How Observability Helps Retailers Ensure Digital Storefronts are Always Open

Ecommerce is a 365-day business, and websites have to be up and running 24/7 — especially on peak traffic days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Customers expect optimal shopping experiences and will effortlessly take their business elsewhere when they’re disappointed. Today’s consumers have come to expect fast-loading and glitch-free digital storefronts, which means IT teams must stand at the ready in the event of any outage or customer-facing issue.

As retailers stare down an economic downturn, decision makers must prioritize digital experience. That means investing in tools that keep existing customers around and accelerate innovation to attract new ones. In order for retailers to keep their digital storefront open and their customers engaged, companies need to invest in observability tools that give them complete visibility into their software. Observability tools proactively collect and visualize data, then apply intelligence so businesses not only understand the behavior of their IT ecosystems but can also detect issues immediately and quickly solve them.

Here are three ways ecommerce companies can harness the capabilities of observability to deliver the best digital shopping experience to their customers.

Identify Your Customer Data Flaws

By integrating observability into ecommerce software, companies can quickly understand what to fix and how to fix it. By merging telemetry data — data that is collected and communicated to a remote location — across all systems, organizations can eliminate blind spots and monitor the system as a whole.


Many retailers have already reaped these benefits for their business. According to New Relic’s 2022 Observability Forecast, 57% of respondents from the retail industry viewed observability as a key enabler for achieving core business goals. Retailers that haven’t adopted an observability strategy are operating at a competitive disadvantage.

Instantly gratifying omnichannel experiences across any device at any time are now the expectation rather than the exception. Shoppers want what they want, when and where they want it. If they don’t get it, they’ll bounce. Observability helps IT teams perfect the online buying journey across web and mobile apps to keep those shoppers on your site.

Develop a Single Source of Truth

If a website takes more than six seconds to load, one in two shoppers will abandon their shopping carts. Slow load times — or worse, outages — are a nightmare for brands that work so hard to build strong connections with customers. Implementing full-stack observability helps engineers learn a system’s pain points so they can improve load times and prevent costly downtime.

For example, one internationally recognized brewer decided to invest in observability tools to better facilitate the delivery of new products. When the company experienced an outage, those tools made it possible for the IT team to resolve the issue over a single weekend. While outages are inevitable — more than half of businesses have outages up to once a week — observability helps minimize the impact outages can have on businesses. By employing observability tools, the brewer has seen its mean time to resolution for incidents like outages drop by 80%.

Get in the Mind of the Shopper

When monitoring the activity of shoppers in real time is not enough, ecommerce companies can simulate shopper interactions through dashboards and stay up to date on performance and customer satisfaction. Simulations ensure that digital customer features such as account creation or payment perform well and allow retailers to mimic the activity of shoppers. Companies can prepare for major shopping events like Memorial Day weekend by establishing alerts that mimic customer activity — surfacing issues that may arise as a result of a massive spike in shoppers. Failing to set up these simulations exposes businesses to risks impacting shoppers in real time and losing critical revenue.

Digital transformation is accelerating ecommerce at a rapid pace. For many retailers, implementing tech tools may appear daunting, but in today’s competitive digital landscape, observability should be viewed as necessary. Businesses will fail if they can’t maintain reliable online performance, retain customers and enhance the digital shopping experience. With these observability tools, retailers can give customers a reason to come back with an experience that’s fast, functional and always available.

Peter Pezaris is New Relic’s Chief Design and Strategy Officer, leading the user experience vision and design. Prior to New Relic, Pezaris was the Founder and CEO of CodeStream, a service that helps development teams discuss, review and understand code. Prior that he was Founder and CEO of Glip, a team collaboration platform acquired by RingCentral in 2015, and, a social commerce platform acquired by Naspers in 2010. He also founded, one of the first online fantasy sports platforms, which was acquired by CBS in 1999. A seasoned entrepreneur and tech executive, Pezaris is a recognized expert in the collaboration and social networking space, pioneering several of today’s most commonly used features in real-time messaging.

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