December 9, 2004, 12:00 AM

Walmart.com rolls out new analytics tool in time for holidays

Realizing it could lose sales from web pages that don’t load during daytime shopping, Walmart.com uses a new site analytics tool designed to make sure shoppers have full access to online merchandise during peak periods.

Realizing it could lose sales from web pages that don’t load during daytime shopping, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Walmart.com uses a new site analytics/site monitoring tool from TeaLeaf Technologies Inc. to make sure shoppers have full access to online merchandise during peak periods, says Geoff Galat, TeaLeaf’s vice president of marketing and strategy.

Walmart.com went live with TeaLeaf’s RealiTea analytics tool last month, Galat says.

One type of issue that retailers can use RealiTea for is to identify the appearance of “System unavailable” messages that would greet daytime shoppers. Such messages are intended to appear only in slow, late-night periods to accompany site maintenance that might temporarily block the appearance of certain pages.

But whenever daytime traffic volume reaches a certain level, it can kick off the system-unavailable message for some pages, Galat says. “Retailers may find that the most common system-unavailable messages occurr during the day, when they may impact the most shoppers rather than the fewest shoppers at night,” he says.

By using RealiTea to view the clickstreams that may lead to the system-unavailable messages, retailers are able to identify where the need to tweak their infrastructure to support higher traffic volumes to keep pages loading as intended, Galat says.

Retailers will also use the analytics tool to monitor shopping carts and other crucial site features, he adds. The RealiTea system can be set to alert a merchant, for example, whenever 10 or more shoppers per hour abandon a shopping cart after having carted $100 worth of products.

Analysis of those customers’ shopping sessions might reveal, for instance, that several of them abandoned the cart after clicking on information on inventory availability. Further analysis might then find that the inventory system itself was not properly updating product-availability information, Galat says.

Other retail users of RealiTea include Tower Records, which installed the system two years ago. Tower figures it annually saves over $1 million in revenue that without the analytics tool would have been lost to non-performing e-commerce features, Galat says. Tower used the analytics tool to learn that it was losing that revenue when many of its foreign customers, who often buy in large volumes to save on shipping costs, were unable to complete their purchases because of a legacy bug that had limited the size of a purchase in any one transaction, he says.

 

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