Why you should consider monitoring your operations in real-time

Are you still considering whether or not deploying operational monitoring is worth it? This short article will help you decide whether a monitoring solution is the right fit for your business.

Operational monitoring is the umbrella term used for all solutions that specifically aim to help keep a close eye on the customer-facing KPIs of your e-commerce business (for example product views, clicks, add to carts, checkouts, and purchases).

It can be easy to conflate operational and technical or performance monitoring. The latter is the term used for solutions that monitor processes behind the scenes (for example uptime, hosting, infrastructure), so they should not be used synonymously. 

Ideally, your tech stack combines both operational and technical monitoring solutions so you have a 360 degree view of what is happening at the front- and backend of your webshop at all times. This will also allow you to react as quickly as possible in case something goes wrong, preventing the loss of valuable customers and revenue. Other advantages include:

  • catching issues before they impact other parts of the business
  • allowing your team and you to spend less time in dashboards, pro-actively looking for issues
  • having more peace of mind knowing your shop is being watched 24/7
  • avoiding reputation damage by catching issues that might not be store-breaking, but annoy a subset of your customer base

Despite the advantage of making your Customer Journey KPIs observable, many great e-commerce businesses do not have proper, real-time operational monitoring in place. More often than not, they rely on either a standard analytical tool, a custom dashboard tool, or a home-made solution. In some cases, we came across webshops that only performed a dedicated health check of their operational KPIs a few times a month. 

There are a few risks involved with these alternatives:

  • Analytics tools: often do not offer out of the box real-time monitoring. Looking at data with up to 24-hour delays can cause you to spot operational issues too late. 
  • Dashboard tools: needs constant supervision in order to spot issues in time, and is often complex to set up, configure notifications, and adapt to changes in seasonality. 
  • Home-made tools: while this might be the option that is most attuned to your business, it is the most labor- and time-intensive option as well. As your business grows, your home-grown solution will need more and more development time that comes with a high opportunity cost that a dedicated SaaS tool does not have. 

If you are on the fence about whether or not you should add or upgrade operational monitoring in your stack, here are a three questions you can ask yourself to determine whether or not it is the right move:

How long can you let issues stay hidden?

If you are generating significant sales per week, per hour, or per day, how long can you afford to let issues fester before you notice them? If the answer is 'as short as possible', then you might want to consider upping your operational monitoring game. 

At our CTO's former company, they calculated that only 1 in 26 e-commerce consumers actually report an issue they experience while shopping online. This implies that the other 25 either lose interest, rage-quit out of your store, or open a new tab to go shop at a competitor. 

In any case, it's revenue that is lost to you and can be saved if you are quick to react to operational issues that mess with your client-side KPIs. 

A lightweight operational monitoring solution, such as Revend, monitors, detects, and tracks potential operational issues and conversion rate stoppers in minutes, before they burn away your top line revenue, and can integrate with apps like Slack and Teams to alert you wherever you work. 

Do you have time to set up a complex solution?

There is a spectrum of excellent solutions like Dynatrace and Contentsquare that cater to a variety of monitoring needs. The catch is that hese solutions logically require a significant time investment to set up, command premium pricing, and require dedicated time from your team to operate. They require deep technical knowledge to set up and make sense of on a daily basis. 

If you are looking for a fully horizontal solution, these are the tools to add to your stack.  

If you are looking for a more turnkey and lightweight solution that is also understandable to non-technical users, like a smoke detector for e-commerce monitoring, then a solution like Revend might be more to your taste.

Revend is both fast and easy to implement. It offers a turnkey, strongly integrated, and e-commerce specific solution that can be set up under 5 minutes. After just 4 weeks of passively ingesting data, you will see notifications pop up in your messaging app of choice (currently Teams and Slack are supported) whenever operational deviations are detected. 

A solution like Revend, aside from being far more affordable, can also peacefully coexist with more heavy-hitting solutions. Customers have used Revend in combination with e.g. Dynatrace to provide an extra layer of alerting so that only high-priority issues get the attention from busy marketeers, IT personnel, and management. 

Can you easily get issues on top of the priority list from IT?

IT working harmoniously together with business is the best thing that can happen to any company. 

Even in this age of digitalisation, the difference in priorities, targets, and way of working are a balance that needs to be carefully maintained to make sure both IT and business feel understood, valued, and empowered. 

If your company has achieved this balance, we applaud you!

One of the most recurring challenges we found while researching Revend, is when e-commerce issues impact on the overlap of these two worlds. Some examples:

  • A marketeer spots a symptom, like a steep decrease in revenue, from cart increasing sharply, but can not find any changes to campaign performance to explain it. 
  • An e-commerce manager sees payments via credit card decrease disproportionately compared to other payment methods, but does not know how to fix the connection with the payment gateway herself. 
  • A co-founder notices his reporting is completely out of sync with reality, but can not point his finger to the exact issue without help of his colleagues in IT.

In these cases, two things are crucial to get right: evaluate priority (what is really important?), and provide context. 

In other words: when asking for help from IT, make sure it is a priority ànd that you have a clear description of the what, when, and where of the issue. In the absence of these parameters, you will quickly be labeled 'the boy who cried wolf', and it will become hard to get the help you need when it matters most. Nobody wants to lose their time on issues that turn out to be false positives, or spend the better half of a day trying to figure out where or when something happened in the first place. 

The right monitoring set up can go a long way in supporting this.

Revend's co-founders come from two different worlds (IT and business), so boosting alignment between your business and IT teams was a key principle from day one. Revend makes sure burning issues are isolated from the noise in a clear and easily readable format. Revend also provides very clear time stamps, revenue impact estimations, and tag identification, so IT colleagues have a lot to go on when checking out issues. 

Closing thoughts

Whether you choose to work with Revend or another set up, be sure to answer the questions above honestly and take action based on the answers. We guarantee you that both your bottom line and your customers will thank you for it in time. 

If you want any advice or help setting up operational monitoring, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Let’s see Revend in action!

Monitor, track, and analyse data faster than ever before so you never lose sleep over your webshop again.