Let’s first start with a brief history of Order Monitor
Back in 2012, we were working with a client running Magento. A bug was pushed live that caused checkout to break and went unnoticed for the better part of a day. Despite the high sales volume, the ecommerce team was monitoring sales in their ERP. The numbers looked normal because the inability of online transactions led to an increase in phone sales. Eventually the customer service team notified ecommerce that there was an issue and it was fixed immediately.
But that led to the question- why aren’t we monitoring the sales throughout Magento? What happens if something is out of the ordinary? There were too many variables and KPIs that were critical to the success of ecommerce that were not being monitored. And so the idea for Order Monitor was born. Most ecommerce sites have some form of analytics, like Google Analytics, but the data relies on pixel tracking and is not updated in real time. As we continued to work with clients, we started to see other random issues and errors that had a major impact on revenue, often caused by human error, including:
- Coupon codes being setup incorrectly and discounting too much or for too many people
- Spikes in discounts related to shopping cart abandonment coupon codes being leaked
- Drops in order volume due to failures in third party systems (ERP, shipping and tax calculators)
None of these things were being captured by traditional server and application monitoring. We also saw a need to access and roll up data in a simple and easy to use dashboard. We started building a roadmap with the following goals:
- Simple and intuitive dashboard straight from the data source
- Provide value for everyone that touched ecommerce – development, marketing, operations, merchandizing and executive team
- Smart and proactive alerts to find potential issues fast and allow the teams to fix them before they cost the organization thousands of dollars
So after months of late nights and tinkering, Order Monitor 1.0 was born in February of 2013. New features and functionality were added over time based on feedback and first hand daily management. The module was published on Magento Connect and folks all over the world started to leverage Order Monitor. In addition to Magento, a cartridge for Demandware was created to support that platform. While the system was moving along and getting good feedback, it wasn’t scaling well, was based on an old framework and didn’t support the needs of larger organizations that need to manage and monitor multiple sites and brands.
Introducing Order Monitor 2.0
In the fall of 2015 we started work on the next evolution of Order Monitor. The goal of the platform was to improve performance, scalability and be a platform that would allow continued evolution and features as the market and technologies changed. Specifically we had a few key goals that drove this decision:
- Decoupling of data collection from analytics
- Support for teams and larger organizations with more advanced permissions controls
- Support for multiple stores and the ability to easily switch between stores and accounts
- Robust and dynamic alerts engine and policies that allowed merchants to define the criteria based on their business
- Improved UI and UX that enabled a quick glance of new data and a deep dive if necessary
- Background processing and queuing system for data collection, alerts and other events
- Support for additional platforms and APIs
- Provide value and collaboration between ecommerce departments — marketing, development, operations and management
To accomplish these goals, we decided to rewrite the platform from the ground up on a new framework with new technologies. By January of 2016 we launched our first iteration with a couple of select merchants and began to work out the kinks and make improvements. In April we completed our Magento 2.0 module and began testing with a UK based merchant. After a few months of things running smoothly with our dozen or so beta customers, we are ready to open up the platform to the world.
- Updated branding logo, colors and messaging
- Redesigned responsive UI for desktop, tablet and mobile
- Support for multiple accounts, stores and platforms under a single user sign-on
- Alert rules builder for an unlimited combination of KPIs and values to check
- Dashboard rollup for multi-store (Pro/Enterprise only)
- Daily sales summary email enhancements
- New activity notes for collaboration between teams on events, alerts and data
- Cron Job Monitoring for Magento – alerts you went a cron job is stuck or has failed
- Team management – invite and manage access to an account
- Alert policies – shared actions to take when an alert is triggered (email, webhooks via Slack)
- Improved daily sales forecasting – adjustments to algorithm and historical tracking
- Automatic data collection retry on failed attempts
- New pricing and plans to support SMB up to Enterprise
- Significant increase in application performance and page load times
- Support for Shopify and BigCommerce coming in Q3/Q4 2016
Being on the tech side, I often argue that the alerts are the most important and powerful feature of Order Monitor. But at the end of the day, dashboards, graphs and simple and intuitive interfaces are what win over the team. With that in mind, we wanted the new dashboard to retain much of the same information but make it easier to read at a glance as well as provide an easy way for larger organizations and agencies managing multiple stores and brands to see all their stores in one view. The new account dashboard shows the latest activity for each store an account has access to along with their total revenue. At the top there is a rollup of the total number of orders across all stores. As stores are often in different currencies it is difficult to represent a total revenue figure, but we have some ideas involving currency conversion in the works.
What’s to Come
- Revenue and KPI goals and monitoring
- New Alert Policy channels – SMS and Webhooks for HipChat
- Agency program and dashboard
- Inventory alerts
- Fine grained user access controls
- Custom KPI/metrics tracking
- Google Analytics integration for revenue reconciliation
We are super excited to launch Order Monitor 2.0 and hope you are too. Feedback is paramount to our success, so feel free to drop us a line and let us know what you think or provide any other suggestions.
Stay tuned for a deep dive into new features and what’s to come.