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Case Study: Malcolm Group, Inc.

The Malcolm Group emulates the customer ordering process with powerful scripts to ensure a consistent experience.

 

I’m the Marketing guy for our suite of e-commerce stores. We sell online and our stores must be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But not just accessible, our website needs to work. Any monitoring company can “ping” for uptime, I want confirmation that our processes are running.

We had instances where a customer couldn’t place an order because a third-party script would fail.  Or perhaps the coupon feature wasn’t working. On occasion, the shopping cart itself would break or the credit card processing wouldn’t work, and customers couldn’t place an order. I needed a way to continually monitor my website and ensure all processes were working.

I found Dotcom-Monitor and I kid you not when I tell you they were a lifesaver!  Sure, they check a few web pages for uptime and verify specific text loads or mobile fly-out navigation is working, but they have an advanced tool that is invaluable for any website operator: The EveryStep Web Recorder.

I set up a script that places an order. Sounds basic right? But I set it up to check everything!  Here are a few of the steps:

  • Loads a URL (Ensures page loads)
  • Selects an option and checks for text (this verifies options are working
  • Adds multiple items to cart and checks for specific price (Ensures cart and multi-price option is working)
  • Enter a coupon code in the cart and check for specific price (Ensures coupon codes working)
  • Fills out shopping cart and I use a declined credit card (Pay attention, this is important!)
  • Submits the order

By using a declined credit card, the order will process, thereby confirming my credit card processes are working and I search for specific text stating my credit card has been declined. This simple script will place an order every 15 minutes and check many of my web processes and alert me to the exact failure point! I could go deeper and check cross-sell and other features, but I’ve set this up to focus on processes that have failed more than once in the past. This script is so powerful that I have been able to alert other store owners using the same platform of outages before the platform itself knows! This then gives us power to push for better redundancy (and engineering reaction) because multiple merchants are submitting trouble tickets. This service has also been the catalyst for the web platform to implement its own improved monitoring.

Here’s a tip: Use your mobile phone email to text address as one of the alert email addresses. This way, you’ll get a text message alerting you to the error without having to check email.

But wait! That’s not all! My websites submit nightly credit card batches. This process would often fail due to a bad credit card or hiccup in the system. A failed batch submission would mean I wouldn’t get my money for another day, or longer, until engineering found and fixed the problem. To help with this, I set up another script to log into my manager and submit the batch file. This is run every 3 hours, which means if the batch process should fail, I know within 3 hours of the failure and have time to contact engineering to resolve. It also means I get most of my money immediately instead of waiting potentially days!

Dotcom-Monitor has been an invaluable partner and their system works. As it checks individual web pages or shopping processes, if any script or process fails within the page load, it alerts me. I have contacted many vendors to alert them their API or script isn’t working. Even if the website still loads and an order can be placed, I get alerts when anything fails. It’s a great program!

I’m a long-time customer and plan to remain for a long time! Thank you very much for your services!

 

Michael Roebuck, VP of Marketing & Operations, Malcolm Group, Inc.

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