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99.9%

uptime achieved

4.4

daily production deployments

17

minutes MTTD

As one of Australia’s biggest and most-loved retailers, Kmart has been brightening the everyday lives of its customers for over 50 years. From humble beginnings in 1969, they have built a promise of an affordable lifestyle for their customers. Today, Kmart is known as a leading product development company, with more than 300 stores and over 44,000 employees throughout Australia and New Zealand. Kmart’s scale and sourcing capabilities underpin its low-cost business model, which allows them to continually deliver the lowest prices.

Supporting a digital revolution

With 84% of Australians living within 10km of one of its stores, Kmart has a strong brick-and-mortar presence in a number of communities. However, they also continue to invest in their digital business, to help strengthen their market-leading and personalised omnichannel experience and deepen customer engagement.

The Kmart team are continually looking for ways to improve this and deliver operational efficiencies and even greater value for customers by investing in data and technology. In 2020, Kmart commenced a re-platforming process, which included assessing existing infrastructure and systems and sourcing new solutions to support and facilitate its digital evolution. At the heart of Kmart’s transformation was the desire to deliver peak performance across online and in-store point of sale (POS) systems, improve system resilience and enhance customer experience.

Kmart also wanted to improve visibility. The company did not have reliable data about how their website was being accessed, or the purchase journeys their customers were taking – from website entry through to checkout.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen a real opportunity in the digital space to improve our website to enable an improved customer experience, with greater insights that can allow us to better respond to evolving customer needs, says Nicholas Potesta, Technical Lead, at Kmart.

“Ultimately, we needed a solution that could give us real-time visibility across our entire stack, and provide us with not just alerts, but data to help improve product management and Kmart’s customer experience as a whole,” Potesta adds.

Observability to ensure peak performance

To support its digital transformation, Kmart partnered with New Relic to roll out its all-in-one observability platform and implement a solution to deliver peak performance across its stack while ensuring a proactive understanding of both the application environment and the customer experience.

Kmart leveraged New Relic application performance monitoring to identify anomalies, browser monitoring for full visibility into web page performance, synthetics monitoring to monitor and simulate user journeys and Slack integration to deliver intelligent alerts.

Kmart also used synthetics to test and prepare for major online events. For example, to simulate user journeys in advance of the Christmas shopping period. New Relic was also leveraged to generate proactive anomaly reports.

“New Relic has changed the way the whole team works,” says Potesta. “Unlike our previous system which sent alerts to an individual, New Relic seamlessly integrates with Slack, which means we have more eyes on an issue and if someone else can help, they will.”

New Relic also created dashboards to provide Kmart with the ability to track user behaviour and stock movement. Using set metrics has given Kmart the ability to catch issues and identify emerging trends.

“The impact of New Relic on Kmart’s operations goes beyond performance...By democratising data and giving us the ability to access it at any point in time, New Relic has sparked a cultural shift within our team and across the organisation.”

Data-driven productivity

Kmart has achieved its vision of delivering all-in-one observability across its entire stack with New Relic; enabling the team to monitor infrastructure, online activity, product data, and customer behaviour that resulted in 99.9% uptime over the past six months, with MTTD at 17 minutes and MTTR sitting at under two hours. New Relic is also used to monitor and analyse millions of stock updates per day  – all via a single system.

The solution has been deployed to support multiple peak online shopping events including Black Friday, Easter and Christmas.

“New Relic has created granular visibility and full stack observability for Kmart,” says Potesta. “This has enabled us to standardise practices and given us a single source of truth based on real-time data. With this, we can provide the business with meaningful metrics which go beyond ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and offer insights which can be used to inform decision making,” Potesta adds.

Since adopting New Relic, Kmart has seen an improvement in developer productivity and established a Site Reliability Engineering function. In turn, this has created more time for the development team to focus on new features and products. Additionally, the business now deploys to production on average 4.4 times a day, and records a change fail rate of just over 0.01%.

The implementation of New Relic dashboards has also democratised data across the organisation, which is now utilised across multiple teams – including the C-suite.

“The impact of New Relic on Kmart’s operations goes beyond performance,” says Nicholas. “By democratising data and giving us the ability to access it at any point in time, New Relic has sparked a cultural shift within our team and across the organisation.”

Kmart’s adoption of New Relic as its all-in-one observability platform continues to provide insights that will be used to support both future in-store and online growth.