Global peer-to-peer shopping and travel marketplace, Grabr, uses Mixpanel to gain crucial insights by analyzing billions of events, resulting in a 117X increase in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV).

117X increase in Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV)
2X increase in referrals signups
1M+ people on the platform

With Mixpanel, we can isolate user trends and nudge users in order to take a specific action, whether that’s to post a grab or shop again.

Christina Leigh Morgan, Marketing Director at Grabr
Company

Grabr, the global peer-to-peer shopping and travel marketplace, offers users a friendlier way for people to shop for international purchases around the globe.  At a time when international travel has grown to 1.3 billion flights per year—a 40% increase over the past decade—the ease of buying goods across borders hasn’t changed. High fees still dissuade many shoppers from making transnational purchases.

The Grabr marketplace solves this problem by connecting people who want to buy unique, hard to find products, as well as save money by connecting with travelers who can make money by buying and bringing products on their trips, as well as meet locals. Travelers have access to more affordable and meaningful travel experience by monetizing extra space in their suitcase. Shoppers receive the products they want while saving on tariffs, and Grabr monetizes this commerce by taking a small percentage of each transaction.

“We provide shoppers access to things they can’t get locally and travelers get subsidized trips so they can travel more often,” said Christina Leigh Morgan, Marketing Director at Grabr.

Goals

Grabr needed a way to track and measure user behaviors for the purpose of developing growth strategies. “We needed a way to eliminate the guesswork, and that’s essentially what Mixpanel does for us,” said Christina.” The metrics they set out to identify were the ratio of travelers to shoppers—or liquidity— user growth, and gross merchandise volume (GMV). “Our most important metric is liquidity, which is defined by the percentage of people who publish a ‘grab’ (request a product) and then the number of those requests that actually gets delivered.”

Also, Grabr project managers believed that user insights would help drive platform innovation, product development, help identify where to allocate resources, and implement data-informed growth strategies, such as which regions Grabr should expand to. “To achieve our growth objectives, we knew we’d have to let data guide our decisions,” said Christina.

Solution

Grabr chose Mixpanel because it was the most flexible platform they could find and it provided user insights data that product, marketing, growth, and customer support teams could access in real-time to make smarter decisions. “So many companies choose Mixpanel because it’s a fast and flexible platform. Mixpanel doesn’t slow down when you accumulate lots of data like other platforms. And unlike Google Analytics, which only displays sample data, Mixpanel gives you the whole dataset so you can actually rely on it to make decisions.”

Using Mixpanel features

With Mixpanel Core Reports, such as Segmentation, Funnels, and Retention, project managers could query user behavior from billions of tracked events as users and their devices circumnavigate the globe.

With Mixpanel Funnels, teams saw precisely how travelers and shoppers navigate the platform. Where there were drop-offs, the team could make changes. “Funnels is useful because it allows us to look at the unique number of people who took an action, such as visiting the homepage, and then completed another action, such as publishing a grab or accepting an offer,” explained Christina. “Then we can filter it down to something as specific as the behaviors of shoppers from a certain city. Being able to track the number of transactions on Mixpanel and then segment deeper to understand users who transact (and continue to transact) means that we have efficiency for Grabr users and our marketing team, too,” explained Christina. “We’re getting people to do the same purchase or delivery again and again because they find value in the marketplace, which is exactly what we want to see to drive the business.” The result of knowing what actions users take, and in what order, helps the team eliminate steps in the journey and better allocate their marketing budget. “Once we understand user journeys, we can flip over to retention to look at how we’re retaining each new cohort. It lets us see where our feature changes and acquisition spend pay off.”

Testing and messaging

With A/B testing and Messaging, project managers tried new variants of the app’s interface and with user-targeted marketing down different user paths, they encouraged Grabr subscribers to transact repeatedly. “With Mixpanel, we can isolate user trends and nudge users to take a specific action, whether that’s to post a grab or shop again. By sending relevant communications tied to a user’s actions, we are more efficient in our marketing and can more effectively encourage people to re-engage with the platform.”

Identifying new areas of growth with Insights

Saphh Li, product and growth expert at Grabr, shared how the marketplace capitalized on user insights to identify new areas of growth. Access to specific user data allowed the team to market and serve user segments differently, too. “We might find that Argentinian shoppers need fewer nudges to post a ‘grab’ compared to Brazilian shoppers,” said Sapph Li. “That type of targeting increases our conversions with each group. It’s important that we get precise market data because two countries may be relatively close in proximity, but each functions very differently as markets. Also, we’re able to create localized reports for different regions, and then build out features and automated support documentation based on those user insights. That’s how we serve our diverse customer base and help them move through the platform more easily.”

Results
Personalizing the platform

Early on, Mixpanel helped Grabr identify which markets to prioritize and the languages to offer by pinpointing the home location of travelers and shoppers, including where trips initiated and terminated. “In the beginning, we had a hunch that all of our shoppers would be US citizens visiting markets like Argentina, Brazil, or Russia,” explained Sapph Li. “After digging through user trends with Insights, we were surprised to find that we had it all backward. Many of the people making offers—that is, agreeing to pick up items for shoppers—lived in Latin America, and were bringing products back from the U.S.”  

