Boden, the UK online fashion retailer, relies on SciVisum's website testing and user journey monitoring to ensure the best possible service for customers who interact with its six websites.
Boden's internet business delivers 90 per cent of sales to the company and drives the shipment of 12,500 parcels on average per day from its UK warehouse in Leicester. The websites serve customers in the UK, US, Germany, Austria and France alongside a new Eurozone website that caters for those purchasing in Euros.
David Petronzio, Head of Development at Boden, heads up sixteen developers who build the websites and the key applications that support the business such as a product management system and the company's fulfilment system.
"To give us greater control and flexibility, we build the majority of our software," explains David. "Since we write all the programs, we can diagnose and fix issues far more quickly than if we worked with third party suppliers. Having this level of control is a key advantage as our internet business expands."
The continuous nature of the websites requires Boden to test all the websites and supporting infrastructures 24/7 to ensure that they are working properly. This is particularly critical during Boden's twice yearly end of season sales for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections.
"The sales attract very high volumes of visitors," adds David. "We used to find these sales extremely challenging. Today, whilst it still requires a great deal of effort, our comprehensive systems and checklists ensure the sales run smoothly."
Although Boden builds most of its applications, it uses SciVisum to test how its customers are experiencing its web services.
As Lalit Mandalia, Head of Technical Services, responsible for the smooth running of Boden's IT infrastructure and networks, explains: ""SciVisum's user journeys help us to ensure that the websites operate at full capacity alongside all connected systems. There's no other way to check how the customer is experiencing our sites other than via SciVisum – it's simply not feasible for us to check the sites all day, every day. SciVisum works 24/7 so we don't have to - we can then react when it raises an alert."
SciVisum acts just like a real customer with its journeys running through the websites continuously. They cover the main steps a customer might go through such as selecting items of clothing, choosing sizes and colours, adding to basket and then progressing to payment. The journeys change every time, just like a real customer. If there is an issue at any point, SciVisum picks it up.
Lalit continues, "We issue new software updates for the websites and associated systems every couple of weeks. When we push out a new release, we monitor SciVisum and our other monitoring tools very closely. SciVisum is our number one place to look to ensure the websites are OK."
On a recent update, Boden experienced an intermittent problem that SciVisum detected relating to the 'catalogue request' functionality. Whilst Boden believes the subtle issue was unlikely to be off-putting to most customers, they were able to drill down into SciVisum's reports, recreate the scenario and then fix it - and thus prevent future bigger problems, should this issue compound with future code changes to trigger real trouble.
"I have SciVisum on my desktop and it is also on a big display in the office," David continues. "When all the journeys are green, I can effectively forget about it. But when a journey goes red we all take notice. Better still, SciVisum jumps too and notifies us to check that we are aware of it."
Boden recently started to use SciVisum's historical views to compare website performance before and after a new software update. "This really helps us to track improvements," adds David. "We can calculate any changes in journey times, one of our key measures of performance."
David confirms: "The SciVisum system is very impressive. But I'm equally impressed by the level of service from the SciVisum team. They are totally flexible - if I need something changed, it is done quickly. They understand what we at Boden mean by 'good customer service' which is all about not being difficult and not being overly procedural."