We often assist our clients in their web performance optimization projects. Between two follow-up meetings, some members of the Etam Group‘s web development team gave me an interview.
[Boris] Hello! Thank you for granting us a few minutes. Let’s start at the beginning: would you like to introduce yourself?
[Leslie] My Name is Leslie-Anne Buffignani, I’m Head of the eCommerce Domain at ETAM Group. I’ve got Benjamin Perney, one of our Senior Front-End Developer. The role of the eCommerce Domain is to design, develop and/or integrate increasingly innovative solutions on the Etam Group’s platform in order to achieve business objectives.
How did you discover Dareboost?
[Leslie] The team’s lead developer, Kamel Benazouz, was previously involved in researching similar solutions. Dareboost is an accessible, rich solution that offers relevant indicators. The fact that Dareboost is a French solution is an advantage for us. The provided support, for instance, is very qualitative.
Web Performance is a complex, multifaceted subject to deal with, from which it was difficult to determine actionable insights. Each division had its own different tools, which prevented any consensus. Exchanges regarding web performance were often based on the detection of problems after they had occurred, in “firefighter” mode using tools that, although they sometimes highlighted issues, were not all understandable, and did not provide any room for improvement.
With Dareboost, we have set up a transversal performance monitoring system that provides the basis for actions and a direct assessment of their impact. We no longer address web performance optimization as a problem but rather as a continuous improvement initiative and it perfectly fits with our culture of innovation and excellence.
Tell me more about this culture. How is Etam different from other groups?
[Benjamin] Etam reflects a strong corporate culture, with the desire to always offer a better customer experience. To this end, we have chosen to create our own internal SalesForce Commerce Cloud solution integration team, because operational excellence is as important for the business as it is for IT.
In order to continuously improve the performance of our websites, we are leading both quick-wins and larger refactoring projects. For example, while we easily identified problems related to the weights of some pictures, or requests to third-party scripts that significantly delayed the Start Render, we used Dareboost to further monitor the results of our more long-term projects such as the breakdown of our massive CSS by brand and page, the image lazy-loading, the optimization of our CDN configuration… And while we are conducting these relatively technical projects, the business challenges us to introduce features that improve our customers’ experience such as, in France, the PWA, which has a very interesting conversion rate on mobiles.
Sounds great! And Dareboost was able to help you with all this?
[Benjamin] Of course! We were looking for an analysis and monitoring tool to assess our actions over the long term. After all, we can only improve what we can control. That’s why we’re so eager to monitor the benefits of the efforts that were made, one release after another.
Currently, Dareboost is used to control the consistency of the page load, especially the TTFB. We are strongly internationalized so the CDN performance is a key asset. We need to control each metric according to the geolocation of the probe.
[Leslie] We know that we have not yet achieved all our objectives, but the exchanges we have with you by email and the follow-up you do on our account are reassuring. We need to be able to exchange with people who not only have expertise on the subject but who also support our developments with both enthusiasm and pragmatism.
I guess you’re not done breaking new grounds. What do you plan to change in the coming months?
[Leslie] We want to change our governance so that web performance is integrated as early as possible in the evaluation of the potential of new features. In parallel, we will continue to overhaul our architecture and apply the previously identified best practices to the legacy code (especially JS) to ensure that the code base is consistent while not facing the risk of a complete overhaul.
[Benjamin] It won’t be easy. We have a large number of topics to cover in a short time and at a high pace. If we do not pay attention, we know that compliance with best practices may be compromised. That is why we will continue to use Dareboot to focus on this topic. Acknowledgment can only be achieved through education and awareness.
As our PWA is deployed in other countries than France, we will take a closer look at the User Journey monitoring features, as a page by page test would no longer be as interesting as it is today.
Thank you for your time. I hope that Dareboost will stay in your toolbelt for a while.
[Leslie] You know, it really feels like we’re using a service, not just a tool. When you go as fast as we do, the difference is very important.