Kitbag is the trusted online and multi-channel retail partner for many of the leading brands within the sporting world including Manchester United, Manchester City, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Leicester Tigers, Formula 1, The Wimbledon Tennis Championships, The British Open, The Ryder Cup, The RFU, The ECB, UEFA, The FA and many more. Kitbag also operates the highly acclaimed Kitbag.com eCommerce site.
Using thinkTribes Monitor Portal Data
Day to day the portal is used by Kitbag staff to continually view the status of e-commerce operations. This is not only the Operations Team logging to check, or waiting for alerts on issues, as with many monitoring systems, though, the information is constantly visible to all members of the IT department.
Of course, it is expected now that IT and Operations in all mature eCommerce businesses will use a range of monitoring and performance measurement tools, but it is only in those well ahead of the curve that such data is being used in departmentally to improve communication and remove barriers between business and IT.
Working from, and understanding, the same data can make planning and prioritisation much more effective. Everyone involved can see how their personal and departmental responsibilities fit into the online strategy, and the impact on the bottom line.
Joe Doherty, Data Manager at Kitbag, provides this example of using data for collaboration:
“Our sales department have started to use the thinkTribe portal so they know when sites will be down for maintenance and upgrades, are aware of any current issues, and can use load testing results to be fully confident that sites have been comprehensively tested for handling the increased activitiy expected from campaigns. If there are any on-going problems on a given day plans can be put on hold until they are rectified. Management request monthly reporting tool to help understand our up/downtime.”
Valuable, customer-focussed numbers are used as part of key strategic decisions such as
discussion on future site improvements, customer experience and prioritisation and budgeting discussions.
The Benefit of Dynamic User Journeys
With Kitbag’s extremely complex eCommerce site that offers customers the ability to
customise products, there is really no such thing as the “basic product inventory”. This
means that the older style of “Static User Journey Monitoring” does not have the necessary
sophistication to comprehensively monitor performance.
Dynamic User Journeys are the next evolution of journey monitoring. In a dynamic user
journey the monitoring script behaves just like a real user, making random selections from all possible choices at each stage of the journey, the better to replicate real user behaviour and test the performance of all aspects of the site.
Monitoring this way was essential for Kitbag as Joe explains:
“This feature was a key factor in deciding to move to thinkTribe. Because of the very nature of our web site it was important that we were able to dynamically and randomly track our web pages and user journeys. Previously we were monitoring via static journeys – we had lots of problems we didn’t capture which resulted in hours or days of downtime in parts of our web sites.”
Using Software As A Managed Service
Kitbag represents many different sports brands and has some demanding performance SLAs. thinkTribe’s managed service approach to support helps to ensure that these are met.
“We rely heavily on thinkTribe’s systems as downtime means a loss in sales and damage to brand image for all our partners. Your support team consistently provide rapid reactive responses, as well as proactive support and have noticed issues before we have done ourselves.”
The thinkTribe Support Team has a close relationship with the Kitbag team, and is in regular communication with them, providing real-time notification of any significant degradation in responsiveness or availability, or any unusual performance patterns, along with diagnosis, analysis, advice and extensive investigation into root causes of more significant issues including recreating journeys manually to identify problems and providing screenshots and replayable samples.
Looking To The Future
Kitbag have recently added international/multilingual sites to the monitoring portfolio as their partners want to support their fan base throughout the globe. This means an increase in the number of sites, languages and structural complexity. As their web and mobile sites become more functionally complex and possible user actions become more varied, fluid and dynamic it is crucial for Kitbag that any monitoring tool can keep pace with the changes.
“A new Service Orientated Architecture is being implemented / redesigned a so that we’re able to develop distributed systems accessible throughout the world. thinkTribe will be a key partner in this as these systems will need to be monitored 24×7.”
– Joe Doherty, Data Manager, Kitbag.
24/7 Monitoring & Load Testing