On March 1st, the Melltoo team celebrated the first anniversary since Melltoo first launched. Melltoo has experienced explosive growth in numbers of users and listings in our first year with double digit month-on-month growth, something we are extremely proud of. We also recently closed our first ever external funding round in a region where funding is challenging, to say the least.
A few weeks ago, we hit our first major milestone: 100,000 downloads for our iPhone and Android apps! On average, we have 500-550 new organic downloads per day with a retention rate of 40% and, no, we don’t spend any money on paid advertising! How does Melltoo do it? How do we build our brand? What are our growth and retention strategies?
There’s no secret. All you have to do is solve a problem and do what your users tell you to do.
Melltoo’s growth strategy is 100% organic. We provide value to our users by listening to their pain points and being there for them in every way we can. We also try to support our users by curating, creating and publishing the content they are searching for. By identifying keywords and promoting our blog content with SEO, we make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for . At Melltoo, we believe that creating valuable and searchable content is the best way to gain users’ trust, eventually converting them into users for life.
Apps are the new search engines of the internet, as people don’t search for things on Google anymore. Nowadays, people prefer to search for things on apps (e.g. opening Zomato to search for a Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood). As a mobile-first startup, app store optimization has become a central part of Melltoo’s growth strategy. Very often, users are only looking to browse items in a particular category, in a specific geographic region (eg. second-hand mobiles in Dubai). Melltoo has addressed this phenomena by creating various apps for every one of our six verticals (Kids, Mobiles, Homes, Rentals, Cars, Fashion) in multiple cities in the MENA region. In this way, we provide highly customized and localized content for users.
Our vision at Melltoo is to become the world’s default mobile people-to-people marketplace. To bring Melltoo closer to this goal, we are launching our in-app payment and delivery service on June 15, 2015 (only available in Dubai in phase 1).
While While Meltoo’s main focus is on the sale and purchase of fast-moving consumer goods, we also pay close attention to used cars and property rentals to acquire new users. Few people have the luxury not to resell a used car or search for property. Unfortunately, because smaller items (such as books and baby clothes) are difficult to sell second hand in the UAE, people are reluctant to even try. By offering a free and user friendly platform for buying and selling, Melltoo is changing that behavior because « everyone has something to sell » no matter how big or small!
Over the past couple of months, we have observed that users start browsing in our car vertical and then move to the mobiles vertical. Similarly, we found that many users start browsing in our rentals vertical and then move over to our fashion and kids stuff vertical.
We call this the funnel strategy. Our user acquisition and retention costs are ‘the cheapest’ on the cars and rentals verticals. This is mainly because of the abundant demand. Our role is to encourage new users who enter Melltoo through the cars and rentals vertical) to use our other verticals, thereby providing a holistic brand experience that goes beyond finding a new rent or selling an old car. The “Melltoo Experience” is buying and selling in a comprehensive mobile marketplace of trust.
Being user-first, we believe that user onboarding and customer support are the most important activities that we engage in, because it helps us build and consolidate Melltoo’s brand image. Every member of the Melltoo team monitors our user-facing and social channels, regardless of their job title or field of expertise. We all chip in when it comes to user support, because we believe that the interaction strengthens our team’s collective commitment to being user-first. Not only do we make sure to respond to all user queries in a detailed manner, we also strive to answer all queries within 24 hours of their submission.
A week after signing-up, every Melltoo seller receives a “hello” from us and an invitation to participate in our weekly “Hot Deals,” a newsletter that we created to help Melltoo users sell their items faster and improve SEO. This has proved to be an effective strategy because it allows us to communicate with our users and offer them all the support that they need to sell their items. In return, users support us by telling their family and friends about us and our services. The Hot Deals Newsletter is yet another example of how the entire marketing team works together to support our users. Not only do the Zoom-In’s allow us to engage existing users, it also helps us attract new users, by putting user-generated content at the center of all our social media channels.
Analyzing and Optimizing
Analysis plays a key role in the creation and implementation of new strategies at Melltoo. Impressions, click-through rates and conversion drive most of our marketing strategy. We closely monitor the posts that we share in our email campaigns, blog posts and social media, so we can get a better understanding of our email open rates and user behavior on our website.
Our newest strategy combines search marketing and branded content partnerships to increase the amount of UAE-focused content available to our users. So far, search marketing (use of keywords to improve SEO) is our most robust marketing performance metric. The Melltoo team consistently strives to write keyword-rich articles that our target markets (and vertical segments) are looking for. By joining forces with other local startups, we also hope to promote a spirit of entrepreneurial collaboration that will bring more valuable content and services to our users.
The best is yet to come
As we celebrate our first year anniversary, the Melltoo team would like to take the chance to thank the people who made this all possible: our users! We promise to continue supporting you by helping you sell your used items in the easiest way possible. No matter how big or small, everyone has something to sell. So, whether you’re saving for a dream vacation or a “new” car, we want to help you monetize your “junk.” Download Melltoo today and start checking things off your wish list today!