In this Retail Roundup Rob Smith, MD of Blueleaf, discusses the 'radar' principle. How can you use this approach to continually assess and improve what's going on in your business? Rob talks about limiting the big bangs and encouraging a culture of continual improvements.

Please find below, a transcript of this video. Just in case you've forgotten your headphones:

Hello, this is Rob Smith MD of Blueleaf and in today's Retail Roundup I'm going to talk about 'radar'. 

Radar, as many of you will know, was invented around the time of World War Two because we wanted aircrafts, ships and numerous people to be able to see what was coming from every direction. Radar is a continuous sweep that's always going and always detecting new signals. 

So how is this relevant to today's ecommerce world? Well, I think there are quite a few retailers out there who are not using the radar concept. They do a large, one-off project such as a UX audit, a large optimisation project, refactoring of code or a speed audit. They focus on that big project until they get to the end, then the same thing happens again with a new project. It's a big bang, big fix, big bang, big fix. 

The problem with this is that, as you'll hear in my other videos, retailers should be continuously optimising, testing and making gradual changes. Therefore, all these projects should be run as a radar sweep, which means regularly and in small areas, to make sure we don't get hung up on the big bang. The issue with the big bang is that it 'solves' the issue then it's left for a long period of time, while the next big project is being actioned. However, you'll never 'solve' the issues of usability or website speed; things are always changing. In six months' time the landscape will be completely different so if your radar isn't continually going, you're not going to be picking up areas that could be a much higher priority than your big bang project.  

For example, if you underwent a big UX audit, then over the course of a month or two you should have fixed most of the issues but some may linger on. It could be three or four months until you can say "it's done". So it could take four months to 'fix' one issue and the last couple of months, you're looking at minor tweaks. If you were to run a radar scan every month you'd have picked up other high priority issues, ones that could have significantly increased your revenue. 

So the message for this video is to always use the radar principle. Get your radars going in lots of different areas: speed, code, UX, processes etc to make sure they're continually looking across all the principles of ecommerce and not focusing in one area for too long. 

I hope this has helped, thanks for listening.