female business owner

4 Stages of highly successful Omnichannel Retailing

With the era of smart devices and social media networks, shoppers are demanding a seamless customer experience and defining the retail industry on how it should be now? & how it will be in future. Today’s retail end customers are ahead of retailers in adopting and using mobile technologies. 75% of store shoppers use their mobile devices while shopping in stores*. So retailers are forced to make every effort to merge the digital and physical customer experience across all the available channels such as mobile, web, SMS, call center and social media.

 

 

The retail industry itself is transitioning from retail Inventory based selling to customer focused intelligent sales with a more streamlined shopping experience.This has opened the Pandora box for retailers in exploring and investing customer facing channels and realizing return on investments within a shorter time frame. Since multiple channels cannot operate on silos, it brings out a special and effective approach termed as Omnichannel. Omnichannel is a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a departmental store.

 

 

It distinguishes the innovators in retail with ordinary players because omnichannel customer experience is all about true integration between channels on the front and back end of the IT systems. The future of retail belongs to those who invest and implement omnichannel strategies efficiently and effectively. This whitepaper discusses the key aspects of omnichannel retailing and best practices in which it should be prioritized and implemented.


Future of Retail Omni channel Unique customer Engagement

Omnichannel if implemented correct can provide a number of benefits for retailers

 

  • Opportunity to deliver enhanced business operating models
  • Increased sales and improved RoI
  • Improved stock management and visibility
  • Seamless and unified customer experience across all channels.

 

Extremely eager to know how omnichannel retailing is evolving with big boys?Whether a retailer is just starting in the phenomenal path of omnichannel retailing or simply looking for ways to re-define the existing strategy, these examples should give you a better idea on how to do it right:


Story 1

 

Walmart has introduced an omnichannel strategy at Northwest Arkansas: A drivein pickup center for online grocery orders.

 

  • Cross channel integration between in-store and online – Re-defining omnichannel strategy
  • Build and optimize the performance of a store network that captures a larger share of spending &satisfying a broader range of shopping occasions for a large part of the population.
  • Adopt the strategy of following the trend towards the “click” enablement but the pickup center and delivery still need to be ruled by “In-store” operations.


Story 2

 

Crate & Barrely has identified that many shoppers have the habit of moving from web to smartphone to tablet before and after purchases. They have enabled an omnichannel value proposition – when customers are signed in, the C&B app saves their cart choices so they can access their details across multiple devices and browsers. This ensures the continuity during the shopping process.

They provide:

  • Seamless experience to shoppers using its wedding and gift registry
  • Unified omnichannel workflow for shoppers so that they can create and edit their registry, scan barcodes in the stores to add items, and view purchases made in real time.


Story 3

 

We can think of omnichannel leaders all the time that include Nordstrom, Wall greens and Cabela’s. But Macy’s has the edge over others and they are part of the elite pack in omnichannel retailing. Here’s why.
My Macy’s: Macy’s localized initiatives achieved strong performance and they target millennial shoppers as part of an “extreme growth” strategy.

 

Omnichannel fulfillment. This is the unique ability of Macy’s to fulfill online orders both from inventory at warehouses and from stores seamlessly.

 

Millennial strategy. Before the holiday season Macy’s launched 13 new millennial brands and expanded 11 existing ones. The brands are aimed at two demographics – ages 13 to 22 and 19 to 30 – that are perceived as being “trend focused” and more “target oriented” than other segments.

 

These examples are detrimental enough to showcase that the omnichannel is here to stay and the future retailing will not be e-commerce or click or mobile. It will simply be Omni-channel Retailing.


Stages of Omnichannel Retailing

The difference between customer experience and engagement defines the stages of omnichannel enablement and retailers should understand the mind share of customers before prioritizing the outreach channels. They always think towards how well they meet their customers’ engagement expectations because customers don’t buy from channels just because they exist. Customers purchase for value and experience thanks to the unrelenting emergence of new technology with the sky high expectations of anytime, anywhere and any device access with the brand.

Phase 1: Click and Mobile Enablement / Mobile Responsive

 

Adopting web and mobile strategies are part of the omnichannel enablement. Since smartphone shoppers represent 4 out of 5 smartphone users, it has become imperative for retailers to offere-commerce sites with mobile responsive and mobile apps across all the platforms. In a shorter sense, web and mobile enablement is more than a norm for retailers nowadays.


Phase 2: Streamline omnichannel fulfillment and unique customer experience

 

Once retailers tick the mandatory boxes of web and mobile, the greater emphasis should be on implementing the right technologies and platforms to sell from all channels and streamline the order fulfillment cycle right from order placement to delivery. Major retailers including Macy’s, Walmart and Target have employed these methods with great success and smaller retailers have to adopt these initiatives with the same mindset and culture.


