Jet.com is an online retailer promising savings and speedy delivery on millions of products in their catalogue – everything from washing powder to sofas. When the company grew from a few hundred employees to 1,300 people spread out across six offices in just six months, Jet needed to find an efficient way to connect all their employees and give them visibility into the extraordinary amount of stock and customer data they need to keep the business running. Now Jet is using Slack as the central hub for employee communication while also using it to gather important system alerts and updates from the various applications they use.
With e-commerce, the shop is never closed. Slack helps us get together quickly when there are issues. The ability to be always on, located in the same place and have a common touch point where data can be shared is vital to us.
To ensure customers are getting the best deals, Jet uses their real-time pricing engine that adjusts product prices minute-by-minute. The algorithm takes into account where products are located, which could be in Jet’s warehouses or one of thousands of warehouses and distribution centres Jet is partnered with across the United States. When a customer submits an order, Jet’s algorithm takes a product’s price, delivery location and delivery time (along with other key elements) into account to make sure the customer is getting the best deal.
One of the biggest challenges Hanlon and his team faced before using Slack was staying on top of all the automated alerts generated by the many apps they use to track product data. “No matter how good of a system you develop, it can get noisy,” says Hanlon. “The traditional method of sending out this type of communication is email, but people start ignoring it because their inbox already gets so much volume, so they naturally stop paying attention.”
“The traditional method of sending out this type of communication is email, but people start ignoring it because their inbox already gets so much volume, so they naturally stop paying attention.”
Integrations like Jenkins for releases and Pagerduty for issue tracking help the team be even more productive by funnelling alerts from multiple systems into separate channels in Slack, allowing stakeholders and team members from across the organisation to view and discuss them. They’ve even set up their own bots and custom-built integrations that alert the team of issues with the website and monitor which orders are in the queue to be processed.
For example, one bot alerts team members of changes or anomalies in SKUs (stock-keeping units), like when a product suddenly starts to sell quickly, in unusually high quantities or conversely, when sales become abnormally slow. When this happens, their custom-built integration “Dr Doom” (named in line with their superhero-themed tech systems) directly alerts the manager responsible for that product and its pricing. That manager can then immediately communicate both with the warehouse team and with other teams within the company to resolve the issue. This is tremendously important, Hanlon explains, given that any issue with product pricing or availability poses a big risk for the business.
Before we had one spot for all our updates, we lost a lot of time piecing together data from multiple sources. With Slack, we’re able to streamline that process very efficiently.
Jet’s core values are trust, transparency and fairness. Hanlon sees Slack as an integral part of helping employees within the company live these values. “When everything is out in the open, there’s a sense of trust between people,” he says, “everybody’s on the same page. The objective is extremely clear and, even though there are more than 1,500 of us now, we can really keep that team feeling of being unified towards a common objective.”