Sprocket is a marketplace app for buying and selling bicycles and bicycle parts. The app was launched in 2014 by Retrographic LLC and allows bike enthusiasts to shop or list their own bicycle parts, compare specs, and connect with the cycling community around the world.
As Sprocket began to gain traction across the international cycling community, the company needed a way to build out core messaging functionality in a way that was sustainable for a small, self-funded team to manage.
Creating a Better UX with Real-Time Transactional Notifications
The Sprocket platform has a large degree of decentralization, which means that if users want to talk to each other regarding a bike sale, they would do so off-platform to maintain privacy — similar to renowned platforms like Craigslist. When a user makes an offer via the app, their first offer email must go through a relay server. Although this system is ideal for ensuring data privacy, it means people aren’t always aware that they received an offer unless they’re routinely checking their email. To eliminate friction from the offer process, Sprocket set up automated push notifications alerting people to check their email inbox to complete a sale.
“With transactional and promotional notifications, you can tell users to do things in a way you can’t in the app. Being able to tell someone their listing needs to be renewed, that they got an offer, or that they can lower the price to improve their listing — these are all key functionalities in the app, and I don’t know how I’d live without them.”
Using Push to Reward Engagement
Sprocket also leverages a referral system that rewards users with a free listing for bringing friends to the platform. When a user shares their referral code and the person they shared it with signs up for an account, both parties receive notifications that they’ve received the reward.
Optimizing Send Time for a Global Audience
In recent years, Sprocket has become very popular in India, a historically bike-friendly audience. The team implemented audience segmentation for web, iOS, and Android to communicate platform-specific app updates to these users. But they ran into a delivery roadblock. How were they to account for carefully timing these notifications for an audience halfway around the world? With Intelligent Delivery, all communications are automatically sent at the correct time, without doing any timezone math to schedule their messaging.
Sparking Engagement and Retention with Journeys
The first week after download is when all apps see the largest dropoff in users. Sprocket knew they needed a way to tighten up their acquisition funnel to retain the traffic they had captured and drive engagement.
“When people sign up, there’s an onboarding and acquisition funnel, and that’s where all the apps see the largest dropoff. It’s also where the majority of sales happen, so the way the messaging is done — from emails and notifications — is super important because that’s where the majority of traffic and business is in the app.”
Within their India audience specifically, they noticed many users would download the app, use it for 30 seconds, and never open it again. This is not uncommon for resale apps – users typically only open the app when they need to buy or sell something specific. However, once users make their first purchase or make a sale on their first listing, they are much more likely to return to the app with continued engagement.
Sprocket’s founder, Seven Shurygin, built an onboarding Journey that included email and push notifications and started to see positive results. After sending notifications about signing up for a subscription or encouraging users to create their first listing, Sprocket experienced a noticeable increase in new listings created on their platform.
Optimizing Campaign Performance with A/B Testing
Sprocket didn’t hit the ball out of the park from the first send. Instead, they experimented with Journeys flows and used A/B testing to figure out what type of messaging resonated best with different channels and audiences. They found that their messaging performed stronger on Fridays and Saturdays, as weekends were peak timing for cyclists to be most active.
“It takes constant experimentation for weeks, even months, on end to find the right combination of elements that will convert. But if you stick with it, you will start exposing valuable trends over time.”
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