stores will be closed in the holiday season and during black Friday. This decision puts even greater challenges on these brands to ensure that their online services are fully accessible 24/7, globally, across web and mobile, and in varying network conditions.
Some retailers are reporting “Black Friday” levels of demand on a daily basis since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, this festive time of year is an important reminder for all of us buying or selling online.
As in every holiday season, the stakes are high, and whoever fails to meet the high demand simply faces huge business hits and negative brand awareness.
With recent innovation flooding the digital industry, there are high expectations for brands to deliver. Technology is at the disposal of retailers, including 5G networks, progressive web apps, innovative mobile apps such as APKs and App Clips, responsive web, smart mobile devices, and advanced sensor abilities such as cameras with AR, voice assistants, and digital bots.
It is now a matter of solid processes, continuous testing, monitoring, and being as close as possible to the customers’ real time UX.
How to Survive the Digital Retail Quality Aspect
Enterprise retailers have the opportunity to shine in the 2020 holiday shopping season. To do so, there are few imperatives that must be in place.
Continuous Testing and Stable Test Automation
At the core of any successful software is high quality achieved through continuous testing. This translates itself into a high degree of stable test automation across platforms and environments. Key business transactions must be tested, with proper feedback and consistent results so the MTTR (mean time to resolution) is as minimal as possible.
Keep in mind that each vertical and market segment bring its own unique features and functionalities. Retail has unique flows and user journeys that must be well covered and tested — e.g. buying through the Apple/Google wallet, using the camera AR to virtualize an item prior to buying it in a specific location, mobile geo location specific offerings and alerts, etc.
Teams must decide:
- What to automate.
- What to include in the pipeline.
- What to exclude over time.
- What tests are of highest value.
- Who should automate what using which test automation framework.
These are all keys for success. Once these are clear to test managers and developers, parallel testing and high scalability comes into play, and value/velocity can be obtained.
Achieve Proper Test Coverage By Staying Close to Target Markets
Digital means a lot, but first and foremost, it means a huge number of permutations of mobile platforms and browsers/OS versions. Users should be able to complete a transaction across any of the available desktop browsers and operating systems, and from any mobile smartphone or tablets, including foldable phones. Here, retailers and the business must follow the market trends and provide the guidelines on which platforms to test pre-production, in production, and within the dev process.
Digital Means Unlimited Variance of Customers
After making the point on digital platform coverage and test scenario coverage, it is also important to cover the end-user complexities. The end users that are going to purchase online throughout the holiday season come from different locations, covering different traits like accessibility constrains, language preferences, old and legacy platforms, and more.
Organizations must acknowledge the additional gaps added to their customer profiles, and test accordingly. Here, accessibility, API, load and single user performance testing, network virtualization scenarios, and many more must be baked into the test plans and properly considered.
Validate and Calibrate Your Products
To stay competitive in the current digital reality, innovation must be top of mind. Hence, new features that support these objectives should be seriously considered. The recent APKs and App Clipsmobile abilities enable developers to gradually expose a subset of new features, perform A/B production rollouts of features, deploy features only to specific devices and geographies, and much more.
Developers should leverage these innovations and more to gain market lead and grow their business results.
This new digital reality is a given. We are into this for nearly a year and while we see the light at the end of the tunnel, this reality will accompany us in the close future. This poses both risks and opportunities for business to improve, shine, optimize, and excel. The difference between a successful digital business and a failure can be a matter of any of the above-mentioned pitfalls that are not properly met.
Keep the above recommendations in mind. Stay safe, and shop wisely!