Airfrov Case Study: Enhancing the eCommerce experience with data analytics
How Airfrov delivers a top notch eCommerce service, by using data on Holistics to discover new growth opportunities and to improve their platform and product.
Before Holistics, if I wanted to make a promotion, I’d need three hours to see and extract the data. With Holistics, I just need [less than] 10 minutes… It’s really made my work easier.
Novia Citra Valinca
Digital Marketing Executive, Airfrov
Airfrov is a peer-to-peer marketplace that matches locals who want to buy things from overseas with travellers who have extra luggage space. It was launched in 2014 and has operations in Indonesia and Singapore.
Facing competition in an increasingly crowded customer-to-customer (C2C) e-commerce space, Airfrov aims to keep shoppers on its app by constantly finding new and interesting products that are unavailable in their home country. This requires Airfrov to accurately gauge customer demand and spot emerging trends. To do this, the company needs to have full visibility into what users are searching for on its app. It also needs to understand and avoid negative user experiences, whether they’re caused by app features and bugs or by cancelled requests.
To allow its marketing, operations, and user experience teams to see data, gain insights, and respond to user behaviour in real time, Airfrov turned to Holistics.
How to identify and predict user demand and reduce negative experiences
While Airfrov’s business model makes it appealing to shoppers who want the latest trends from abroad, the same factors that entice customers to the platform also cause its problems.
For instance, while travellers can gain a bit of extra income by bringing home items for app users, they might fail to deliver on their commitment. Anyone who’s been expecting a novel item from outside the country and ended up receiving nothing will know just how disappointing that experience is. Airfrov needs to prevent such situations from happening.
As the items that can be acquired through Airfrov come from countries like Korea, Japan, Australia and elsewhere, Airfrov’s marketing team needs to constantly research on trending products around the world. “We need to be fast, before our competitors find out the trending product,” says Kanti Rahayu Ciptoningrum, Business Development Executive at Airfrov. And of course, Airfrov needs to keep track of its actual gross merchandise volume (GMV) each month. This includes understanding GMV per traveller and how cancellations affect GMV and revenue.
For each of these scenarios, it’s typically personnel from the operations, marketing, product, and user experience teams that make decisions. Previously, to get hold of data that would serve as a basis for these decisions, these team had to request their data analytics staff or programmers to write code to input into phpMyAdmin, a MySQL database management application. This back and forth process would take at least three hours.
This compounding situation took its toll over time, with all the types of data they would need to see in a day. Because of this, Airfrov’s digital marketing team would look at data only once a week on average, says Novia Citra Valinca, Digital Marketing Executive at Airfrov. Such a process also made real-time data visibility difficult, and involves the risk of having a competitor beat them to the punch in offering a new trending item.
If you want to see the easiest way to see the data from your company, use Holistics because it’s an incredible platform.
– Novia Citra Valinca, Digital Marketing Executive, Airfrov
Simplifying data access and presentation
When Airfrov started its trial of Holistics in 2017, it took the marketing, business development, and operations teams a week or less to learn it. For Kanti and Citra, the ease of use has allowed them to access data at least twice a day. Kanti now begins her Mondays with Holistics, to plan out her week and what latest products she should stock on the platform.
“Before, if I wanted to make a promotion, I’d need three hours to see the data. [With] Holistics, I need [less than] 10 minutes to see and extract data. I can share it with the team and make decisions,” says Citra. Around 90% of marketers in the company now use data regularly to make marketing decisions, Citra adds.
App designers can also observe user behaviour on the app to analyse the effectiveness of new features. Business development teams are able to have a headstart on the competition by seeing in real time what products many users are searching for in the app, and forging relationships with retailers abroad that sell those items.
Today, different Airfrov teams use Holistics to track a variety of metrics and data, such as:
- Number of item requests
- Growth rate of requests
- User sign-up rate
- Cancellation rate
- GMV total and per traveller
- Product demand and keyword searches
From the Holistics platform, different teams receive reports with relevant data on a weekly basis. These reports are automatically scheduled to be sent out by email.
I really love your dashboard! I can see real-time progress in our apps, websites, marketing campaigns till the end of the month.
– Kanti Rahayu Ciptoningrum, Business Development Executive, Airfrov
How Airfrov uses Holistics
Citra and her team use Holistics to create custom audiences for Facebook advertising. Custom audiences on Facebook may include a wide array of data, such as contact details, customer lifetime value, and actions like purchasing, adding an item to one’s cart or favorites list, viewing content and more.
Data like trending items, keywords searched, product requests, and fulfilment rates also help the marketing team decide what promotions to run. For instance, if they notice a high number of requests for a product but the fulfilment rate is low, they decide not to promote it, to avoid the chances of users being disappointed by cancellations or denials. If both demand and fulfilment rate are high, the marketing team promotes the product to users.
With visibility into the app and website data, the business development team doesn’t have to grasp in the dark when deciding which products to add to the platform. Kanti and her teammates use Holistics to identify trends in keyword searches on Airfrov.
For example, Kanti noticed a spike in October in searches for “find kapoor bag”. She conducted research and found out that it was a trending bag in Korea. Best of all, there was no supplier for the bag in Indonesia.
They decided to offer the bag through Airfrov, becoming a first mover by beating both competitor apps and potential local sellers. Purchases of the bag contributed a significant amount to their GMV for that month.
Data accessed through Holistics also helps them personalise recommendations to users. “I make a recommendation then see how users react, if they put it in their wishlist or directly make a request,” says Kanti.
Komang Adelia Nala Ratih, one of Airfrov’s UX designers, uses Holistics to analyze the results of a design sprint and figuring out when and what the next one should be. They set goals for a new feature use data to find out the outcome. They also analyze how a certain design change or new feature affects GMV.
The UX team tests a new feature each month, with each sprint lasting two to three weeks. One of these sprints involved a change in the flow of processing customers’ requests. When the number of requests processed subsequently went down, they reverted to the previous processing flow to regain volume.
For instance, they rolled out a referral system that would reward users for encouraging other people to use the app. To understand whether this system was effective or not, they monitored how many people made referrals and how many new users used the referral code. “Data is very important for us here at Airfrov because it helps us to improve our product,” says Muhammad Bahrul Ulum, Customer Happiness and Operations at Airfrov.
Future Of Data at Airfrov
Staying one step ahead with data
Southeast Asia is fast on track to becoming one of the world’s largest e-commerce markets, with Google and Temasek predicting in a 2017 report that the region will have a $200 billion Internet economy by 2025.
To thrive and compete, e-commerce platforms need to be aware of their customers’ ever-changing desires and provide a consistently positive user experience. Being able to test features, predict product demand, and analyze revenue sources will help keep Aifrov one step ahead of the competition.
“Now, with data, I can understand our user better and, most importantly, I can forecast,“ says Kanti. "The data helps me to decide what I will do in the short and long term.”
Tips & tricks from the Airfrov team
- Export data from Holistics and use it to create a custom audience for Facebook ads.
- Test features thoroughly one at a time, by analyzing how they impact user experience and revenue.
- Focus on a key metric—for example, GMV—and determine how different factors affect it.
- Predict customer demand and emerging trends by paying attention to product searches—even when only a few people are searching for those specific keywords.
- Plan out your week every Monday morning with the guidance of data reports.