Crowdtesting is on the menu for food and drinks brands

Food and drinks brands are adapting to the current situation to accommodate their customers. In the past few weeks, restaurants and fast food chains have closed their doors and turned to digital channels to drive business. This has led to many brands switching their focus to home delivery and pickup with orders being made via an app. According to Melanie Smith, CEO of online delivery retailer Ocado, the company has seen around 10-times more demand for its services since the outbreak began.

Whether food and drinks brands are using their own or a third party’s digital channels to market, sell and deliver food to customers, software development and quality assurance (QA) testing must be compressed in order to speed up the time to market of new applications or features while ensuring they are ready for primetime.

We’re so accustomed to buying food online that we take the process for granted. That seamless online engagement is the result of careful and co-ordinated testing that is carried out before new software and updates are released. However, it’s difficult for brands to deliver quality software when their IT, software development and QA teams are scattered remotely, adapting to new working practices that they are not used to. Often, QA testing would be led by an in-house team working together in a lab environment, but that model is now unrealistic given the current circumstances.

Crowdsourced testing is a well-established practice among brands that rely on digital properties – everything from websites and mobile apps to voice assistants and internet of things (IoT) experiences – to reach consumers. In-house QA teams are limited in their ability to scale to test the digital shopping experience of a specific web or mobile application across all the different operating systems and devices. It’s important to remember that users aren’t always up-to-date with the newest iPhone or operating system, so brands have to test on older models and versions as well as the ‘ideal’ combination. The crowdsourced model – which leverages a community of testers using personally owned devices in real-world situations that mimic where and how customers would actually use the app – provides brands with the capability to scale exponentially and on an on-demand basis, so as to uncover any bugs or issues and capture valuable user feedback. Faced with co-ordinating QA projects in record time to meet unprecedented demand while working remotely has brought a whole new appreciation to crowdsourced testing.

It’s only natural that food and drinks brands would want to put their applications in the hands of real end users to get a real-world view of how the digital experiences are delivered. This is especially true in the current climate where any new software release is expected to be subject to high volumes of usage.

Using the crowdsourced model, food and drinks brands can replicate real-world scenarios that occur while customers are shopping digitally. The community is on hand to test every aspect of a service from customer registration to placing an order and making the final payment. It’s an end-to-end process that helps brands to improve the design of a user interface. This is a model that’s been adopted by countless brands over the years, including household names like Pizza Hut, Shake Shack and Starbucks. Thanks to the diligence of highly vetted testers, food and drinks brands can meet schedules and release new software.

Another major advantage for food and drinks brands looking to quickly diversify is the fact that testing can also take place outside of office hours, which cuts down project times and reduces costs. The consistency of delivery and the ability to scale is a huge ROI for brands during a period when time to market is key and customers expect nothing less than a flawless experience.