With the innovative ideas and advancement in technologies, it has now become possible to achieve maximum using minimum efforts and that’s too in minimal time. The same may be visualized in the retail & the hospitality business through the implementation & usage of POS application.
What is meant by the term "POS testing"?
Abbreviated as POS, a point of sale is a software application which eases the task of financial transactions and other useful business operations all at one place in the field of retail & hospitality services in an efficient & effortless manner. It is an alternative to old and manual approach of cash registers, which comprises of multiple complex operations. It may be seen as a system or a device or a sort of computer, which involves integration with the multiple modules such as payment gateway solutions, inventory management, supply chain management, data ware house management, purchase, financial management, etc. to reduce the efforts, cost and time required to carry out multiple types of operations.
Hence, POS testing simply refers to the evaluation of a POS application or a system to ensure its acceptable level of quality in all essential domains such as reliability, security, recovery management, etc., so as to execute its operations, seamlessly without any interruption or breakdown.
What needs to be tested or the testing architecture of a POS System?
A POS system under test may be seen as three different components, which may be detailed as under:
- POS Terminal/Device: It consists of various functionalities and performance aspects pertaining to a POS terminal, such as functioning of a device and associated hardware like printer, barcode reader, check reader, scanner, etc. along with the various performances attributes.
- Local/Store Server: It comprises of valuable information and data (Business data, transactional data, etc.) of the POS terminals/devices and is internally and externally linked with the POS applications and enterprise level server. As such, it requires interface testing, Business Intelligence and Analytics testing, security testing, recovery testing, etc.
- Enterprise Server:It requires same set of testing activities as applicable to store server, i.e. interface testing, BI & analytic testing, security testing, recovery testing , etc.
Types of testing activities, to be executed in POS System
Testing of a POS system may be performed broadly at two different levels- Application level and Enterprise level and consequently requires following testing types:
- System Testing
- System Integration Testing
- Report Testing
- Payment Gateway Testing
- Performance Testing
- BI Testing
- Compliance Testing and many such testing forms.
How to Perform POS testing?
POS testing may be performed either manually or through the usage of automation tools. However, there are certain obstacles in the path of manual execution of the tests, which may be seen as under:
Manual testing challenges in POS Testing
- Multiple Configurations: It requires huge amount of time, cost and efforts to prepare and manually executing the test cases, covering each and every possible settings, configuration and scenarios, both valid and invalid so as to avoid any sort of problematic issues from customer’s point of view.
- Peripheral issues: It involves issues associated with the peripheral devices connected to a POS terminal such as scanner, barcode reader, printer, etc.
- Complex Interfaces: Due to involvement of numerous types of connections both internally and externally, a POS system inherits large amount of complexities.
- Test Environment set up & Maintenance: A POS system possess a good number of hardware/ peripheral devices, which may require huge space under the test environment. Further, it may not be possible to maintain and keep up to date all these devices, keeping in view, cost, time and efforts needed.
- Upgrades: With the continuous and quick advancement in the technologies, software needs to be upgraded.
- PCI Compliance:Consistently adhering to the PCI Compliance, which is a must requirement for all the organization, storing and process debit/credit card information for the security purpose.
If not manual then what next in POS Testing?
Automation may prove to be an effective alternative to the manual execution of tests over a POS system considering the benefits associated with it such as reduction in time and cost, increases coverage and consequently quality, customized report, bug tracking, etc. However, automation process may likely to be affected by certain complications or issues, which has been detailed below.
- Automating the peripheral devices, which requires necessary support of human being to operate them such as using scanner & barcode reader, swiping cards, etc?
- Customized user interface, which may not be recognized by the automation tools and Dynamic User interface and may get consistently affected by the changing business requirements and consequently requires changes and maintenance of automated regression test suite.
- Multiple types of configuration and interaction with various types of interfaces; both internal and external with various systems which may result into increment in the complexities. Further, keeping in account the involvement of multiple terminals, platforms, standards, hardware and software, it seems to be a tedious task to design and maintain test cases.
Still, with the proper and effective strategy and implementation along with the deployment of expertise automation personnel, the above stated hindrances may be nullify.
Test Case Scenarios of POS Testing
Here, we are presenting some of the possible scenarios, which may be considered for the purpose of designing the useful test cases.
- Verifying and Validating the card detail accepting functionality, by feeding valid and invalid input, like correct card number with valid expiry date or incorrect card number with invalid range and expiry date.
- Testing the compatibility of a POS application with its associated peripheral devices and hardware.
- Verifying and validating the encryption and decryption of entered card details.
- Processing the sale & financial transaction with and without printing the receipts.
- Quantity of time and speed in responding to and requesting a query.
- Examining the reports, stating credit/debit card details and transaction information along with any sort of changes occurred during the transaction process.
- Negative testing scenarios such as feeding incorrect pin number, CVV number.
In view of the above, it may be concluded that the working condition of a POS system directly affects the revenues and businesses, generated for an organization due to the direct interaction of the end customers with these terminals. Further, it involves much larger complexities and variant types of interfaces and devices. As such, it necessitates the need of in-depth testing of a POS system; covering its all aspects and domain by making use of a mixed blend of both automation and manual testing approach so as to avoid any sort of failure, hitting the whole process and subsequently affecting the concerned organization.