How to Rev Up Your Business Performance During the Holiday Season

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, read what you can do to ensure your customers enjoy a seamless shopping experience.

Both buyers and businesses love Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The online retail demand however is not limited to just those two days. It often stretches from days prior to Black Friday and after Christmas.

This year, Forrester predicts that online holiday sales in the United States will reach $129 billion in 2017 – a 12% growth in holiday sales over 2016. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise, as consumers continue to spend more online due to the convenience, selection, and value.

As a result, online retailers understand the importance of delivering a seamless digital experience to their customers. But unfortunately, technical issues have plagued retailers during this peak season, likely costing them millions of dollars in sales.

For example, last year, Macy’s website went down the morning of Black Friday and was experiencing outages through the afternoon. As a result, most users were greeted with a “temporary shopping jam” message due to overflow shopping traffic.

The year before, Neiman Marcus and Target experienced similar issues.

With some of the biggest retailers struggling to maintain a seamless digital experience for their customers during the holiday season, many businesses are now asking themselves the following questions:

– How can you offer an improved digital experience while ensuring your website meets the sustained and peak demand the holiday season is bound to usher in?

– How do you know if those coupons you are offering will ultimately result in increased sales?

– How can you track user journeys to analyze in real-time what the impact on the business is and where are the drop-offs?

– How do you take all of the above and tie it back to a problem which may be related to your application or infrastructure to fix them in real-time?

The answers to these questions can be found with AppDynamics Business iQ. An earlier post explored how you can leverage AppDynamics Business iQ to analyze how application performance is impacting customer experience and business outcomes. Business iQ allows developers, ops leaders, and marketers and executives to share a common interface for reviewing the health and performance of the business in real-time.

For example, Nasdaq, uses Business iQ to understand usage trends of their applications. Dhisco, an online payment company, segments its largest hotel chain customers to measure critical metrics such as total bookings and room availability across its major customers. And apparel company, Carhartt, uses Business iQ to monitor its purchase funnels to quickly identify application performance issues and how they may be impacting conversion rates.

How Carhartt Leverages Business iQ on Cyber Monday

Below is an excerpt from a Carhartt Case Study.

Established more than 128 years ago, Carhartt created the first purpose-built bib overalls for railroad workers. John Hill, Carhartt’s chief information officer, says that as Carhartt expanded its global footprint, it was important for IT to deliver a core set of capabilities that could scale as needed to different regions, rather than having different infrastructures and different application capabilities for every market.

To help with their digital transformation, Carhartt enlisted AppDynamics for real-time performance monitoring. Carhartt’s IT team had been relying on an alerting system to identify issues in four on-premises environments. But the system didn’t meet the team’s need to react in real time to changes in applications or the market. And the information it provided didn’t overlap with business needs.

Hill knew it would take time to achieve end-to-end visibility across Carhartt’s entire ecosystem, but he also believed he could realize immediate value from AppDynamics by focusing on specific processes like ordering, inventory, and checkout.

Leading up to Cyber Monday 2016, the team built a dashboard that tracked sales velocity and response times. “We wanted to see what was happening in real time as orders were coming in and how the infrastructure was supporting those orders,” Hill says.

On Cyber Monday, the engineering team was settled into their war room to monitor the action, where they were later joined by members of the senior management team. It turned out Hill had sent out a link to the new dashboard to the leadership. For the first time, Carhartt’s executives could watch orders being placed and processed. “The president of the company joked that the Business iQ dashboard was addictive,” Hill says.

As business leaders looked on, the engineering team spotted an issue in the order processing system that could have had a direct impact on the day’s revenue. The issue was fixed in ten minutes. “Before deploying AppDynamics and Business iQ, we wouldn’t have known about the problem until customers started complaining to the help desk,” Hill says. “We were able to quickly readjust and resolve the problem without our customers knowing that a problem was starting to occur.”

In addition, Hill notes that the real-time capabilities of Business iQ changed the relationship IT had with their business colleagues. The biggest change for his team was the ability to be nimble and respond quickly to the business needs in a high pressure situation like Cyber Monday and create real impact for the business.

Read the full Carhartt Case Study to see AppDynamics BiQ enabled Carhartt to have a seamless Cyber Monday that registered more than a record million dollars in sales.

To learn more about AppDynamics, check out The AppPerformers, a compilation of 50 short case studies of how enterprises have leveraged AppDynamics to improve their application and business performance.

Harish Doddala

Harish Doddala

Harish Doddala is leading product growth and adoption initiatives of Business iQ at AppDynamics. He has over 10 years of Product Management and Software Engineering experience delivering results for AppDynamics/Cisco, VMware and Oracle. Harish is a Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, System Design and Management and has published in international speech and audio conferences. Harish has filed two patents: one for querying machine learning models and one to uncover root cause analysis.