E-commerce is now one of the largest drivers of revenue for many businesses. Monitoring it means protecting that important turnover pillar. Depending on the revenue volume in the online sector, the right measures have to be chosen.
First and foremost, an online store is a website. For this reason, standards in website monitoring must be adhered to. We divide these checks into six different categories, all of which are important for the success of an successful e-commerce strategy.
Uptime monitoring: The clearest sign that online revenue is in danger is the inaccessibility of the store. If people can't even visit the offer, then no sales can be made. This usually happens when there are problems with the hosting or the server. In addition, it can happen, if one inserts an update of a Plugins or the entire Shop system and thereby something does not run as it should be. To secure this, you should continuously and automatically check every five minutes whether the website is reachable from outsides.
Performance monitoring: Many studies in e-commerce have proven how important the performance of an online store is and how significant the influence on conversion rates is. The best thing to do here is to take a cue from the big players, such as Amazon, BestBuy or Woolworths.
Since this article is about monitoring Shopware systems, you can assume that the performance is already up to a high standard. Only the selection of the hoster should be well considered. There are a lot of differences here. We always apply that you can start out small and grow with the success of the store.
SEO monitoring: On average, about half of a store's visitors, and thus potential customers, reach the site via search engines. Is this not the case, the search engine optimization has a huge potential to increase the sales of a store even more. In principle, optimizations in the SEO area are a science in themselves. Nowadays, one that has to be experienced or taught. To get started use the Google Lighthouse Tool. In addition make sure the online store also works faultlessly on mobile, i.e. cell phones and tablets, as Google, being the most used search engine, only indices these pages. Shopware in itself is already excellently prepared for mobile devices. However, it is always important to check this compatibility with installed plugins.
Security monitoring: At first glance, the security of a store does not contribute to sales figures and could therefore be dismissed as unimportant. However, this is a very big mistake. From a business perspective, continuous security monitoring prevents the worst-case scenario. It prevents the store from being hacked and customer data from being stolen. Immediately, the trust that you have built up over a long time between the customers and yourself is ruined. According to the GDPR, such incidents must also always be reported. Since Shopware is a very secure system, there is only one main task: keeping the software and all plugins up to date. It is also recommended that you only use plugins that have a certain degree of maturity.
Obviously, an online store is first and foremost a website that needs to be monitored. But in e-commerce, there are more business metrics that need to be monitored. The collapse of these values can usually be traced back to technical problems. This is, unfortunately, not always so easy to find. So here is a trick that you can use to quickly gain initial security.
We distinguish between implicit and explicit measures when monitoring and testing websites. Instead of elaborately testing whether you can still buy products in the store with all possible payment methods, you can look at the most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and monitor these continually. The disadvantage here is that you only discover the errors when they are already live, though the big advantage is that you can put this data to use immediately.
We recommend checking the following metrics and taking immediate action if there are any drops. At this point, it's important to look at peak sales times separately from off-peak times. This is the only way to define meaningful thresholds.
- Number of orders: How many orders have been received in the last hour?
- Turnover: How many sales were made in the last hour?
- Logins: How many existing users logged in during the last hour?
- New logins: How many new users have registered in the last hour (or day)?
- Open shopping carts: How many open shopping carts are there? An open shopping cart can always be an indicator that a customer has added products, but is unable to complete the purchase.
- Newsletter signups: How many customers signed up for the newsletter on the last day?
Besides the KPIs to monitor, there are additional features in e-commerce that should be continuously monitored as they also have immense impact on sales.
Product sitemap: Unlike content-heavy websites, there is not only a sitemap.xml that transmits content to Google and Co. but also a product sitemap. This needs to conform to a defined standard and include all of the store's products.
Correct prices: Often pricing and products in a store are not entered manually, but are originating from an external PIM (Product Information Management). Errors may occur during the transfer itself, therefore one needs to check randomly for "wrong" prices. Likewise, it is very useful to search the store for products that costs 0.-.
The crown discipline in monitoring is click-throughs. Instead of implicitly monitoring whether a product is still buyable, one will actually perform this process, and do so every 5 to 60 minutes respectively after a new deployment This can be very time-consuming and should be done every 5 to 60 minutes or directly after a new deployment. Since this can be very time-consuming, this is the last thing one should implement. Tools with which you can do this are e.g. Leankoala, Selenium or Cypress.
All monitoring mentioned so far is generally valid, so it is as well valid for Magento, WooCommerce as it is for Shopware. This means that by implementing all the mentioned tasks above, you will have a perfect Webshop Monitoring set up.
We recommend, nevertheless, a continuous look at the security updates of the store system. The updates for Shopware can be found here:
Shopware monitoring with koality.io
As the monitoring of store systems is always done in a very similar way, we decided to standardize this in koality.io as well.
We are currently releasing the first plugin for Shopware 6, which collects all important business metrics and compares them to predefined thresholds.
In addition, we have decided to release the plugin as open source, so that our users can easily add to it or improve it. We believe that this will result in better quality and compatibility with all Shopware versions.
You would like to be one of the firsts to have a look at the plugin (beware of the ALPHA version), you can do so on GitHub! Pull requests are very welcome.
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