“The details are not the details. They make the design.”

So said legendary American designer Charles Eames. And though Eames’s specialty was furniture (think fiberglass, plastic resin, and wire mesh chairs), his famous dictum applies to all kinds of design, from fashion to online interfaces. Get the details right and the rest will follow.

luisa via roma logoAs a feted Italian fashion design house which, after decades of exclusivity, has recently evolved into a powerhouse among online clothing retailers, Luisa Via Roma understands what Eames was getting at. Since Luisa Jacquin first opened her hat store on Florence’s via Roma in 1930, this company has been committed to fusing innovative aesthetics and classic style—one detail at a time.

From exclusive to all-encompassing

When it opened its online store in 2000, Luisa Via Roma granted access only to a select few. Today, however, www.luisaviaroma.com serves customers in eight different languages, shipping to 100-plus countries around the world. Receiving 4 million unique visitors each month, the site now generates 95% of the company’s income.

In addition to its own Luisa Via Roma Special Projects line, the company stocks more than 600 luxury fashion brands. These range from household names like Gucci and Prada to emerging designers such as Mischka Aoki, Duvetica, and Simonetta. So how do the company’s buyers decide what to stock? What particular traits do they look for? Browsing the site, it soon becomes clear: distinctive design and attention to detail.

Those same traits underpin the site itself. According to Software Engineer Fabio Testa, staying focused on the details that make the difference helps its tech teams maintain an energetic, startup-style vibe. “We are always cutting edge,” he says, “always searching for new tools.”

One tool that has become a critical and permanent part of the Luisa Via Roma stack is the New Relic Software Analytics Cloud. Initially deploying New Relic APM to monitor frontend performance, Fabio and his colleagues have since been able to profile their .NET stack, reviewing and improving every detail of its design.

Tailor-made

They’ve also been able to profile the site’s diverse array of customers, who visit the site from all over the world, using a wide range of devices and operating systems. For example, a customer in China might be using Internet Explorer 6 on an old PC, while elsewhere another is shopping via the latest version of Safari on an iOS device. The difference might seem minor at first glance, but for Fabio it’s exactly the kind of detail that demands close scrutiny. New Relic makes that scrutiny simple.

“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.” Thanks to New Relic, Luisa Via Roma can tailor different versions of its website to the habits and preferences of specific demographics.

Alerts that really count

Even better, the company can roll out new features and versions without ever having to take the site offline. Achieving continuous delivery is easy with New Relic Synthetics, which Fabio calls “the last frontier in our integration tests.” With all new code tested against a series of synthetic transactions, nothing goes live until it’s absolutely ready.

And when issues do arise, Fabio appreciates the fact that New Relic Alerts clearly identify the ones having a direct impact on customers. “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.”

Prioritizing problems that might interfere with sales is good for business. And more detailed, more nuanced error alerts help keep Luisa Via Roma’s production team from getting overwhelmed.

Hats off to data

Having grown up with the business over the past 15 years, www.luisaviaroma.com recently underwent a much-needed total overhaul. In addition to capitalizing on deeper resources, better architecture, and slicker design, Fabio is excited to gather new details on performance and usage via New Relic Browser.

“Previously, many events and customer behaviors went untracked,” he says. “Errors and problems were not so simple to understand.” Now, the company can monitor even the smallest details more closely.

With a wealth of analytic details at its fingertips, Luisa Via Roma is perfectly positioned to honor Charles Eames’ maxim—to design and deliver an online shopping experience as stylish as the hats that launched the company nearly a century ago.

To learn more about how Luisa Via Roma uses New Relic to bring Italian moda to the world, be sure to read the full Luisa Via Roma customer case study.

Ali Gerrard is a product marketing manager at New Relic. View posts by .

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