Kahuna Marketplaces: Tripling Buyer and Seller Retention with Churn Predictor and Smart Onboarding

By: Jacob Taylor | November 27, 2018 | Kahuna

As a marketplace operator, are you doing enough to retain your buyers and sellers? Ask any platform operator to name the biggest challenges they face when running a marketplace, and in most cases, they’ll cite buyer and seller retention.

Through our work with marketplaces across the globe (many of which are #1 in their respective regions), we’ve found that it’s not enough for marketplace platform operators to simply get buyers and sellers in the door. They need to have an effective strategy to build loyalty and retention across the board.

Buyers and sellers often go dormant because they:

  • Do not immediately see the goods and services they are looking for
  • Have negative interactions with the marketplace
  • Don’t see the full potential of the marketplace’s functionality
  • Get distracted and move onto a different marketplace platform

Rather than leaving marketplace operators on their own when developing their buyer and seller retention strategies, at Kahuna, we’ve developed 2 new features for our Kahuna Marketplaces product that enable platform operators to triple the number of buyers and sellers they onboard onto their marketplace, all while reducing churn by identifying times when the marketplace operator should step in to guide the buyer or seller.

Developing a smarter marketplace onboarding flow

Efficient marketplace onboarding campaigns begin with the Kahuna Marketplaces Orchestration functionality. This enables buyers and sellers to develop message flows—without touching a line of code—that ensure buyers and sellers get the most out of the marketplace.

In essence, the Kahuna Smart Onboarding solution is like a ‘drip’ marketing campaign, where buyers and sellers progress only after they’ve shown they understand the functionality at hand. In many cases we’ve found that these campaigns don’t have to be complex at all.

For example, we’ve found that one of the best ways to capture the attention of a buyer or seller is to simply remind them that the application is there. Think of it this way. A friend suggests you sign up for a marketplace, but at first glance it’s overwhelming or you don’t have the time to pay attention. With Kahuna, marketplace operators can go beyond sending generic web push notifications by also tailoring the messages to discuss specific functionality that is relevant to them.

In addition to helping to keep your marketplace platform top of mind, Kahuna also analyzes the beginnings of all relationships with your users to determine which are effective, which are not, and ways to improve onboarding flows to optimize user retention.

It’s a given that most buyers and sellers drop off the marketplace quickly. To develop an effective marketplace retention strategy, Kahuna analyzes user behavior and determines the options that the marketplace operator should be providing to buyers and sellers.

For example, in a classifieds marketplace, when a buyer performs a search and views 3 different listings, that indicates a higher likelihood to return. On the other hand, if a seller completes a search and then begins to create a listing, that can indicate that an intent to return.

The Kahuna Marketplaces Smart Onboarding solution enables you to break down the onboarding flow into simple steps so that buyers and sellers aren’t overwhelmed after arriving to your marketplace.

Identifying the signs that buyers and sellers will leave the marketplace

While the Kahuna Smart Onboarding solution helps buyers and sellers make the most of a marketplace’s functionality, it’s a given that not all users will complete the onboarding process. That’s where Kahuna Churn Prediction comes into play.

In order for an onboarding flow to be successful, buyers and sellers need to perform a series of targeted steps—this can be starting a listing, completing a set of searches, or something along those lines.

If a buyer or seller isn’t taking the targeted actions, Kahuna Churn Predictor alerts the marketplace operator so they can improve the onboarding process.

One of the most common metrics we’ve found across various campaign durations, be it 0 day or 7 day goals, is the amount of time that a user spends exploring and using the application. By knowing the ideal amount of time a user should be interacting with the marketplace, the platform operator is in a better position to evaluate their onboarding processes.

Kahuna Marketplaces Churn Predictor and Smart Onboarding in Action

Kahuna Marketplaces Smart Onboarding Churn Predictor

Getting started with Kahuna Marketplaces Churn Predictor and Smart Onboarding

If you’re thinking about getting started with Kahuna Marketplaces, but aren’t sure if it’s for your marketplace, consider this. In our experience, we’ve found the average marketplace has an 80% drop off rate on a user’s first day of using the marketplace.

After marketplaces leverage Kahuna powered campaigns using Orchestrations, Smart Onboarding, and Churn Prediction, platform operators are able to boost day 0 retention from 20% to 60%.

Currently, all Kahuna Marketplaces customers have access to Churn Predictor and Smart Onboarding, so you can get more out of your buyer and seller retention strategies.

Current Kahuna customers with questions about the functionality can contact their Customer Success specialist. If you are not yet a Kahuna customer, now is a perfect time to request a Kahuna demo.


To learn more about how the marketplace business model can help improve your profitability, check out The Kahuna Blog. Simply click the button below!

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Author: Jacob Taylor

Jacob Taylor is Head of Data Science and Co-Founder at Kahuna, where he's passionate about helping companies have meaningful conversations at scale. He believes brands should "Treat people as people, not numbers." Before starting Kahuna, Jacob worked on building high-performing scalable systems at Symantec, Octane Software, and Epiphany (now Infor) and was the Co-Founding CTO of SugarCRM, helping drive it from an initial vision to millions of installations around the world. Jacob holds a Bachelor's in Computer Science and Engineering from University of California, Los Angeles and a Master's in Artificial Intelligence.

Fun fact:

Jacob loves increasing performance and decreasing costs of products. In fact, in just one year, while adding new features, Kahuna’s traffic increased by 10x and the cost per billion events decreased by 10x!

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