When you operate the top online retailing sites in your region, it’s essential to maintain an edge that keeps your business ahead of the competition. That is the situation facing the MALL Group, founded in 2000 and now the leading e-retailer in Eastern Europe. Part of the MALL Group, Internet Mall runs several niche online sites, along with horizontal, country-specific sites on which it sells a full range of consumer goods that generate 70% of traffic and revenues. Across its e-retail sites, the company hosts about 15 million visits per month on average.
Like every other online retailer, Internet Mall knows shoppers expect their online experience to be on par with the ones delivered by the industry leaders that set the bar. For that reason, the e-retailer is hypervigilent about site performance. Internet Mall uses a synthetic monitoring tool to compare its performance to the competition, along with an in-house tool that measures point-in-time site performance. However, neither of these identify the cause of performance problems.
According to Michal Taborsky, CTO of Internet Mall, as the company saw more traffic from mobile devices, it knew it needed to ensure performance was on par with what shoppers experienced when visiting from their desktops. “Originally our site wasn’t optimized for mobile, so we expected a gap between mobile and desktop performance. However, the delta was too large. Knowing that performance impacts our main metrics of site visits, conversion rate, and average order value, we had to close that gap,” explains Taborsky.
Internet Mall needed to meet two key requirements to support its goal of remaining a top online shopping destination:
Opting for Rich Functionality
After evaluating a select list of Real User Measurement (RUM) solutions, Internet Mall chose Akamai mPulse because it satisfied the e-retailer’s key criteria. As Taborsky says, it was essential that the tool integrates with Google Tag Manager, since Internet Mall uses the tag manager to monitor critical metrics. He also liked the fact that mPulse enables rich segmentation on many technical criteria while also allowing the company to incorporate its own segmentation rules for different pages types and to filter according to its A/B tests. However, what most stood out was mPulse’s unique modeling feature that allows users to run what/if analysis about performance changes.
Making Discoveries with Superior Analytics
By copying and pasting code, Internet Mall was easily able to integrate mPulse with its main commerce sites. Very quickly, mPulse helped identify performance problems. One example was discovering that performance was sluggish for shoppers using a MacBook touchpad to scroll site pages.
Internet Mall relied heavily on mPulse during Black Friday 2017, it’s biggest revenue-generating day of the year. Everyone in operations and development gathered in one room to monitor site performance and identify issues in real time. "mPulse helped us find an infrastructure issue that would have significally impacted our revenues if it had gone undetected. We generate 3X or more our average revenues on Black Friday, so that was a huge discovery," explains Taborsky. With this insight, Internet Mall was able to take steps that prevented performance degradation as site traffic grew throughout the day.
Taking Advantage of Unique Modeling
Before mPulse, Internet Mall was not able to determine the performance impact of any site changes it was considering. According to Taborsky, the optimization team instead relied on published studies about the impact of performance on conversion rates. According to Taborsky, "It was hit or miss when we decided to make a change to optimize performance."
An advanced mPulse modeling technique indicates which page types to focus on to improve certain metrics. "Before, we paid lots of attention to our index page. However, mPulse showed that the index page doesn’t materially impact our revenues and also made it clear which pages we should focus on to drive higher revenues," continues Taborsky.
Optimizing Internal Efficiency and Site Performance
With mPulse, Internet Mall gained full visibility into the shopper experience and the ability to strategically prioritize its performance improvement efforts. In fact, the e-retailer has been so pleased with mPulse that it intends to use it across all its sites going forward.
"We were doing a reasonable job with performance optimization before, but mPulse helped raise awareness of performance and empowers our teams to focus their efforts based on data insights. Now we can efficiently and effectively improve performance for all site visitors," concludes Taborsky.
Since 2000, Internet Mall has been pioneering pure play Internet retailing in CEE. We believe the internet is the retail channel of the future. We invest heavily in logistics and customer services to deliver unparalleled fulfilment and best-in-class shopping experience.