How SkuVault understands users and gets the most from the Pendo platform
The SkuVault team needed a unified, scalable way to understand user behavior so they could make faster, more data-informed decisions across the entire organization.
Initially, SkuVault was drawn to Pendo Analytics‘ retroactive analytics—which enabled them to understand and improve their users’ workflows. But they soon realized they could unlock the full value of the Pendo platform by also expanding to Pendo In-app Guides—to deliver contextual support and gather real-time feedback via in-app surveys.
Today, teams across SkuVault are leveraging Pendo—product, customer success, marketing, sales, and onboarding—to engage with users in more meaningful, data-driven ways. To date, the company has seen a 45% decrease in knowledge-based support tickets, eliminated 25% of frequently asked knowledge-based questions, and holistically changed how they prioritize product investments.
SkuVault’s inventory and warehouse management software helps e-commerce retailers solve one of their biggest challenges: tracking inventory across multiple warehouses. SkuVault allows sellers to sync their warehouses with 50+ integration channels and brick-and-mortar stores to help manage inventory at scale, eliminate oversells, and streamline pick-and-pack workflows.
SkuVault’s technology was purpose-built for warehouse workers responsible for fulfilling orders. As Diana Nolting, vice president of product at SkuVault, explained, “[We’re made for the people] who are forecasting how much they should be ordering, connecting to their channels, and really just trying to streamline their software.”
But in an industry built on complex, interconnected systems—and where time is money (particularly during busy shopping seasons)—SkuVault knew they needed to better understand their users’ workflows so they could improve and accelerate their digital experiences.
Using behavioral analytics to take inventory of user behavior
When Nolting first joined the SkuVault team in 2020, the company was still in the early stages of growing its product management function and treating it as a discipline distinct from engineering and development. This meant that the SkuVault team had a lot of data at their disposal, but lacked the behavioral analytics they needed to truly get closer to their users.
“We didn’t really understand our full customer base. That was really the foundation for our decision to purchase Pendo,” said Nolting. “We needed to get out there to talk to people . . . But we also needed a way to make sense of what they weren’t telling us.”
Before Pendo, the SkuVault team relied heavily on Google Analytics for product data, but still didn’t have visibility into user behavior and engagement. “Google Analytics page views weren’t telling us what was working and what wasn’t—and they weren’t giving us anything to back up the anecdotal feedback we were hearing,” Nolting explained.
To push the organization forward and empower her growing product team to make the right decisions, Nolting knew she needed a tool that could help SkuVault listen to what she called the “quiet 80%.”
“We knew we needed behavioral analytics software, because we were significantly scaling the business. We needed something that didn’t require a significant engineering investment. We needed a platform that could help us pull our disparate systems together and [integrate with Salesforce]—because we had a lot of data, but no way to connect it. And we needed to be able to see what people were doing and truly understand [those behaviors] in a way that was consumable, [even with] the large number of clients we have.”
Pendo delivered on all fronts—and proved to be easy to implement without significant engineering effort or technical resources.
During their evaluation for a product experience and digital adoption platform, Nolting and the SkuVault team also collaborated closely with Pendo’s value consulting team to help justify their investment and make a more confident decision. This engagement included a qualitative analysis of how Pendo aligned to SkuVault’s strategic initiatives, as well as financial models quantifying the value of Pendo—with business cases focused on reducing support cases (short term) and improving retention (longer term).
Shipping in-app guides to improve onboarding and support
From the start, Pendo’s retroactive analytics were a huge draw for Nolting and her team. “[I love] the fact that anytime I tag something, I get all the historical data back to the date that we set it,” she explained. “We can test and play and still have it all from the date we installed Pendo—which is huge. If we want to run an A/B test, we don’t have to wait two weeks and come back [to see the results].”
Standing up a behavioral analytics solution was SkuVault’s most immediate need. But after implementing Pendo Analytics, Nolting and her team quickly saw the opportunity in-app guides could unlock for their product experience. “We really thought [analytics] was the biggest thing we needed. But once we started using it and with where we are now a year and a half later, we’ve [learned that] the best way for us to gain access to talk to our clients is through in-app guides and surveys,” she said.
Nolting also noted that this targeted and data-informed approach to in-product communication is particularly useful given the nature of SkuVault’s user base. “We’re serving warehouse workers, frontline workers, and deskless workers—people who are not going to be able to pick up the phone. Plus, time is money. We needed to find a way to get pinpointed messages out, and also get feedback in.”
The SkuVault team started with just a few very pinpointed in-app guides, and have seen great results so far. Not only has this contextual approach allowed them to deepen their penetration across their logo base to gather Net Promoter Scores (NPS), it has also allowed the team to gather additional qualitative feedback associated with those scores they wouldn’t have received via email alone.
