Fixing online shopping struggles with deeper customer insights


customer session capture


faster to fix customer struggle issues


testing and validation of design decisions

Apparel brand Roots uses its digital channel to deepen engagement with existing and new consumers in Canada and around the globe. To deliver a seamless browse-to-buy customer journey, Roots uses Acoustic Analytics (formerly Customer Experience Analytics) to develop fine-grained user insights so the company can address UX challenges faster and continually enhance the online shopping experience.

Challenge: Solving session capture to fix customer struggle

As online shopping explodes in use, consumers increasingly prefer to explore e-commerce sites in addition to visiting brick-and-mortar stores. Roots, one of Canada’s leading lifestyle brands, knew that offering customers seamless, exceptional digital experiences is incredibly important to the company’s ongoing e-commerce success.

Gabriela Mercer, Manager eCommerce and Marketing analytics‎, explains: “Our digital channels are especially important in markets where we do not have a large network of physical stores. In these regions, our website is often the first opportunity to communicate our brand story, capture visitors’ imaginations, and encourage them to buy. As a result, we aim to make the experience as smooth, user-friendly, and personal as possible. To accelerate our success, we are innovating our online experience with the assistance of a network of partners to further strengthen our go-to-market initiatives.”

Like many leading retailers, Roots relies on session replay technology to help find and fix potential sources of customer struggle on its websites. However, the company’s previous session capture tool had limitations that prevented it from gaining the timely, actionable insights it needed to support decision-making.

Matthew Ryan, Manager E-Commerce Trading, comments: “If a consumer contacted us to report an issue checking out their basket, we had to sift through all the transactions that occurred around the time of their order to find their specific session. If our tool had recorded the session, its data capture limitations meant we would only see a sequence of images, not the raw data. The superficial level of detail available made it difficult to determine the root causes of experience issues.”

To overcome these technical problems and enhance its online customer experience, Roots completely redesigned its websites — and also began shopping for an automated solution that could deliver faster and more complete insights into the digital journeys of its customers and their difficulties.

Solution: Finding and fixing struggle issues quickly

After trying a few vendors, Roots selected Acoustic Analytics. This AI-driven platform enables Roots to visualize cross-channel customer journeys, replay customer interactions in granular detail, and set automatic alerts for high-priority customer struggles and conversion opportunities for immediate attention.

“We had been using Acoustic Digital Analytics to analyze and report on customer browsing behavior on our sites for a number of years,” recalls Gabriela Mercer. “Digital Analytics already enabled us to report on the performance of our channels, track key performance indicators, and gain insight into trends. When we told Acoustic what we were looking for, they suggested Analytics — and we quickly realized it was the best fit for our needs.”

Analytics brings together digital analytics, journey analytics, and the behavioral analytics in Acoustic Experience Analytics (Tealeaf) into an integrated customer experience solution. Working with Acoustic, Roots deployed the solution during the development process for its new websites — helping it quickly test and validate its design decisions.

Matthew Ryan comments: “Our recent website redesign is one of the most significant e-commerce efforts we have undertaken in recent years. The update included our English- and French-language Canadian sites as well as our U.S. site, which also handles international orders. Experience Analytics was a real asset during the process. It enabled us to very quickly catch and correct subtle design and coding issues that might otherwise have stayed hidden for many weeks after we launched.”

Gabriela Mercer adds: “Acoustic does not just help you implement; they serve as trusted advisors that help you meet your business goals. We greatly value our partnership with Acoustic — particularly the opportunities to connect with our industry peers via Experience Analytics user groups, which have given us some exciting new ideas about how to use the solution.”

Using the Experience Analytics component of Analytics, Roots now captures 100% of customer sessions, dives much deeper into real-world customer sessions, and responds to issues in real-time.

“We did not want pretty recordings — we wanted actionable insight,” Gabriela Mercer adds. “Of all the solutions we considered, we believe that Experience Analytics offers us more of the information we actually need to track down the root cause of issues. For example, if we notice that a significant number of users are landing on inactive pages, we can open Experience Analytics and actually see where those users are coming from.

“The Acoustic solution is centered on business impact. This insight helps us focus our efforts on fixing the issues with the biggest impact, which is particularly valuable during peak retail periods such as the holiday season. Moving fast in this way not only helps us provide customers a better experience, but we believe it also helps lift conversion rates and drive incremental sales”

“Acoustic does not just help you implement: they serve as trusted advisors that help you meet your business goals. We greatly value our partnership with Acoustic — particularly the opportunities to connect with our industry peers via Experience Analytics user groups, which have given us some exciting new ideas about how to use the solution.”

Gabriela Mercer, Manager eCommerce and Marketing analytics, Roots

Results: A superior shopping experience that increases retention and new customers

Roots is now using the Acoustic solution to highlight technical issues across channels that might have otherwise remained hidden — and is able to fix struggle issues 2.5x faster than before. “In the past, if we received customer feedback from the contact center that promo codes were not working on the website, it would have been extremely difficult to determine if the issue was the result of user error,” says Matthew Ryan. For example, when the company noticed a group of mobile customers reporting that the e-commerce site was slow to load, the insight was shared with developers, who quickly re-coded the site to deliver a more responsive customer experience.

As backend issues were solved, Roots was able to focus on delivering a greater customer experience. With internal and external partners connecting with the Roots website, the potential for code anomalies always existed. But with Experience Analytics, they’re now able to identify failing API codes, find the gaps, and alert the troubleshooting team — all without losing data or impairing the customer experience.

Experience Analytics can now layer anomaly alerts throughout key reports to help developers fix issues proactively. The tool pinpoints the specific pages driving spikes or gaps and can even determine specific images that aren’t loading correctly.

In addition, communication tools built into the Acoustic solution support the Roots customer experience team and their communication with other stakeholders. Live chats, real-time reviews, and side audits based on key pages help the design team ensure that the website follows brand guidelines.

“Experience Analytics has become an essential tool that we have embedded into our processes — from our web developers to our contact center agents,” concludes Gabriela Mercer. “Just as positive experiences drive retention, bad experiences can push customers away — and when it comes to online retail, the bar for quality is higher than ever. With Experience Analytics, we’re delivering best-in-class digital experiences to support our continued growth.”


Roots is a leading lifestyle apparel, leather goods, accessories and footwear brand with a rich Canadian heritage. Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company serves its customers through an omnichannel footprint and a global e-commerce platform. As of November 2019 Roots operated 115 company retail stores in Canada, seven company retail stores in the United States, 114 partner-operated stores in Taiwan, 35 partner-operated stores in China, and one partner-operated store in Hong Kong.