1. Technology & Innovation

Prioritize CX With No-Code Automated Software Testing

In today’s retail environment, few things kill a sale and the customer experience (CX) more than software glitches and 404 error pages. Consumers expect seamless, personalized, on-demand digital solutions. In fact, 86 percent of customers say they would leave a brand after as few as two poor experiences, according to one 2022 study.

The pressure is on for retailers to go above and beyond traditional service methods and integrate high-quality digital experiences. Despite this, 45 percent of U.S. software testers in retail and e-commerce think it’s acceptable to release software that hasn’t been properly tested, so long as it’s patched later, according to the 2022 Leapwork Risk Radar report.

Hard Lessons of Software Fail

As companies adopt and customize more and more software as part of their tech stack, the task becomes more complex and testing teams are struggling to maintain test coverage, faced with an ever-increasing backlog.

The ramifications of this technical debt are serious and far-reaching, with software outages causing serious downtime and hitting the company bottom line. More than three-quarters of the CEOs polled in the Risk Radar report said software failures have damaged their company sometime during the past five years.

There are plenty of real-life examples. Flawed software caused delays launching new car models for Volkswagen, leading to the dismissal of CEO Herbert Diess over the summer. And Facebook’s market cap value took a nose-dive in 2021, erasing billions after a software glitch disrupted commerce on its site globally. No matter the company size or market share, software failures have a negative impact on businesses and their bottom lines, especially in the following areas:

  • Subpar CX: Software bugs can create errors in an e-commerce site along any number of points in the customer journey, leading to a poor customer experience. According to PwC, “Even if people love your company or product, in the U.S. 59% will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience.”
  • Damage From Downtime: Every minute the e-commerce site, point-of-sale system or other critical software is down, the company loses revenue.
  • Supply Chain Issues: According to a recent survey by Gartner, three out of four executives said their company is suffering more frequent disruptions in the supply chain today than it did three years ago.

A Challenge and Solution

The challenge that leads companies to prioritize speed over efficacy in testing is twofold: a heavy reliance on manual testing and an inability to effectively scale automation solutions.

The 2021-22 World Quality Report from Capgemini, which is based on interviews with 1,750 senior IT managers, estimates that only 15 percent to 20 percent of tests are automated on average. That’s not significantly higher than in previous decades. In addition, less than half of those interviewed, only 46 percent, said they’re maximizing test automation. An even lower number, 44 percent, said they’re integrating tests as automatic quality gates in the CI/CD pipeline. These results correspond to results from the 2022 Leapwork Risk Radar Report, which found that only 43 percent of companies are using some form of testing automation. This is a lot of manual work to put on a QA team, particularly if the team is under-resourced. And manual testing performed by a bandwidth-stretched team often leads to human error.

For companies that are increasing their automation efforts, the challenge then evolves into integrating and scaling automation while maintaining human oversight. Many automation solutions tout ease of use, but still require a high degree of technical knowledge to operate. Testers end up spending their time managing the automation software itself. As a result, speed to market continues to lag and companies can find themselves back at square one: a bandwidth-strapped team struggling to maintain — let alone scale — a complex, code-heavy testing tool.

This process slows testing and makes effective quality assurance near impossible. Wouldn’t it be better if all non-technical stakeholders, not just coders, could confidently manage a software testing tool and actively contribute to the automation effort? It could democratize utility for testers and business users alike, effectively allowing individual stakeholders to test software and relieve the product release bottleneck.

By providing testers and everyday business users with a visual, no-code test automation platform that’s easy to use, automation can be adopted and scaled more effectively. Setting tests up in a flow-chart model with a point-and-click interface makes the process easy and intuitive for everyone, making automation scalable across teams and tech stacks. It’s still possible to set tests up using code, if that’s preferable, but it should no longer be relied upon as the primary means of automating tests.

Online retail and commerce is showing no signs of slowing down, and preventing issues such as software outages is a crucial element of delivering strong CX. Test automation has a vital role to play in minimizing the risk of major outages, and therefore reducing the potential of losing customers and sales due to poor CX.

Sune Engsig is vice president of product development at Leapwork, a no-code automation platform that enables testers and business users to quickly build, maintain and scale automation.

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