SkuVault has also seen incredible results by leveraging Pendo In-app Guides to power their onboarding strategy—an approach that Nolting is working to expand to the rest of Linnworks’ (who acquired SkuVault in September 2022) product portfolio.
“We started rolling out in-app guides to streamline onboarding, [which previously took a] fairly significant amount of time. By embedding ‘micro-training’ on every page where [users might encounter] a feature they don’t use very often—like something they might only use once every two months—and making it available right there, we were able to decrease knowledge-based support tickets by 45%, which was incredible for us.”
Since the Linnworks acquisition, Nolting and her team at SkuVault have been able to prove the efficacy of these measures and start expanding these motions throughout the entire organization. “[The whole team is] seeing that this works. And a lot of it comes down to just not having to have a human with our users at all times,” she said.
By providing their users with the enablement and tips they need along the way, the SkuVault team has been able to continually increase their users’ confidence and make their product easier to use. “We really do credit the embedded guides with helping streamline onboarding,” Nolting added. “And we directly attribute the micro-learnings we’ve embedded with that decrease in knowledge-based tickets.”
Nolting explained that this 45% decrease in knowledge-based tickets equated to the deflection of roughly two months-worth of support tickets—or more than 1,000 unique cases—across the entire SkuVault support team. Additionally, she noted that 25% of SkuVault’s clients are no longer asking the same routine knowledge-based questions they previously opened support tickets for. “We’re now able to answer those [questions] without users even having to start a support case, which has improved stickiness,” she said.
“I just love Pendo because it gives me a way to have more relationships with our clients than I ever could manage one-to-one. I can really interact and connect with them in a way that I couldn’t before . . . It’s really one of the most critical tools we have in our toolbox.”
Delivering Pendo data across the business
What started as a solution primarily for the SkuVault product team has since expanded across the organization. Now, teams including sales, customer success (CS), marketing, and onboarding and enablement log into Pendo regularly to understand how customers and prospects are moving through the product, and use those insights to improve the experience.
“It’s really grown across the business to log into Pendo,” explained Nolting. “It’s been really great to see the whole business adopt Pendo at various levels.” Here are just a few examples of how teams across SkuVault are leveraging Pendo:
- The product team uses Pendo to understand who’s using what in order to prioritize the product roadmap and future investments
- The marketing team uses Pendo as a contextual, in-the-moment communication channel to customers
- The onboarding team uses Pendo to track how their clients are doing with the “homework” they’ve been given, and how well they’re moving through their onboarding experience
- The CS team uses Pendo to see how adoption is trending so they can understand if clients are at risk of attrition—then take proactive steps to mitigate it
- The sales team uses Pendo to see how free trial clients are doing—including how they’re adopting the product or where they may need additional support to get the most value possible
With over 300 features in SkuVault’s inventory management software, Nolting also noted that the team previously had no way of knowing which features were really getting used, or which they should invest further in. But now, thanks to segmentation and rich behavioral insights, teams across SkuVault are able to make data-informed decisions and focus their resources on the right things. “[Pendo has] changed how we build investment cases, and how we prioritize work in different areas,” said Nolting.
Becoming product led to improve operational efficiency
Bringing all these teams together within Pendo and using product data as a single source of truth for decision-making has helped the SkuVault team gain some other valuable operational efficiencies.
For example, when the product team was considering sunsetting a particular feature, they seamlessly launched an in-app poll to see which of two versions users preferred, and started collecting data right away. This quick validation allowed the product team to move quickly, saved them from pursuing false starts that ultimately wouldn’t be viable, and helped them make an informed decision about where to focus their resources. “We were able to ship the entire project and save a significant amount of development time,” said Nolting.
Finally, Nolting noted that Pendo has enabled SkuVault—and by extension, Linnworks—to expand their reach and start building their product-led go-to-market approach. “Pendo has allowed us to give a voice to the market who we weren’t able to access before,” said Nolting. “Spinning up a product-led go-to-market motion is something that will be incredibly important to us as a company going forward—and it’s going to be served by Pendo. We’re [building] a foundation to be able to access different go-to motions and go-to markets, because now we understand what’s actually happening.”
Moving forward, SkuVault plans to use Pendo to measure impact to retention, and hopes to unify Pendo initiatives across the company. Nolting and her team are also eager to leverage Product Engagement Score (PES) to improve reporting and establish a shared, composite metric to evaluate their product’s performance over time. SkuVault’s relationship with Pendo is just one example of how their ongoing commitment to being customer obsessed is translating into real-world solutions for growing e-commerce businesses.