Bluefly.com invests in customer satisfaction

Online retailer pulls out the stops to prevent technical issues on website

Retailers understand now, more than ever, if an e-commerce site experiences technical problems, online shoppers could easily make a purchase elsewhere. In response, companies are upping their game to detect and quickly fix web issues to keep shoppers satisfied and also bring in sales.

For example, online retailer New York City-based Bluefly.com once had an undetected outage on its site for 10 hours where customers could not add items to their shopping carts. The problem caused a big loss in revenue.

“We had to ensure that something like that would never happen again,” said Matt Raines, VP technology for Bluefly. “Since we are an online-only business, if our site is experiencing a technical problem and customers cannot add to cart or checkout -- we might as well have a “closed for business’ message on our homepage.”

As a result, Bluefly sought a customer experience management solution to prevent issues such as this from occurring.

“It doesn’t matter if people can still browse products,” Raines said. “If the most critical part of our site is down and the customer cannot transact, it makes no difference if every other part of the site is working. That is what led us to Tealeaf.”

Bluefly turned to San Francisco-based Tealeaf’s customer experience management platform in 2006 and the solution was up and running within a week. Tealeaf provides real-time customer behavior analysis for web businesses focused on optimizing the online channel. It also measures site experience in real-time by identifying patterns of behavior that signify customer struggle and helps businesses fix them fast.

Soon after implementation, the company detected an issue with its Bill Me Later application page. However, after it was fixed, Bluefly experienced a 43% increase in purchases using Bill Me Later.

In another instance, the merchant was alerted to an issue with its international guest checkout workflow that was preventing customers from checking out.

“Once we identified the problem and isolated the issue, we increased gross revenue by 10% in the 30 days following, which on an annualized basis is about $1.1 million in additional sales,” Raines explained.

Overall, the solution allowed the company to focus on the issues that were most pervasive and affected the largest number of customers.

Tealeaf recently released Tealeaf 8 in April with updated capabilities to optimize websites. Moving forward with the latest edition of the solution, Bluefly is developing a way to alert its customer service team when a shopper fails to checkout so they can contact them as soon as the customer’s session ends.

“We are also researching how we can leverage Tealeaf to improve our fraud detection capabilities,” Raines added.

In addition to making sure the site runs smoothly, Bluefly is also reaching out to customers in fun and innovative ways to keep them engaged with the brand. The company has been blogging for a few years and is now tweeting on a regular basis. It also maintains a Facebook page.

“Like many retailers, we are experimenting with all different forms of social networking to reach our customer base where they are online and empower them to share their experiences with their friends,” Raines said. “We hope to do more of this in the future as well.”

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