Mixpanel Insights reports also provided a framework for explaining to people new to the site on how to use Grabr. One example is how the marketing team created educational content, like how to navigate U.S. customs, in languages spoken by different Grabr cohorts.

Something else Insights data showed, which was a revelation to the company, was that a large number of shoppers from South and Central America, Europe, and elsewhere, wanted products delivered from the US. So the Grabr team invested in studying international markets. “It’s common for people in Brazil to wait for family or friends to travel and bring things back for them,” said Michelle Chahin, Grabr’s Brazil-based marketing manager. It’s important that Brazilian shoppers to know that Grabr technology is a perfect fit for them. 

Increasing conversions for referred shoppers

One insightful Grabr team member felt compelled to look at user referral numbers, anticipating the possibility of growth for this cohort. So they created a weekly report detailing the percentage of GMV from referrals. While the numbers were high, there was discussion internally that promoting the referral system would help improve the numbers. But Christina, a long-time growth expert and former co-founder of a referral marketing software company, had a different vision. She used Mixpanel Funnels reports to compare two different Grabr funnels: shoppers who signed up and completed a transaction at a later date versus referred shoppers who signed up and transacted in short order. The report showed that referred users were more valuable because they were 7x more likely to convert. However, the Grabr’s signup rate for those referrals was low. And at that stage, the referred user base was underperforming compared to other groups. So the team studied the funnel from top to bottom—signup to order delivery and payment—and found that it wasn’t very efficient. “These highly qualified users should have been converting at a higher rate,” said Sapph. “It didn’t make sense.” Had the team promoted Grabr’s referral system, they might have well just poured those highly qualified leads down the drain.

“Insights from Mixpanel really changed our thinking,” said Christine. “We had to become more efficient, not simply use brute force. Unlike newly acquired users, referrals are a limited pool. If people keep referring people who don’t sign up, and that friend doesn’t get a referral bonus, users will get discouraged and stop promoting Grabr.”

The team started testing and improving the stages where conversions were low. “We immediately made a series of modifications to the referral landing page,” said Sapph. “And then we A/B tested placements, fonts, and colors against each other.” Making iterations based on hard data, rather than historical insights and experience, made all the difference. The number of people who signed up in the referral cohort doubled. Once they accomplished growing referral signups, and the referral funnel was running efficiently, the team then started promoting the referral program. The key to growing this cohort was eliminating the friction that prevented new users from transacting. “We’re always looking for points of leverage like that,” said Christina. “Helping us discover important areas of opportunity with user insights is, we believe, one of Mixpanel’s biggest strengths.”

Developing a culture of experimentation

As the team began to collect more data on user behaviors, they found that the most expedient way to conduct tests was through Mixpanel Messaging. “Having Messages is really important for our experiments,” said Sapph. “It gives us a way to test whether we could motivate a certain behavior by offering an incentive or a reminder, and do it from the same interface.”

Some of Grabr’s test messages were automated. For example, shoppers who didn’t receive an offer on their grab within a certain number of days would receive an automatic reminder. Other messages were one-off. “All the messages we send with Mixpanel are some type of nudge,” explained Christina. “Whether it’s a customer’s receipt with a breakdown or a test to see what happens if someone gets an alert.”

Mixpanel’s centralized repository for all user data made robust testing possible. “We can trust our segmentations because we have their country, language, user history, how many orders they received, and more, all in Mixpanel,” said Sapph. “We can create unique messages for each audience so they’re more relevant and interesting to that cohort.”

One lesson the Grabr team learned was that every campaign must be fundamentally two-sided. Travelers and shoppers have very different motivations and behaviors. So project managers had to be able to create a different version of each message. Mixpanel accommodated that requirement.

Combining data sources

With Mixpanel’s Platform, Grabr used its bidirectional integration to Zendesk to examine customer support data and product data together with powerful data visualization and reporting from Mixpanel Insights. It helped the customer support team to be more informed and resolve tickets faster. “These powerful integrations help us make better decisions about how we scale our customer service team and where we automate our support efforts,” said Christina. “For example, through testing, we learned where exactly to place a product in our notifications flow so that it would better educate new shoppers about their frequently asked questions. Implementing this change reduced the number of inquiries to the support team.”

Further, by using Mixpanel to track and measure the types of questions users asked, the Grabr team was able to identify where to invest support resources, including what educational content to build out. With more automated support content, they saw time-to-resolution decrease and more customers received answers faster, which means they were able to accelerate in their purchasing journey. “We can filter metrics by things like ticket-close times, order history, region, or country,” explained Christina. “With Mixpanel, we always know exactly where we need to add support resources.”

“Our agents are also able to rely on user data when resolving tickets in their day-to-day work.”

With Mixpanel, Grabr support agents could access a user’s activity history, which helps the agent quickly understand the customer’s problem. Having information like this at their fingertips reduces the number of questions agents have to ask users, which helps them close tickets faster. It helped create an overall better customer experience and kept the product team updated on the most popular feature requests in real time.

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