To be successful in the world of fashion, you need to combine a love of innovation with an appreciation of classic style. That’s especially true for clothing designers who sell their products online. After all, beautiful clothes deserve a beautiful shopping experience.

Luisa Via Roma understands this. The Italian company has been producing and selling fine garments since 1930, when Luisa Jacquin first opened her hat store on Florence’s via Roma. Decades later, when the business launched its online store, it initially maintained the same level of exclusivity, offering access only to select clients.

Today, is available in eight languages, serves customers in more than 200 countries, and generates 90% of the company’s revenue.

Cutting-edge performance

With the business so dependent on online sales, it’s crucial that the team behind is always at the top of its game. Fabio Testa, software architect, compares his team’s approach to that of a startup. “We are always cutting edge,” he says, “always searching for new tools.”

Though the company runs on software developed in-house, and is powered by on-premise servers, its platform is built on Microsoft’s .NET Framework, with IBM’s AS/400 providing ERP. Other tools Fabio considers essential are SonarQube, TeamCity, Octopus, and Selenium.

Three years ago, Luisa Via Roma added New Relic to that list. Before then, the company had access to performance data only in the production environment. Now, thanks to New Relic, Fabio and his colleagues enjoy deep, real-time visibility into site performance on both the front and back ends.

“Before New Relic, we had great difficulty reproducing the different behaviors, the different patterns of utilization, the user flows. Now, we can do it all.”

Fabio Testa Software Architect, Luisa Via Roma

Continuously alert

The company began by deploying New Relic APM to learn more about the top level performance of its public-facing website. Since then, the tool has enabled the team to profile its .NET stack, review its design in a very deep way and improve code where necessary.

The company has also used New Relic APM as a profiling tool in terms of users. Those users interact with the site using a wide array of devices and browsers, from IE6 in China to the latest iteration of Safari on iOS devices in the United States. “Before New Relic, we had great difficulty reproducing the different behaviors, the different patterns of utilization, the user flows,” says Fabio. “Now, we can do it all.” That means tailoring different versions of the site to the needs of different users around the globe.

Meanwhile, the team achieves continuous delivery thanks in large part to New Relic Synthetics—a tool that Fabio describes as “the last frontier in our integration tests.” Running a range of synthetic transactions against all new code ensures that new features and versions can be rolled out confidently, with no downtime required and minimal fear of unexpected errors.

And when errors do occur, Fabio likes the fact that New Relic Alerts gives a customer point of view. “If my customer continues to have web pages served, it’s not a problem for them that, for example, my database server is running at 100% CPU usage.” By helping him to differentiate between issues happening behind the scenes and those causing actual headaches for users, New Relic’s alerts enable Fabio to prioritize problems that are having a direct impact on sales.

Pursuing perfection

In line with this distinction, Fabio divides Luisa Via Roma’s New Relic users into two categories: backend and frontend. The former are software engineers, tracking key backend transactions such as catalogue inquiries and payment gateway integrations. The latter are web designers, using JavaScript APIs to monitor frontend performance.

These web designers, like the fashion designers behind the company’s distinctive garments, are in pursuit of aesthetic perfection. New Relic is an invaluable tool as they work to optimize user experience and interface. By tracking clicks and user flows—how each customer moves from one page to another, which buttons they click and so on—they can achieve a clear vision of what’s working and what’s not. And that kind of data is, in turn, useful for marketing and business teams striving to drive more traffic to and through the site.

Classic innovation

Like a fine pair of leather shoes that need resoling, recently underwent some significant updates. As the online business grew over the past 15 years, the site grew along with it, without ever being fully overhauled. That’s why, until early 2016, it remained a single-page application. Now, with the architecture revised and resources increased, the site is slicker, more dynamic, and generally sexier.

As well as being good for business, the new and improved website offers greater potential for in-depth performance monitoring. “Previously, many events and customer behaviors went untracked,” says Fabio. “Errors and problems were not so simple to understand.” He’s excited to put New Relic Browser to work to achieve that deeper understanding going forward.

From its humble beginnings on a cobbled Florence street, Luisa Via Roma has grown into a company that fuses classic design and cutting-edge innovation in technology as well as fashion. For this outfit, New Relic makes the perfect accessory.