Case Studies: Chapter 6 – Black Friday

Case study: How a top 20 US retailer eliminated an issue that would have impacted $1.7 million during Black Friday

 Retailers go all out during their biggest sales seasons and create the best new experiences they can offer. Yet, every time you create new experiences, you can also accidentally introduce new issues that weren’t there before. 


The Challenge

On Black Friday, every minute counts for catching leaks that would cause the loss of potential revenues. If it took even just a day to troubleshoot any issues, it would be a complete disaster for the biggest sales season of the year. 


Step 1: Set up your war room

Many retailers set up a war room every year during Black Friday. They get all the critical teams across functions to sit together, watch and listen for potential issues, and fix anything that hurts immediately. 

Experience Analytics is a crucial ingredient for the war room since they enable teams to discover, troubleshoot, quantify and resolve issues much faster. Voice of Customer is also always a key ingredient, i.e., if there is something wrong with the site or app, customers are often the first to alert, even if they usually don’t provide enough detail to understand the problem. 


Step 2: Combine your ecosystem to understand issues

In the case of our retailer, on Black Friday, they received some complaints on Voice of Customer that checkout isn’t working. But nothing to indicate what these customers experienced. As is often the case, the checkout worked fine for most customers. It also worked fine when the team tested it manually.

That’s where the combination of Experience Analytics with Voice of Customer tools lets the team replay the exact sessions leading up to feedback. As it turns out, a modal window was popping up for these customers with a marketing offer, but it was malfunctioning.  The customers could not interact with the window, and when they closed it, they were sent back to the beginning of the checkout to try all over again.   


Session replays showed shoppers losing everything they had entered into the checkout forms

 Step 3: Quantify the problem to prioritize resolution

There is always a lot of feedback, but which issues are the biggest ones that need immediate action? Quantifying how many others experienced the same problem with the modal window, even if they didn’t complain, is the key to separating the outliers from the big issues that hurt the business.

In this case, the team used sequential segmentation to identify how many shoppers saw the banner during checkout, were then sent back to the beginning of checkout, and abandoned. The issue was quantified to represent a 1.7 million dollar problem over just the Black Friday weekend alone.


Step 4: Action

Since there is no time to waste, the retailer simply disabled the modal window and removed it from the flow. That took care of the problem and avoided the massive leak.    


The moral of the story

While Black Friday war rooms exemplify the acceleration that Experience Analytics brings to the analytics ecosystem, the same acceleration benefits the team year-round.