Ecommerce stores keep the same hours as 7/11 – great for those of us that don’t feel like going out at 3 a.m. on Black Friday. But, being open to customers 24/7 means you’re open to glitches and bugs 24/7. Retailers need a digital experience monitoring solution.

Digital experience monitoring (DEM) enables companies to see how end users experience their website, detect problems, and resolve issues quickly. With DEM you can pinpoint the exact piece of infrastructure or content responsible for interruptions and improve mean time to resolve (MTTR) and mean time to identify (MTTI).

There’s more going on with ecommerce than meets the eye. Your site and customer experience depend on:

  • Domain name systems (DNS)
  • Content delivery networks (CDNs)
  • Internet backbones
  • Payment processing APIs
  • Social media plug-ins

All those parts make plenty of time and opportunity for an expensive mess if you’re not utilizing digital experience monitoring  correctly.

Check out this chart of your buyer’s journey, the tech involved, and potential problems.

retailers need digital experience monitoring example

In this post, we’re going to explore a few of these problems and how digital experience monitoring can help you prevent them.

Don’t let APIs muck up your transactions

Imagine you’re checking out at the grocery store. Suddenly, the cashier, the conveyor belt, all of it vanishes. Poof! You’re left standing there with half-a-week’s worth of groceries in your cart.

The last thing any ecommerce company wants is to lose a customer while that customer is in the midst of the buying process.

You can’t focus solely on single page load and response times.

Retailers need to understand what’s going on with their APIs, especially when it comes to mobile apps, which are full of API connections and requests.

Your site depends on third-party APIs for things like displaying products from a catalog and integrating shipping. When these get mucked up, you risk ruining your reputation with customers.

All of these API connections must be in working order for your customer to complete the checkout – otherwise, your register might as well vanish.

Understand what’s causing abandonment and prevent it

Now imagine you’re at that same grocery store – the register works great – but, you notice that the grocery store across the street is having a 50% off sale. You push your buggy aside and run into the other store.

Or maybe, the cashier takes your credit card, runs it, and there’s an error. He goes, “The credit card processing system is down, you gotta pay cash.”

You run next door because you don’t carry cash and you despise ATM fees. And, everyone in line behind you does the same thing.

Shopping cart abandonment may be the biggest challenge ecommerce vendors face. It could be due to a customer’s indecisiveness, competition, or a glitch somewhere in your infrastructure.

Without comprehensive monitoring, you’ll never know, and you’ll definitely never fix the true problem. Retailers need to understand what’s causing shopping cart abandonment and prevent it when possible.

Troubleshoot faster with digital experience monitoring

Typical ecommerce sites contain many moving parts. So, service disruptions are inevitable. With inevitable disruptions, your response to performance issues can make or break your revenue goals.

If our grocery clerk recognized that the credit card processor was down while you were still debating over which salsa to bring home, he could’ve called ahead to the credit card processing company and had the problem fixed before you were even in line to check out.

With DEM, you’re not guessing about which piece of your infrastructure is causing the problem. You can go straight to the source and resolve issues quickly. Pinpointing problems faster improves both MTTR and MTTI.

Why digital experience monitoring?

Modern ecommerce requires many moving parts, and you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping all of those parts functioning well.

DEM includes all the protocols and third parties that go into delivering a digital service like your ecommerce store – API, DNS, TCP. It’s about getting a picture of performance from the end user’s perspective so you can identify and resolve issues quickly.

Synthetic (or active) monitoring is a big part of DEM. It means monitoring all your protocols and third parties 24/7. This allows you to stay on top of complications and often start solving issues before they become bigger problems.

Let’s take a look at some of the parts of the infrastructure that synthetic monitoring covers:

Nodes

If you want the ability to measure performance from your users’ perspectives – make use of monitoring backbone internet nodes. Monitoring backbone and last mile nodes will allow you to follow the same path as your customers.

If you use digital experience monitoring effectively, you’ll improve store conversions, revenue, and improve your customers’ shopping experiences.

DNS

Domain name servers (DNS) resolve your web addresses into IP addresses. They aren’t perfect. Sometimes they crash, and without monitoring, your entire storefront may collapse. It’s vital that you monitor DNS resolution continuously so that you can switch to your secondary provider should anything go wrong.

CDN

As an online retailer, you aren’t bound to brick-and-mortar locations. You sell anywhere your customers are. The challenge is ensuring the page loads quickly for customers no matter where they’re located. You don’t want slow load times. Amazon’s load times slowing by 100ms decreased their sales by 1%.

One way to deliver faster pages is to deploy a CDN to deliver content close to where your customers are accessing your site from.

Monitoring your CDNs enables you to keep a close eye on PoPs and speed issues. Another benefit of monitoring your CDNs is that you can hold those providers accountable to their SLAs. If something’s not up to par, you’ll know about it and be able to enforce your agreements.

Digital experience monitoring best practices

  • Use synthetic monitoring and continuously test and monitor API calls. Make sure they are running correctly and supporting the ecommerce operations they’re responsible for.
  • Use synthetic monitoring to script and monitor customer transactions from start to finish. This way, you know where problems are occurring; whether on the site, third-party, or APIs.
  • Use real user monitoring (RUM) to monitor customer interactions with your site and pinpoint where visitors drop off during the checkout process. RUM will help you determine whether there’s a problem with your site or if customers don’t like your shipping costs, etc.
  • Continuously test your site using synthetic monitoring from different vantage points and analyze the results to identify problems immediately.
  • Set advanced alerts with dynamic thresholds with trend shifts (like a dramatic increase in response times) and baseline deviations. This way, you can detect and respond to performance issues before they impact users.

In conclusion

To win, keep your website and app available and fast. We’re not just talking about the homepage – but every step of the transaction process – from product search and selection to check-out and payment.

Stay aware of real customer journeys (RUM) and gain visibility into all potential causes of cart abandonment to determine whether abandonment is performance or process related

You can’t optimize what you don’t measure. Guesswork won’t improve your sales. You need to know which piece of your web infrastructure is responsible for any issue that arises.

To learn more about how you can improve the performance of your ecommerce store, take advantage of our Guided Test Drive.