We recently caught up with Claire-Alix from Vente-Privee about how launching an app can have a positive effect on web-focused business. We were keen to find out what Vente-Privee learned along the way, and also how they managed to merge two very different worlds: desktop and mobile.
Q: Can you tell us about Vente-Privee? What kind of services or products do you offer?
A: Vente-Privee is the original flash sales site, giving designer brands a platform to sell discounted goods to exclusive members without diluting their brand image. The idea first came to light back in 2001 by Jacques-Antoine Granjon, the CEO. The difference between Vente Privee and other sites is that it’s only for members, and members benefit from discounts of up to 70 percent! This gives everyone a VIP feeling of exclusivity.
To date we have 35 million members in Europe across ten European countries. We launched online almost 16 years ago. Back then we were only a web-based platform, but with the emergence of mobile we launched our app a few years ago, in order to meet our members’ growing need for convenience and shopping on the go.
Q: At the moment you have both an app and a website. Do you see any differences in performance between platforms?
A: Desktop and mobile are very different platforms. When we launched the app we actually didn’t expect that; we thought that mobile would be a kind-of extension of our website. What we learned was that it definitely was not and they needed to be tracked and treated quite differently
For us, tracking web was straightforward; we used cookies and did the typical things like optimize based on performance, and implement paid media tactics to drive traffic.
When we wanted to launch app installs campaigns, it was like a black box. Without tracking we would not be able to see the full picture of our paid acquisition members.
As our traffic is 100 percent logged, we are able to track the full user journey between mobile and desktop. Our only missing point was being able to attribute the first install of the app!
Q: As I understand it, your ultimate goal was to track the full user journey between desktop and mobile and vice versa.
A: Yes! To start, we wanted to see if developing an app was even a good idea, eg. would it help boost our sales, activate users we might not have reached on desktop and so on.
Thanks to our internal data, we learned that user behaviour across desktop and mobile was quite different and that a purchase process can start on mobile and be finalized later on desktop.
User Acquisition Europe,
Integrating Adjust enabled us to track our app performance, including all incoming installs, custom member IDs, and things like purchases and much more. Moreover, we were able to merge the data we collected from Adjust to the information we collected from the web, so in essence we merged the data from both platforms so we could see the full user journey. It was the perfect tool to fully understand and monitor our paid acquisition.
Q: You mentioned merging desktop and mobile - how did you actually do that?
Firstly, I would like to mention that it was incredibly important for us to make sure that we were able to do cross-device tracking, to understand the user purchase journey and correctly attribute a purchase or a registration to a traffic source. Adjust gave us all the possibilities to do this.
We assigned every traffic source with a unique code which we associated with a campaign, eg. fashion Facebook campaign, affiliate website number 3, etc. This code appeared on every redirect link on desktop and the name of the campaign for mobile. So when a member clicks, adds to cart, views or makes a purchase all this information reaches us through the Adjust callback. As soon as this happens we register the code and the user action in our own CRM.
After the user has downloaded the app, a purchase could realistically happen in the first 15 minutes, but in some cases it can take months. So our cross-device tracking allows us to create an individualised approach to tracking LTV and comparing ROI across channels.
Q: What other means of user engagement do you use?
We wanted it to be as easy as possible for people to become members and use our app, so we used Facebook Connect. It makes things really easy for users, although it was a bit challenging for us to actually get it working.
The biggest hiccup,we noticed, was that we were getting the data back asynchronously. This meant that we were not getting the data in real time, so we weren’t able to get the callback before the registration event. We solved this by using deep links to pass the tracking codes we mentioned before.
Deep links were great, not just because they passed back the tracking code we needed to do cross-device tracking, but they also increased our UX. As an example, we now use them to redirect on a specific product page post registration or login.
Q: So it’s safe to assume that tracking the full user journey and optimizing on events was a good investment?
100 percent yes. We started seeing our users adopt mobile in ways that we didn’t expect, and much faster than we expected. For example, mobile commerce accounted for more than 50 percent of all web sales. 63 percent out of our 83.3 million monthly visits are via mobile.
The most interesting phenomenon we saw was that mobile acted as a catalyst for web sales - the majority of web sales made are from users who also opened the app to browse, ultimately making their final purchase online.
One probable reason is that people are more used to making purchases on desktop, though the switch in traffic from web to mobile is so huge we have a strong share of revenue in mobile as well.
To date, we’re spending nearly 70 percent of our marketing budget on acquiring and retaining our mobile users because we know that they will ultimately convert. That’s not to say that it was always easy. We’ve learned a lot along the way.
Q: What is the most important lesson you learned during this process?
Launching an app for us has been an important lesson - it’s not just about driving traffic to one channel, but driving traffic to all channels. Purchase behaviour is individualized, and with the proper tools you are able to collect and analyze data in a way that can really boost your business - nurturing the user on the platform they’re most likely to convert on.