Kogan.com is a portfolio of retail and service businesses that includes Kogan Retail, Kogan Marketplace, Kogan Mobile, Kogan Internet, Kogan Insurance, Kogan Travel, Kogan Money, Kogan Cars, Kogan Energy, Dick Smith, Matt Blatt and Mighty Ape. Kogan.com is a leading Australian consumer brand, renowned for price leadership through digital efficiency. The company is focused on making in-demand products and services more affordable and accessible.

Kogan.com leverages New Relic to support record growth whilst keeping lean

During 2020, online retailer Kogan.com became a stock market darling when its share price rose by 360% between March and July, and FY19–20 gross sales increased by close to 40% to reach AUD$768.9 million.

While Australians looked online to search for in-demand items such as technology, home entertainment, PPE, office supplies, and exercise equipment, Kogan.com was able to keep up with demand—while other online retailers began to see their websites crash or slow down. Kogan.com’s team was in a prime position to grow its customer base, thanks to its strong infrastructure, stock reordering initiatives, and forecasting.

“While many of our competitors were struggling to scale their customer service or warehouse to meet the surge in traffic, the strong backbone of our technology platforms allowed us to effectively manage the peaks of demand caused by COVID-19,” recalls Kogan.com’s Chief Technology Officer, Goran Stefkovski.

“We were one of the few Australian retailers [that] could source and supply in-demand products during this period, and we can attribute this to our strong, and scalable, supply chain.”

A scalable partnership

Kogan.com became a New Relic customer in 2012, when its customer base was quickly growing and the team needed to learn how to best manage spikes in demand.

“We are very focused on ensuring no downtime and fast performance so that we can delight our customers,” Goran says. “New Relic helps us achieve this by enabling us to automate our processes and understand—in detail—what is happening with logs, statements, and flows.”

Kogan.com uses New Relic across a number of its verticals. Its seasoned engineering team uses New Relic to improve front-page performance and diagnostics. It has also rolled out real-time dashboards to track performance at its Melbourne headquarters, with some team members now hosting the dashboard on a TV in their WFH environment.

“By having the New Relic dashboards on display, our team has been able to see the overall impact [that] new features and changes in deployments have on site performance and overall traffic levels,” Goran recalls. “We have an incredible dev team that is obsessed with performance, and the visibility created by these dashboards enables the team to rollout code that is much more efficient.”

With a business model designed to provide the best possible value to its customers, Kogan.com has grown its platform through high-level acquisitions and a suite of new products in recent years. The team uses New Relic each time a project is implemented, to allow for continual optimisation while uncovering coding issues.

"Out of the box, New Relic is able to raise and prioritise common transaction paths that need attention. This saves our technical teams hours of valuable time and enables them to focus on core engineering work"

Goran Stefkovski, Chief Technology Officer, Kogan

Additionally, after acquiring electronics retailer Dick Smith in 2016, Kogan.com was able to expand its platforms to accommodate the acquisition in less than a month. Plus, the post-acquisition relaunch of furniture brand Matt Blatt in May 2020 took place in less than a day.

When Kogan.com launched Kogan Marketplace in 2019, it needed to ensure it was able to handle the increased load on the site. Marketplace allows Kogan.com partners to list and sell products, and today has millions of items listed for sale from thousands of brands and distributors. During the rollout, Kogan.com’s tech team used New Relic to view new customer queries as well as complex and innovative sale offers, and establish what their impact was both to customers and sellers.

“New Relic gave us the ability to sort through new items being listed on Kogan.com Marketplace based on the times that they were added, which is an important way to accurately record how long a transaction takes and provides insight to help continually improve site performance,” Goran recalls. 

“An improvement of 300ms may not sound like much, but it can really make a big impact on the overall customer experience,” Goran adds.

Using the right tools to secure success

The team at Kogan.com attributes much of its success to having the right people, technology, and partners to create greater visibility across its platform, and its ability to pinpoint inefficient lines of code and other potentially damaging warning signs.

“Working with New Relic has allowed us to proactively catch and address issues long before they become problematic. By taking the pressure off our team to look deeply into minor errors that emerge, we’re able to clearly understand why something isn’t working,” Goran says.

“Just as a carpenter has a suite of tools on hand to complete a job, running an effective e-commerce site requires that the right tools are used—it makes the team much more productive overall.”

The Kogan.com mission is to make the most in-demand products and services more accessible and affordable. So it’s fitting that, in February 2021, the Kogan.com community of active customers surpassed 3 million customers.

“Kogan.com has always had a strong focus on the core elements that make an e-commerce company stand out. This includes exceptional digital experience and advertising, plus continuous optimisation of experiences while making sure that the business is ready and able to scale in bursts,” Goran recalls.

“Partners like New Relic give us the ability to focus on the key technology, features, and offers that keep our customers happy has been pivotal to ensure that our customers return and choose to shop at Kogan.com.”