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STUDY: SockShop enhances online experience

By Retail Technology | Friday May 31 2013

Dynamic user-journey monitoring improves speed and overall online journey to boost sales and multichannel offering for the specialist retailer of socks and hosiery

SockShophas been putting a spring in people’s step since 1983 by offering high-quality socks and tights to a loyal UK customer base.

With the aid of dynamic user-journey monitoring from provider SciVisum, SockShop has improved its online customer experience and achieved a 30% increase in the speed of journeys through the site.

The majority of SockShop’s expanding business is now generated through online sales since its acquisition by textile specialists, the Ruia Group, in 2006. As the company’s website has expanded, SockShop brought in web application testing specialist SciVisum to monitor and test the service and make sure that the website was always working with no breakages and to ensure customers would experience a constantly good service.

Meeting specific e-commerce need

Back in early 2011, Dan Fulton, head of search engine optimisation (SEO) at Sock Shop, who has overall responsibility for the website, wanted a system to help improve the customer experience of the website. He wanted peace of mind that customers were able to place orders without disruption 24 hours a day.

SockShop’s website has grown organically over the years. However, without an intelligent monitoring tool, Fulton lacked the vital information he needed to identify if, where and how shopping journeys were failing and had no way to confirm that the company was investing in the right areas.

“We decided to bring in a dedicated monitoring service to help further improve our customers’ experience of the website, to alert us quickly of any issues and to provide proof of any issues for use by our external development team,” he said.

Following a review of the market, SockShop selected SciVisum’s dynamic website monitoring service due, according to the provider, to its depth of information and transparent pricing.

Implementing the technology

SciVisum’s service was set up in a matter of days and was able to provide Fulton and his team with detailed insight into how the website was performing from the customers’ perspective.

Fulton said: “We particularly like how SciVisum delivers realistic data. It uses unique journeys each time, interacting with the website in the same way as our customers. The tests travel from page to page and function to function rather than assessing single pages or functions in isolation. If an issue is detected the frequency of tests is automatically increased to provide as much data as possible.”

Most recently SockShop undertook a major overhaul of the site. Fulton was able to share access to SciVisum’s data with external developers, who were able to use the information to first pinpoint areas for development and then re-test those areas to verify successful outcomes. The team’s endeavours resulted in an impressive 30% increase in the speed of journeys through the site.

“SciVisum is now part of the daily routine for me and our external developers,” continued Fulton. “The great thing about SciVisum is that it takes very little effort because it is always testing in the background, giving us peace of mind. If we receive an alert, we can all access the same information and rectify the issue almost immediately. This has generated a greater partnership approach to the website with a more productive and successful working relationship.”

Generating positive results

Fulton continued: “It’s clear that SciVisum and its support team have helped us to create a truly world-class website that puts customer service as the top priority. The enhancement in journey times has been a major secondary benefit that we’d not foreseen when we first selected it.”

The improved relationship with developers has also proved invaluable. Both organisations have saved a considerable amount of time and money that had previously been spent trying to diagnose and fix issues.

SciVisum’s data is now part of service level agreements (SLAs) with SockShop’s development and other external agencies. It is also used to help decision making by other SockShop departments, including the marketing team and the company’s managing director.

“Our managing director is understandably keen to ensure that customers are having the best possible website experience and he receives alerts if anything goes wrong,” explained Fulton. “SciVisum’s reports are available when needed, which means everyone in the company can base conversations both internally and externally on real data, and not just anecdotes.”

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