Mobile growthJune 9, 2020

How Route improved tool onboarding speed and time-to-value by 79%

The Route app lets users track every package they've ordered, from any store and using any carrier, as purchases make their way to their homes. But tracking all of those packages as they travel across the country requires a seriously agile infrastructure capable of handling real-time data. Learn how Route uses mParticle as the foundational hub for their tech stack, allowing them to onboard new tools 79% faster than before to provide customers with the functionality they need without pulling engineering from core development work.

Overview

If you’ve ever desperately searched through your inbox to find the tracking information for one package, you already can relate to the headache that Route is designed to solve. The Route App, available for both iOS and Android, automatically collects order and shipping information from all your favorite retailers and centralizes it in a real-time visual dashboard, so you can see where your packages are at any time. Route also offers insurance for 1% of the purchase price, helping customers feel even more at ease throughout the shipping process. 

But if you know the pain of dealing with just one tracking number, you can imagine the complexity of the data pipelines and infrastructure needed to successfully track all of Route's customers' packages in real time—especially as new stores and delivery services are added to the app or existing partners change their internal systems.

The challenge

As user adoption increased, the Growth team at Route, led by Nick Warner, realized that to meet the changing needs of their customers, they needed to ensure they would be able to quickly add services and functionality to the app. To do so, they would need to put processes in place that would allow them to continue to scale rapidly without having to rely on their already-limited engineering resources. 

The Route team knew that there were specific best-in-breed tools that they wanted to employ, but they were hesitant to ask their developers to add additional SDKs into the app to collect and use their customer data for marketing initiatives, as it could cause delays in the app release cycles, increase app instability and latency, and could lead the team to de-prioritizing customer-facing problems to accommodate internal needs. Additionally, the Route team wanted to avoid the typical slow, unwieldy, manual process of having to go back and forth with engineering to try and pull the right data every time they considered creating a new segment or onboard a new marketing tool, for example.  To meet the demands of increasing amounts of tracking data and improve the overall functionality and user experience of the Route App, the growth team decided to implement mParticle’s customer data platform as their data foundation, with the goal of assembling a stack capable of delivering the best customer experience possible while also streamlining their infrastructure and internal processes.

The solution

After implementing mParticle into their app, Route was able to select from the 300+ integrations available in the mParticle ecosystem and build a best-in-breed stack without adding any third-party vendor code to their app. 

With mParticle, Route was able to:

  1. Centralize their data infrastructure to get a better understanding of how customers use the app and identify areas of improvement.
  2. Democratize data through an easy-to-use customer data layer UI, so every stakeholder could access the data they need to move initiatives forward without relying on engineering. 
  3. Easily test and integrate tools to better serve their customers without adding unnecessary third-party code that could cause latency or crashes.

Instead of going through the process of implementing, testing, deploying, and maintaining vendor SDKs within the Route app, the Route team positioned mParticle as their central API connecting data to the rest of their infrastructure. This process allowed the engineering team to use mParticle to handle all data orchestration integration across their tech stack, saving 40+ hours of SDK implementation time and countless hours of future SDK maintenance, and shortening the onboarding time of seven new tools from three months to just 2.5 weeks.

With mParticle in place, Nick and the rest of the growth team were able to trust their data, and focus on executing new campaigns instead of troubleshooting data quality and discrepancy issues. Using mParticle’s Audience Builder, Nick and the growth team were also able to build and maintain dynamic audience segments and automatically deploy them to all of their attribution, analytics, marketing automation, and paid social channels at once, without any manual querying or reliance on other teams.

How it works

Though Route’s use of the mParticle platform extends far beyond this simple example, one of the most powerful things they were able to achieve was establishing bidirectional customer data flows throughout their entire stack. By leveraging mParticle’s bi-directional integrations with the tools in their stack, the Route growth team was able to easily forward user information to their attribution partner, have that user data enriched with attribution metrics, then have it re-ingested by mParticle to forward to their user analytics provider. This integrated data flow enables the growth team to understand how paid campaigns are performing and allows them to compare paid growth to organic growth. mParticle collects, cleanses, validates, and appends real-time customer data points to a single persistent customer profile from every customer touchpoint for each user, which provides the Route team with confidence that the data used to power their marketing campaigns is accurate and that they can invest further in the best-performing conversion channels identified. With this information, the growth team is able to adjust their paid campaigns and messaging, identify which are most productive, and analyze the ROI to drive future growth initiatives.

Results

  • 40+
  • hours
  • of developer time saved
  • 79.2%
  • faster
  • tool onboarding
  • 7
  • tools
  • added in 2.5 weeks

With a flexible, extensible, mobile-first stack and a comprehensive database of clean customer data in place, the Route team is prepared to add new functionality, on- and off-board new integrations quickly, market more efficiently, and deliver the caliber of customer experiences their customers have come to expect.

With mParticle in place, Route was able to onboard seven different tools 79.2% faster than before, saving over 40 hours of developer time usually required to implement new tools — and they’re just getting started! By helping merchants improve post-purchase experience through tracking and insurance, Route has been growing over 47% MoM since their launch and scaled from 5 to 180 employees in the first year and a half, and has now future-proofed the business to continue supporting their rapid growth rate. If you'd like to learn more about how Route created a system of intelligent data pipelines to streamline their infrastructure, improve time to value, and get a better understanding of how to improve customer experience, you can try the mParticle platform demo here.

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