How APM Helped Create a Great Digital Experience

By Michael Aigner

E-commerce companies have a brief window of opportunity to capture and convert visitors into customers, so providing a fast, intuitive and engaging Website experience is essential. The nature of the Web means that customers can easily shop elsewhere if they’re made to wait, or if their experience is suboptimal in any way.

At Stilnest, we know this firsthand, so we’ve made digital performance and the delivery of exceptional customer experiences a priority.

Stilnest is a global, on-demand producer of gold, silver and polyamide jewelry that lets designers, bloggers and fashion-conscious people create their own jewelry collections and expand their brands. We provide the production, marketing, shipping and customer service elements, so the designer or blogger can focus on being creative. We also offer an in-house design team to support our partners in creating their collections.

Using three-dimensional printing technology, we’re able to rapidly adapt to fast-changing trends and create complex design structures that are impossible to handcraft. We focus on high-end, iconic and minimalist design, and use high-grade materials to ensure the quality and longevity of our pieces.

Many e-commerce companies face challenges, since their Websites are usually their primary sales channels. In fact, for a company like ours, it’s the only sales channel, which makes it even more important to nail the digital customer experience the first time he or she visits the site.

As a Web-only business using the Magento e-commerce platform hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), we want to ensure a great digital experience every time a customer engages online with us—whether it’s using rich content to entice shoppers or optimizing our site for mobile devices through responsive design. Since jewelry is in high demand, especially during peak shopping seasons such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, we must be prepared to handle surges in customer transactions while also keeping customers loyal for the long term.

APM Solution Contributes to Increased Conversion Rates

To accomplish these goals, we first evaluated the top application performance management (APM) solutions on the market. We selected Dynatrace to monitor all transactions and give us actionable insight into issues that affect response times and customer experiences. The results have been impressive, and have directly contributed to increased conversion rates and revenue.

Here are four examples of how we used APM to solve our site performance issues:

1. Resolved global bottlenecks previously unknown to us.

This was an issue we would not have been able to identify and solve without APM. The issue developed after we installed an extension in our Magento shop that resulted in the preprocessor executing on every Web request initiated to our servers. That added a couple of hundred milliseconds each time, slowing down PHP execution significantly. We used Dynatrace APM to identify and remove all the dependencies related to this compiler and immediately solved the problem.

2. Eliminated unnecessary third-party social media log-in calls.

This was another issue we could identify only by using sophisticated APM tools. Without our knowledge, our third-party Facebook social log-in caused server-side calls to external services we weren’t using, including Yahoo, Google and Twitter. We went into the code base to prevent these calls from being initiated, thereby saving time and resources.

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