Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Todd Matters, Mark Leake, Stefana Muller

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Machine Learning , Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

Part 4 | Five Steps to Improve E-Commerce Performance for Increased Sales

What happens when your customers come to your e-commerce site

Our client TescaraHats (name changed for commercial reasons), a European market leader in manufacturing customized hats, set up an e-commerce site in hopes of increasing its market share and boost its sales. This did not happen. TescaraHats learned quickly that there is much more to e-commerce performance than simply putting an e-commerce service online.

In Parts 1-3 of our e-commerce performance mini-series we discussed why focusing on page rank is not enough and that we should look at your performance at the back end and potential network-related problems. In Part 4 we will see what happens when your customers come to your e-commerce site.

Does Your E-Commerce Scale?
When all the pieces of creating a successful e-commerce application finally harmonize, your site must be ready to take the load. Otherwise you will become a victim of your own success. Provided that your e-commerce presence is well built, you should not have problems with the steady growth of customers visiting your site.

Marketing campaigns will be a large factor in driving customers to the e-commerce site. In TescaraHats case, the company ran a promotion on a deal-of-the-day site and saw an increase of four times more users than a normal business day.

Figure 1: Alert risen when the operation time exceeded benchmark corridor

On that day, the Operations team got an alert from the APM tool that the operation time became extremely long and exceeded the baseline corridor (see Figure 1). After analyzing the situation the team decided to bounce one of the application servers and got the operation time back to normal again.

Figure 2: The operation time spikes up when number of users rise rapidly; this could be avoided with correct preparation

Figure 2 shows that on that day the operation time increased from 3.5 seconds (on average) to 5 seconds. This performance degradation and the disruptive action of restarting one of the application servers could have been avoided if the Operations team had taken a more pro-active approach to the upcoming deal-of-the-day marketing campaign and had prepared in advance for predictable increased load.

Focus on Your Users
In his report Nielsen points out that one of the problems with e-commerce is that there is no tactile experience: online shopping is mostly an information experience. This means that you should focus on best possible user experience to compensate for the customers inability to actually touch the merchandise.

One of the common problems e-commerce businesses face is to deliver superb user experience across all popular browsers. Ensuring that your site will look and work flawlessly on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer is a lot of effort. Not to mention you should now also take into account mobile (phone and tablet) and localized versions of your e-commerce platform.

Knowing the trade-off between the costs of ensuring high quality user experience with a specific browser, and the actual return on investment coming from that same browser is important. The problem is that the general demographics may not reflect the demographics of your customers. The APM tool should enable you to determine which users you should take care of initially. However, when you look at the distribution of users who actually make a transaction on your e-commerce site, make sure you also check the real user experience, especially of those users who buy the least. It is possible that these users are negatively affected by the current user experience, and therefore not buying. For example, maybe you have more purchases from Europe because your e-commerce site is virtually unusable elsewhere?

When TescaraHats analyzed distribution of web browsers used to make a purchase (see Figure 3) the team noticed that most of the buyers used Safari, which is not the most popular web browser in general. The team then compared these findings with the report in Figure 4 showing operation time charted across different web browsers. The members noticed that their most frequent customers were not receiving the best experience compared to users of certain versions of Firefox or Internet Explorer (MSIE).

Figure 3: Your user web browser demographics: Safari seems to be the most popular web browser

Figure 4: The operation time distribution per web browser: most popular Safari users do not get the best performance

Apart from managing the experience of your actual customers, even to the point of analyzing KPIs for a single user across his or her purchase session (see Figure 5), you should also make sure you constantly monitor for potential problems at the geographic locations bringing in most revenue There may be some problems of a local ISP affecting your business. This constant, synthetic monitoring can also be used to check the actual performance across different browsers regardless of any real users' impact, such as bandwidth, slow machines, etc.

Figure 5: Analyze the purchase session of your actual users to determine the pain points in the ordering process

Still No Booming Sales?
Your customers are now happy. You have ensured that your e-commerce can handle high load, the backend is tuned to top performance, the front end was rebuilt with usability in mind, including no heavy network load or HTTP errors. Do you think it is the end? Better also check your conversion rate. Stay tuned for our next post in the e-commerce performance mini-series where we will discuss how to do this.