Phase 3: Omnichannel Analytics

 

Retailers definitely want to reap the benefits of omnichannel by serving their customers better. But where will they start? How will they do without proper analytics and integrated tools to gauge the customer’s mind share effectively? Analytics is the best of the lot to drive decisions to create a complete, enable a personalized dialogue across all marketing touch-points and measure results in real-time across channels.

Phase 4: Internet of Things & Innovation

 

“Today “is not just another day for Retailers because if they miss out today, then there won’t be any tomorrow for them. It is just not about consistency and meaningful relationship with the customer but constant innovation that drives the customer relationship management strategies to the next level. Google has kick started the innovation race with in-app and tap-to-pay purchases to cope up with increased penetration of smartphones, advances in technology, and frequent releases in IoT ( Internet of Things) products. Retailers should be ahead in the innovation cycle to provide a streamlined hassle free shopping experience and continuous engagement with the brand.


Conclusion

Every 50 years or so, retailing undergoes this kind of disruption. With the increased shoppers awareness and tech-savvy mindset, retailers go through transformation every year. As the retail space evolves, digital retailing is quickly changed into a new name: omnichannel retailing. The name reflects the fact that retailers will be able to interact with customers through countless channels websites, physical stores, kiosks, direct mail and catalogs, call centers, social media, mobile devices, gaming apps, televisions and more. Unless conventional retailers adopt an entirely new perspective—one that allows them to integrate disparate channels into a seamless and unique omnichannel experience by adopting the 4 stages of omnichannel retailing they are likely to be swept away by the fiercely competitive retail space.


frameworks

Micro-services Implementation – Benefits & Challenges

While implementation of DevOps practices has been on the rise lately, a slightly lesser-known concept has also been gaining popularity – microservices. The idea behind microservice architecture is to build your application as many independent services rather than one large code base. The primary practices associated with microservices include containerization, continuous integration, DevOps, automated integration testing, and – in many cases – Agile development methodology.

 

When implemented properly in combination with these best practices, implementation of microservices can deliver many benefits to your project’s application, including:

  • Easier deployment process

 

When deploying updates to a feature, the entire application need not be re-deployed – just the service that you want to be updated.

  • Use of varied programming languages and technology stacks

     

 

Microservices give you the ability to use different technology stacks across your microservices – want to use Java and Scala? Go for it! Additionally, this makes it much easier to migrate to different technology stacks than with a monolith application.

  • Better failure detection

     

 

With microservices, it is easier to monitor and detect when one of your services has an issue. Of course, this requires that the right software is in place to monitor said services.

  • Enhanced continuous integration and deployment

     

 

Spreading your application across many different code repositories makes it easier for developers to constantly push changes to their microservices, and makes for easier automation testing.


Challenges with implementing microservice architecture

 

Of course, all the benefits of microservices do come with some caveats.

  • Additional Staffing Needs

 

Although microservices have the benefit of being able to reach into a more diverse talent pool of developers, there are additional roles that need to be filled. The added layer of complexity of utilizing microservices in coordination with Continuous Integration requires some serious DevOps talent.

  • Added project complexity

 

There is also a great deal of cross-team coordination required to ensure that redundant services are not being built, while also making sure that data formats are consistently maintained while communicated across the services. This issue is particularly challenging to address, since teams working on isolated code repositories often will have limited knowledge of the other services being developed, especially with larger applications. One way to overcome this challenge is to divide the workload into small vertical slices, and have teams gain exposure to different pieces of the application over time. This approach does require programmers that can develop the full stack – both frontend and backend.


Is the microservice architecture right for your environment?

 

 

The implementation of micro services is challenging. But many would agree that the benefits outweigh the additional cost and application complexity. At the very least, if you’re starting a new Big Data initiative it would be worth your time to consider analyzing it as a viable option.

 

Why Expedux?

 

Expedux Technologies is a technology solution and framework driven software development firm serving as a trusted technology partner for our customers. We work with some of the world’s most innovative startups, independent software vendors, e-commerce vendors and digital marketing platform and services organizations by helping them achieve one goal – Faster Time to Market.  Expedux’s innovative 60 DAYS RAPID DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK & TEST AUTOMATION IN 15 MINUTES FRAMEWORK help organizations across all stages of software development lifecycle right from new product and platform conceptualization, development and testing and enable them to go to market faster and better.


application form

Test Automation doesn’t remove the need for Manual Testing

A lot of manual tests have been automated, and some say that the manual testing and the other testing modes are no longer valid. But experts believe that automated testing can make QA/traditional testing methodologies even more important.  QA is still essential, as is human intervention in some cases, to ensure a quality product is deployed.  QA engineers need to be involved in the build pipeline and consult on quality across the entire project lifecycle.


