Business challenge

To avoid customers defecting to born-on-the-web competitors, this retailer wanted to capture every digital sales opportunity—but identifying sticking points in mobile journeys was a tough challenge.


The retailer uses real-time customer experience analytics to identify the cost and underlying cause of issues that lead customers to abandon their mobile purchases, and take fast action to solve them.



sales saved by solving a PayPal issue at the checkout


sales saved by solving coupon error at the checkout


sales saved in total by resolving mobile experience issues

Business challenge story

Capturing a greater share of the digital market

Mobile continues to grow, and born-digital retailers have set the bar high when it comes to the customer experience. Today’s consumers expect a seamless journey from browsing to buying on any connected device—and interruptions increase the risk that visitors will abandon their baskets.

As consumers increasingly prefer to do their shopping online, it’s essential for well-established retailers to compete effectively in the digital space. To avoid losing valuable sales to competitors, this leading retailer wanted to ensure that it delivered an outstanding experience to every digital visitor.

A spokesperson explains: “Pressure on discretionary incomes across the US makes it more important than ever to nurture customer loyalty. To protect our margins and drive our profitability, we aim to increase share of wallet and boost digital sales as a proportion of overall revenues.

“Every year, we see larger numbers of digital customers using our mobile site to shop our catalog. We knew that the mobile channel was a valuable opportunity to capture incremental sales, but only if we could offer a frictionless checkout journey.”

In the past, the retailer faced a tough challenge in identifying technical issues that prevented customers from completing their purchases.

“Previously, if one of our product or contact center teams discovered a technical issue with the checkout process, they would open a production incident—but that was often as far as it went,” continues the spokesperson. “Because we had no way to recreate the circumstances that produced the issue, it could take weeks before we discovered and repaired the root cause. Meanwhile, we knew we were missing out on substantial sales—but it was practically impossible to quantify the dollar value.

“We wanted a way to identify sticking points quickly, understand their impact on conversion, and remediate the most significant issues in a timely manner.”

If you create a smooth digital journey, you keep people coming back for more—and our real-time customer experience insights are helping us to achieve exactly that.

Spokesperson, leading retailer

Transformation story

Pinpointing sticking points on the mobile channel

To solve the challenge, the retailer shaped a real-time approach to customer experience analytics. Today, the company uses business logic to monitor its digital sites for potential issues, and highlight them automatically for swift remediation.

“In the past, it was extremely difficult even to pinpoint the cause of an issue, let alone answer questions such as: ‘How many visitors does this issue affect every week?’, and: ‘What is the impact of this issue on conversion rates?’” says the spokesperson.

“We now monitor our online and mobile sites constantly, which gives us a granular view of the health of our checkout processes. We can detect and rank every issue based on its estimated dollar impact on our conversion rates.

“Better still, we can use the solution to replay the journeys of customers who experienced the issue first-hand, which helps us to quickly discover the cause of the problem and the amount of time required to repair it. Based on this data, we can immediately fix the low-hanging fruit, and build business cases for the investment required to remediate the more complex issues.”

By embracing this new way of working, the retailer is shifting from a reactive to a proactive workflow, enabling it to get hot on the heels of even the nimblest born-on-the-web competitors.

“We use agile methodologies to develop our e-commerce sites, and access to real-time data helps our technical team push hot fixes to some issues into production almost immediately,” adds the spokesperson. “In fact, more than 100 employees from across the business now use the insights almost every day—including personnel from our marketing, product, contact center and even fraud teams.”

Results story

Delighting customers with seamless journeys

With real-time analytics delivering deep, actionable insights into the digital customer experience, this leading retailer is achieving its goal of turning more visitors into satisfied customers.

“If we find a digital experience issue, we can quantify it,” says the spokesperson. “That means we can see the number of affected sessions, the impact of each issue on our conversion rates, and the estimated financial benefit of solving the issue. This information enables us to act quickly to resolve the most serious issues, and boost our incremental sales.”

The new way of working is already enabling the retailer to identify and resolve issues within days that might otherwise have gone undetected for weeks.

“Mobile is one of the most notoriously difficult channels to drive conversion on, because customers quickly become frustrated if they need to type in a large amount of information using a small keyboard,” explains the spokesperson. “We see that payment solutions like PayPal are very helpful in overcoming these challenges, as they enable customers to enter their delivery and billing information once, and re-use it in a secure and streamlined way—shortening the checkout journey dramatically.

“Using our customer experience analytics solution, we quickly detected that almost 2,000 mobile checkout sessions per week were being interrupted because the site was not sending the customer’s tax information to the PayPal service. By replaying these journeys, we were able to fix the issue promptly—helping us to drive an estimated USD3 million in incremental sales each year.”

He adds: “Promotions are also a highly effective method to drive mobile sales—but we noticed that one of our major promotion codes were causing a checkout error in more than 66 sessions per day. By solving the issue fast, we helped our marketing team get the promotion back on track, delivering an estimated USD1 million in incremental sales over the lifetime of the offer.”

To date, the retailer estimates that it has generated more than USD6 million in incremental sales by remediating issues along the customer journey. Looking ahead, the company plans to continue to deliver the insights to departments across the organization, and enable them to delight customers with frictionless shopping experiences on every channel.

The spokesperson concludes: “If you create a smooth digital journey, you keep people coming back for more—and our real-time customer experience insights are helping us to achieve exactly that.”

Leading retailer

This leading retailer serves customers across the United States through a network of physical stores and an advanced e-commerce channel.

Solution components

  • Consumer Centric Retailing
  • IBM Digital Analytics
  • IBM Watson Customer Experience Analytics
  • Retail: Digital Experience

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