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How can multi-step synthetic transaction monitoring help your online business?

Multi-step synthetic transactions, also known as multi-step transactions or multi-step scripts, are automated tests that simulate complex user interactions with a website or web application. Unlike a single-step transaction (like page load), multi-step transactions involve a series of sequential steps or workflows that mimic real-world user journeys.
These transactions typically include multiple interactions with different elements of a website, such as navigating through various pages, submitting forms, clicking on links or buttons, and verifying the content or functionality at each step. By replicating these multi-step processes, businesses can assess the performance, functionality, and user experience of their web applications in a comprehensive manner.

Multi-step synthetic transactions are commonly used for:

  • End-to-end testing: Testing the entire user journey from start to finish, ensuring that all critical functions and features of the website or application are functioning correctly.
  • Workflow validation: Validating complex workflows or processes within the website, such as user login, checkout processes, or form submissions, to ensure they work as intended.
  • User experience testing: Evaluating the user experience by assessing factors such as navigation flow, response times, and error handling throughout the user journey.
  • Performance monitoring: Obtaining insights into the performance of the website or application across different steps of the user journey, helping identify performance bottlenecks or issues that may impact user satisfaction.
  • Availability monitoring: Monitoring the availability of critical functions or services within the website or application, ensuring they are accessible and responsive to users at all times.

What is the importance of multi-step synthetic transactions?

Multi-step synthetic transaction monitoring plays a crucial role in ensuring the optimal performance and reliability of online businesses by simulating real user interactions and monitoring the entire user journey across multiple steps. Here are several ways it can benefit online businesses:

  • End-to-end visibility: Multi-step synthetic transaction monitoring provides end-to-end visibility into the entire user journey, from the initial interaction to the completion of a transaction or workflow. By monitoring each step of the transaction, businesses can identify performance bottlenecks, errors, or issues that may impact the user experience and conversion rates.
  • Early detection of issues: Synthetic transactions emulate real user interactions, allowing businesses to detect issues in their web applications or services before they affect real users. By monitoring key transactions proactively, businesses can identify and address performance degradation, errors, or downtime, minimizing the impact on user experience and business operations.
  • Performance bench marking: Synthetic transaction monitoring allows businesses to establish performance benchmarks and track performance trends over time. By comparing current performance metrics to historical data or industry standards, businesses can assess the effectiveness of performance optimization efforts and identify areas for improvement.
  • Validation of changes: Before deploying changes or updates to web applications or services, businesses can use synthetic transaction monitoring to validate the impact of these changes on the user experience and performance. By running synthetic transactions against predefined scripts or workflows, businesses can ensure that changes do not introduce regressions or degrade performance.
  • Multi-location monitoring: Synthetic transaction monitoring can be performed from multiple geographic locations to assess the performance and availability of web applications or services from different regions. This enables businesses to identify regional variations in performance, latency, or accessibility, and optimize their infrastructure or content delivery strategies accordingly.
  • Third-party service monitoring: Many online businesses rely on third-party services or integrations, such as payment gateways, APIs, or content delivery networks (CDNs), to deliver their services. Synthetic transaction monitoring can include checks for these third-party services, allowing businesses to monitor their performance and detect issues that may impact the user experience.
  • SLA compliance: Synthetic transaction monitoring helps businesses ensure compliance with service level agreements (SLAs) by tracking performance metrics and the assured uptime. By monitoring key transactions, businesses can demonstrate adherence to SLAs and address any deviations or breaches proactively.

Use-case of multi-step synthetic transaction monitoring

Consider an e-commerce website that wants to ensure a seamless and efficient checkout process for its customers. Here is how a multi-step synthetic transaction monitoring tool like Site24x7 can help:
  • User journey simulation: The e-commerce website creates a multi-step synthetic transaction that simulates the entire checkout process, from the product selection to the completion of the purchase. This transaction includes steps such as adding items to the cart, entering shipping and billing information, selecting payment methods, and confirming the order. With Site24x7's robust recorder, these transactions can be recorded and played back later on any browser (Firefox or Chrome).
  • Performance evaluation: The synthetic transaction is scheduled to run at regular intervals from various geographic locations to evaluate the performance of the checkout process. Performance metrics such as page load times, response times for form submissions, and transaction completion times are measured and recorded. With detailed dashboards and reports from Site24x7, an in-depth analysis can be done. Also, Site24x7 provides a resourceful root cause analysis report that includes screenshots and videos of the pages loaded; these can be used to cross-verify whether there was any issue in the loaded pages. 
  • Error detection: When executing synthetic transactions, any errors or issues encountered during the checkout process, such as page errors, timeouts, or validation failures, are detected and logged. This helps identify potential obstacles or bottlenecks that may hinder the completion of transactions for real users. With Site24x7's console errors feature, you can get more details on the errors and dig deep into its root cause.
  • Availability monitoring: The synthetic transaction also monitors the availability of essential components of the checkout process, such as payment gateways and inventory systems. Any downtime or unavailability of these components is flagged, allowing the website administrators to take corrective actions promptly.
  • User experience optimization: Insights gathered from the synthetic transaction monitoring are used to optimize the checkout process and enhance the overall user experience. Performance bottlenecks are addressed, and improvements are made to streamline the flow, reduce friction, and increase the chances of successful transactions.
  • Proactive issue resolution: By proactively monitoring the checkout process with synthetic transactions, the e-commerce website can identify and resolve issues before they impact real users. This proactive approach helps minimize revenue loss due to abandoned carts, failed transactions, or dissatisfied customers.
Overall, multi-step synthetic transaction monitoring enables the e-commerce website to ensure a smooth and reliable checkout process for its customers, leading to increased user satisfaction, higher conversion rates, and improved business outcomes.

What happens if transactions aren't monitored

If multi-step transactions aren't monitored, several potential issues may arise, impacting the performance, functionality, and user experience of the website or web application, including:

  • Undetected errors: Without monitoring, errors or issues occurring during multi-step transactions may go undetected. This includes errors such as form submission failures, broken links, or server timeouts, which can disrupt the user journey and lead to frustration or abandonment.
  • Performance degradation: Performance issues within multi-step transactions, such as slow page load times or high latency, may remain unnoticed without monitoring. This can result in a poor user experience, reduced engagement, and decreased conversion rates.
  • Availability problems: Failures in critical components of multi-step transactions, such as payment gateways or authentication systems, may go unnoticed without monitoring. This can lead to downtime or service disruptions, preventing users from completing transactions and potentially causing revenue loss.
  • Missed optimization opportunities: Without monitoring, organizations may miss opportunities to optimize multi-step transactions for improved performance, efficiency, and user experience. Insights gathered from monitoring data are essential for identifying bottlenecks, streamlining workflows, and addressing issues proactively.
  • Security risks: Security vulnerabilities or breaches within multi-step transactions may remain undetected without monitoring. This can expose sensitive user data, payment information, or confidential business data to unauthorized access, compromising user trust and regulatory compliance.
  • Impact on business outcomes: Overall, the lack of monitoring for multi-step transactions can negatively impact business outcomes, including lower conversion rates, decreased customer satisfaction, and damage to brand reputation. Organizations may struggle to identify and address issues effectively, leading to lost opportunities and competitive disadvantages.

In summary, monitoring multi-step transactions is essential for ensuring the reliability, performance, and security of websites and web applications. Without monitoring, organizations risk encountering a range of issues that can adversely affect the user experience and hinder business success. Therefore, investing in robust monitoring solutions and practices is critical for maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of multi-step transactions in the digital ecosystem.