Reason 1: Testing is as only as good as the test

 

Automation does make some aspects of QA easier, but if the test itself isn’t up to snuff, it won’t provide the desired result. Fully automated QA may result in perfectly accurate yet completely unusable software that doesn’t meet any business needs. Any automation in DevOps needs to be validated for usability to meet the needs of humans.

Reason 2: QA may become more important

 

Because of automation, more QA work will move to the front end of the software development lifecycle, and CI tools will be made more important for testing. As confidence in CI and automation increases, there is a very likely scenario of organizations using Continuous Delivery for parts of their applications, although it still is not something that is completely reliable. However, the QA role may become more important in technical communities as automation takes over manual test cycles.

QA automated tests can prove whether known paths still work or identify new features or code that might have introduced issues.  However, it still takes human creativity and ingenuity to explore those paths, and then write automated tests against expected outputs. Companies must continue to employee QA teams, and they need to invest in training and software licenses for the automation platforms, but the benefit is still there.


Conclusion

 

Ultimately, automation isn’t a bad thing – it saves time and helps focus efforts on more human-intensive processes while removing the low-hanging fruit. It makes QA testing easier for routine tests. But it does need to be taken with a grain of salt to ensure that accurate, useless software isn’t being deployed.


cash machine-ATM

Mobile QA Automation Tools – Robotium, Appium and Calabash – Comparative Study

There are a lot of tools available for mobile application automated testing. In this blog post, we will try to compare among three of them – Robotium, Calabash, and Appium.  Let’s look at them individually and find out what are their capabilities concerning a set of parameters.


Robotium

 

Robotium supports both native and hybrid app through its Android test automation framework. It provides the test case developers an easier way to write functional, system and acceptance test scenarios, with minimal knowledge of the application under test in minimum time. The framework can handle multiple Android activities automatically and can integrate smoothly with Maven or Ant for continuous integration.  The test case execution is fast and more robust.

Advantages:

 

  • You can develop robust test cases, with minimal knowledge of the application under test.
  • The framework handles multiple Android activities automatically.
  • Minimal time needed to write solid test cases.
  • Readability of test cases is significantly improved, compared to standard instrumentation tests.
  • Blazing fast test case execution

Limitations:

  • No support for flash & web applications
  • Test execution on one device at a time
  • No support for cross-platform testing


Appium

 

Appium provides an API based on Selenium’s WebDriver JSON wire protocol and supports platforms like Android, iOS, and FirefoxOS. Since the standard automation APIs work on all the platforms, there is no need to recompile the app. Also, we can use any WebDriver compatible language like PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, C#, etc. to write the tests.  It provides a true cross-platform mobile automation.

 

Advantages:

 

  • Appium is Open Source(Free)
  • Appium Supports many languages (Ruby, Python, Java, JavaScript, PHP, C#)
  • Appium supports automation of hybrid, native and mobile web applications.
  • Appium is Cross Platform.
  • Appium supports multiple platforms:
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Windows

 

Limitations:

 

  • Appium directly supports android version 17 and later, but is not compatible with Android versions older than 17.
  • Users cannot locate images with Appium. They had to work with screen coordinates.


Calabash

 

Calabash is a free open source project which can help you run tests on iOS, Android, and Simulator. It consists of two libraries – Calabash android and Calabash iOS, which helps in writing tests in domain specific languages. They enable test code to interact with the apps, wherein each of these interactions consists of some end-user actions like gestures, assertions or screenshots. You can even check the HTML 5 part of the application using the cucumber interface.

Advantages:

 

  • Calabash is available for Android and iOS platforms.
  • Calabash uses Gherkin Syntax (Cucumber style)
  • It is updated quite frequently.
  • It supports testing on the real devices.

 

Limitations:

 

  • Non-availability of an IDE or an Editor.
  • It supports only Ruby language.
  • You don’t get much online support.

Tool comparison:

 

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How to pick the best Automation Tool

 

  • Identify the tests that need to be automated
  • Research and analyze the automation products that meet your automation needs
  • Do a pilot for two best tools as per your requirements and budget.
  • Based on the requirements, select the most suitable one or more tools
  • Discuss the chosen automation tools with other stakeholders, explain the choice, and get their approval
  • Proceed to test automation