KAI Group increases e-commerce sales by 25% with Mixpanel and High Concept - Mixpanel

Japanese household goods manufacturer, KAI Group, increases ecommerce sales by 25% with High Concept and Mixpanel.

With High Concept and Mixpanel’s help, we were able to boost overall customer engagement and conversions, resulting in a 25% increase in ecommerce sales. We have been very impressed with our Mixpanel experience so far.

Hiroki Takeuchi, KAI Group
  • Improve ecommerce sales for KAI Group
  • Lack of product analytics, messaging, and experimentation tool
  • Increase abandoned cart email conversions by testing timing and tailored content
  • Engage customers by building own mobile app
  • 25% increase in ecommerce sales in 14 months
  • 13% increase in overall abandoned cart email conversions
  • 10% increase in abandoned cart email conversions during Black Friday sale
  • 45% average email open rates

KAI Group was founded in 1908 in Seki, Japan, a city with an 800-year history of forging blades. While the company is most famous for its Shun knives, the company also manufactures more than 10,000 products, ranging from kitchen knives and razors to nail scissors, medical knives, and industrial blades. Among its corporate credos are “putting the customer first” and “innovating in every job, every day.”

Their solution partner, High Concept, is an award-winning web marketing and development agency with high-profile clients including Nike Japan, NHK, Avex, and MTV Japan. “At High Concept, we take pride in our ability to serve our clients’ needs by combining technology and data in innovative ways,” said Luis Ramirez, Digital Strategy Director, High Concept. 


KAI Group’s ecommerce team wanted to boost the company’s online sales and turned to High Concept for their expertise.

“During the discovery phase, we realized that KAI Group had Google Analytics in place, but did not have a platform for product analytics, messaging and experimentation. We recommended that they use Mixpanel due to its depth of analytics and competitive pricing. We also liked that Mixpanel’s messaging tool is easy to implement, while similar tools can take weeks to deploy, are not as user-friendly, and require an engineer for assistance,” said Luis. “We helped KAI Group map out a success plan based on their pain points and KPIs, which we then used to build their implementation with Mixpanel.” 

Figuring out the best time to send abandoned cart emails

KAI Group’s ecommerce team wanted to increase their online sales, so High Concept decided the best place to start would be increasing the conversion rate on abandoned cart emails (emails reminding users that they still have items left in their shopping cart). Originally, KAI Group was sending these emails 48 hours after users left the site. Out of courtesy to their users, they were also only sending these emails during lunchtime, however, High Concept knew that not everyone preferred to shop online at lunch. 

The agency used Mixpanel’s messaging tool to test several different time frames: 3 hours later, 6 hours later, 12 hours later, and 24 hours later. With Mixpanel, they could see that 24 hours later yielded the best results, increasing the average conversion rate from 7% to 20%. 

Increasing success of Black Friday sales

High Concept also used Mixpanel to help them increase the success of KAI Group’s Black Friday campaigns. The company strategy is to sell popular products like Shun knives at a high discount, however, due to the increased demand, some of the items typically sell out within an hour.

To address this issue, High Concept decided to try sending the abandoned cart email one hour after people added a product to their cart. Their hypothesis was that this tactic would re-engage those who weren’t able to purchase if the stock ran out. The email contained tailored content and product suggestions, along with a coupon, so that the customer could potentially find something else they were interested in during the sale. As a result, the abandoned cart conversion rate jumped to 30% during this campaign (an increase of 10% from the overall rate). 

Boosting email open rates with tailored content

With Mixpanel’s Insights report, which lets you analyze user data as a current snapshot or a trend over time, High Concept was able to compile the top 50 keywords customers used when searching the KAI Group website. This helped them develop a strategy around what type of content to send for each product. 

“Each product has a different target audience. For example, Shun knives are for cooking aficionados or semi-professionals; the average household doesn’t have them. On the other hand, KAI Group also sells common household tools like nail clippers, so the target audiences are quite different,” said Luis, “There was clearly a need to tailor our content based on the personas that we discovered in Mixpanel.” 

High Concept came up with a hypothesis which would influence how they tailored their email content to increase cart checkout conversions: KAI Group is a household name in Japan, but they are mostly known for their knives. Therefore, for their other products, perhaps customers will add the item to the cart, but don’t checkout because they’re not sure if it’s the right product for their needs. 

“We performed A/B tests in Mixpanel to analyze what kind of content would convert. We learned that what performed best was sending an email linking to a landing page about how to use the selected product,” said Luis. “This email would be triggered once a person searched for something on the KAI Group website. 24 hours later, they would receive an email with content about how to use the kinds of products that they had searched for. For example, if it was a Shun knife, we would show a video displaying all the items the knife could cut: chicken, fish, vegetables, etc.” 

High Concept also experimented with different subject lines to see which would have the highest open rate. The result: email open rates increased to 40-50%.

Further engaging users with a mobile app

High Concept also worked with KAI Group to create their own app, which enabled them to further engage users through push notifications. 


As a result of these combined efforts, KAI Group’s ecommerce sales increased by 25% over a period of 14 months.

Favorite Features
Staying up-to-date with Dashboards

“With Dashboards, we can see all of the most important metrics in one place. The KAI Group team checks their dashboards every day for the most up-to-date information.” 

Analyzing how users convert using Funnels

“The Funnels feature helped us make several UX improvements around how users convert. For example, we were able to analyze how the traditional Japanese checkout flow—which involves filling out more than 20 fields—causes friction. Based on these insights, we worked with KAI Group to implement Amazon Pay, which made the process more seamless and contributed to the 25% increase in ecommerce revenue.” 

Learning more about repeat customers with Flows

“Our Mixpanel solutions architect helped us set up a Flows report which tracks conversions of our repeat customers and their purchases with a complete mapping of all steps involved. We can easily filter out all other events, discover what purchase trends mean, and gain insights into future cross-sell recommendations.

For example, Flows helped KAI Group uncover that customers who purchase a frying pan are more likely to buy again. As a result, the team also went on Facebook and began targeting people who liked other frying pan brands.” 

Targeting the right customers with Cohorts

“With Cohorts, we can easily group users from other reports and import them into Facebook to build Lookalike Audiences. It’s also great for uncovering insights: by sorting users into different Cohorts based on how many items were left in their carts, we found that users with one item in their cart barely converted, while people with two to three items were high converters.” 

What's Next?

High Concept has also worked with KAI Group on a “cutting-edge” prototype: an IoT knife, where everything the blade cuts something, it’s tracked in Mixpanel. This is intended to help KAI Group understand how vital knives are to the kitchen, as well as generate post-purchase insights about how customers use the product and the frequency.

Our Mixpanel solutions architect helped us set up a Flows report which tracks conversions of our repeat customers and their purchases with a complete mapping of all steps involved. We can easily filter out all other events, discover what purchase trends mean, and gain insights into future cross-sell recommendations.

Luis Ramirez, Digital Strategy Director, High Concept