More Stories By Sebastian Kruk

Sebastian Kruk is a Technical Product Strategist, Center of Excellence, at Compuware APM Business Unit.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann and Aruna Ravichandran have been named Co-Chairs of @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley which will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is at the intersection of technology and business-optimizing tools, organizations and processes to bring measurable improvements in productivity and profitability," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president, DevOps product and solutions marketing...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
For most organizations, the move to hybrid cloud is now a question of when, not if. Fully 82% of enterprises plan to have a hybrid cloud strategy this year, according to Infoholic Research. The worldwide hybrid cloud computing market is expected to grow about 34% annually over the next five years, reaching $241.13 billion by 2022. Companies are embracing hybrid cloud because of the many advantages it offers compared to relying on a single provider for all of their cloud needs. Hybrid offers bala...
A common misconception about the cloud is that one size fits all. Companies expecting to run all of their operations using one cloud solution or service must realize that doing so is akin to forcing the totality of their business functionality into a straightjacket. Unlocking the full potential of the cloud means embracing the multi-cloud future where businesses use their own cloud, and/or clouds from different vendors, to support separate functions or product groups. There is no single cloud so...
Containers, microservices and DevOps are all the rage lately. You can read about how great they are and how they’ll change your life and the industry everywhere. So naturally when we started a new company and were deciding how to architect our app, we went with microservices, containers and DevOps. About now you’re expecting a story of how everything went so smoothly, we’re now pushing out code ten times a day, but the reality is quite different.
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
If you cannot explicitly articulate how investing in a new technology, changing the approach or re-engineering the business process will help you achieve your customer-centric vision of the future in direct and measurable ways, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. At Intellyx, we spend a lot of time talking to technology vendors. In our conversations, we explore emerging new technologies that are either disrupting the way enterprise organizations work or that help enable those organizations to ...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
There's a lot to gain from cloud computing, but success requires a thoughtful and enterprise focused approach. Cloud computing decouples data and information from the infrastructure on which it lies. A process that is a LOT more involved than dragging some folders from your desktop to a shared drive. Cloud computing as a mission transformation activity, not a technological one. As an organization moves from local information hosting to the cloud, one of the most important challenges is addressi...
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
Companies have always been concerned that traditional enterprise software is slow and complex to install, often disrupting critical and time-sensitive operations during roll-out. With the growing need to integrate new digital technologies into the enterprise to transform business processes, this concern has become even more pressing. A 2016 Panorama Consulting Solutions study revealed that enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects took an average of 21 months to install, with 57 percent of t...
Microservices are increasingly used in the development world as developers work to create larger, more complex applications that are better developed and managed as a combination of smaller services that work cohesively together for larger, application-wide functionality. Tools such as Service Fabric are rising to meet the need to think about and build apps using a piece-by-piece methodology that is, frankly, less mind-boggling than considering the whole of the application at once. Today, we'll ...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
Hybrid IT is today’s reality, and while its implementation may seem daunting at times, more and more organizations are migrating to the cloud. In fact, according to SolarWinds 2017 IT Trends Index: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization 95 percent of organizations have migrated crucial applications to the cloud in the past year. As such, it’s in every IT professional’s best interest to know what to expect.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
In the decade following his article, cloud computing further cemented Carr’s perspective. Compute, storage, and network resources have become simple utilities, available at the proverbial turn of the faucet. The value they provide is immense, but the cloud playing field is amazingly level. Carr’s quote above presaged the cloud to a T. Today, however, we’re in the digital era. Mark Andreesen’s ‘software is eating the world’ prognostication is coming to pass, as enterprises realize they must be...
Colocation is a central pillar of modern enterprise infrastructure planning because it provides greater control, insight, and performance than managed platforms. In spite of the inexorable rise of the cloud, most businesses with extensive IT hardware requirements choose to host their infrastructure in colocation data centers. According to a recent IDC survey, more than half of the businesses questioned use colocation services, and the number is even higher among established businesses and busin...