Analytics for retail leaders

Mobile devices drive one-third of global e-commerce sales and that share is growing. As consumers purchase more and more from the smartphones in their pockets, e-commerce and retail companies have to match their businesses with the digital habits of today’s consumers – otherwise, they risk losing their time, attention, and dollars. As a result, many top retailers rate improving mobile experience as a top business priority in 2017.

Vente-Privee is the French e-commerce site that reinvented the flash sale in Europe. The product team there knew that “improving mobile experience” would quickly devolve into iterating based on intuition if they didn’t first develop a strong sense of customer behavior.

Catherine Spindler, CMO of Vente-Privee, opted for end-to-end analytics. That way, the product team could understand how users behave on web and mobile platforms and what it takes to actually take them to the final sale.

“Online shopping is the new normal. It's mission-critical for us to understand the entire journey of a customer, from browsing to buying." -Catherine Spindler, Chief Marketing Officer, Vente-Privee

Driving engagement

Vente-Privee had mechanisms for retention built in from the get-go. In France, clearance sales only happen twice a year. By giving its members daily access to discounted designer brands in every product category, Vente-Privee offers shoppers an entirely new, economical way to buy.

Still, the product team at Vente-Privee doesn’t take its members for granted – not a single one of the 25 million of them.

"Mixpanel provides us with the insights we need to optimize purchase funnels and build out a fashion ecosystem that our customers love and designer brands want to sell to." -Wanda Saint Paul, Web Analytics Manager, Vente-Privee

Acquiring (and retaining) six million loyal users

Vente-Privee’s Web Analytics Manager told us: “We chose Mixpanel because it allowed us to track our fifteen KPIs across different platforms like web, Android, and iOS. In addition, we were able to run A/B tests to tweak the product and optimize user behavior flows that created repeat buyers.

“On top of that, Mixpanel gives every account a unique ID, which gives us the ability to track users across devices.” This was particularly important to Vente-Privee, because its customers engage on both web and mobile – often within the same day and sometimes even the same hour.

Especially for mobile shoppers, distinct IDs were critical in sending targeted and timely Messages to customers to encourage a specific action.

With Mixpanel Messages, the team had the advantage of sending push notifications to certain users in a particular geolocation when there was a flash sale. Then, with Core Reports, they were able to monitor the downstream effects of creating the ultimate feedback loop with timely nudges.

“Frequent communication with our customers is really important given our business model. We don’t have physical stores, so we have to regularly encourage customers to come back on the site and app through email and push notifications.”

Because Vente-Privee offers new sales and brands every day, customers tend to come to the site more frequently. “In fact, we have customers who come to our mobile app every morning to browse.”

After using People properties in Mixpanel to map customer behavior across devices, the analytics team and her team learned that despite frequent visits, these mobile customers eventually end up buying on the site.

“Since sales open at 7 a.m., people would go on the mobile app at in the morning – maybe on their commute to work – to see what new items were available. Then, they would log back on later in the day on the desktop and purchase the items they had viewed on mobile.”

Two distinct advantages give Vente-Privee the power to see and understand customer journeys: “First, everything that our customers do on the site is logged on Mixpanel. There aren’t any actions the user can take without first signing into their account. Second, five months into our implementation of Mixpanel, we are able to understand cross-platform behavior – drilling down to the user level by device, country, and segment to improve re-engagement across our five different customer profiles.

“The mobile app (and the analytics) is key to building and understanding our loyal, long-term customers who buy from us again and again.”

Optimizing purchase funnels

In order to drive customer conversion, team members needed to be able to track customer purchasing patterns and user flows without having to ask for analytics resources.

With Mixpanel Funnels, Vente-Privee can see where their customers dropped off in an event sequence.

“We did customer analysis that revealed that many people add products to their cart in mobile and then buy them five minutes later on desktop. After seeing so many customers following that pattern we decided to improve the cart UX on the app. There would have been no way for us to find an insight like that without Mixpanel.”

It’s not only analysts and the features teams that use Vente-Privee’s self-serve tools to improve purchase funnels, iterate the product, and move the needle of its ultimate conversion metric.

Developers also use JQL – JavaScript Query Language – to build custom reports and answer more complex questions.

Especially for an e-commerce site like Vente-Privee, it’s important to understand all the different paths that lead to a purchase. With this goal in mind, Vente-Privee’s developers created a custom-built, multitouch linear attribution model with JQL, making it possible to analyze large volumes of traffic every day.

On the less technical side, marketing teams measured the effectiveness of their email marketing and advertising campaigns. Through Mixpanel, they’re able to assess the ROI of their marketing budget and feel confident in how they allocated resources in order to influence customer conversion.

From understanding the purchase funnel to improving it, Vente-Privee’s team also used data to improve customer service post-sale. Quality customer care is a key part of Vente-Privee’s brand, and now they can standardize and improve each experience with data.

“Before, we couldn’t match customer care data with navigation data. Now, we can find the specific users and track the actions they took on the site before and after contacting customer care,” Wanda explains.

Using that data, Vente-Privee’s customer care team ini?ated a preventative and proactive approach to service. “We look at the data in Mixpanel to see if our response was effective – that is, if the customer came back. Then, we determine and solve the problem that caused the customer to contact customer care in the first place, so that future users that take the same path become customers, too.”

What's next

Vente-Privee is ahead of the curve when it comes to optimizing its platforms and channels to improve conversion and revenue goals. As they continue to grow, teams at Vente-Privee will look to product analytics not only to understand how shoppers’ behaviors can help them improve products and expand their customer base, but also to find anomalies in the data and identify new user trends.

“With Mixpanel, we can learn and iterate our platforms to improve the shopping experience for our customers.” Catherine, Vente-Privee’s CMO continues:

“Crunching large volumes of data to uncover the trends we couldn’t see by ourselves is what keeps us ahead. That’s why Mixpanel’s machine learning and anomaly detection is key to constantly improving our shopper experience.” -Catherine Spindler, Chief Marketing Officer, Vente-Privee

“Machine learning is very important for large e-commerce companies who have to anticipate customer behavior within a base of hundreds of millions,” says Wanda. “Still, it’s never just about making analytics the best it can be for data analysts, but also the best they can be for the entire company.”