Mercado Libre faced exponential user growth for its mobile applications when the global pandemic hit, putting pressure on the mobile teams to deliver stable, crash-free apps.
By upgrading to Bugsnag’s Enterprise plan and scaling usage across mobile teams, Mercado Libre handled a significant increase in mobile purchases during COVID-19 pandemic while achieving a 99.93% stability score to provide a better user experience for all their customers.
Mercado Libre is on a mission to democratize commerce, payments, and money in Latin America. Operating in 18 countries with two main business units — eCommerce and FinTech, the company is best known for its online marketplace and its payment platform for online sales as well as in-store payments. Today, it is the largest online retailer in Latin America.
While mobile app usage has increased steadily over the last three years, Mercado Libre experienced a sharp jump in app downloads and usage at the onset of the global pandemic.
“Our market mobile share grew from about 20% to 70% over three years. We suddenly had more traffic, more users, and more developers, so we needed a full diagnostics tool that we could trust to monitor the stability of our applications.”
— Juan Ucciani, Senior Product Manager
Originally, the mobile engineering teams at Mercado Libre used a common logging solution for error monitoring. However, it also lacked the search and filtering capabilities needed to find and fix errors. In order to deliver a world class experience to their users, Mercado Libre made the switch to Bugsnag, and started gaining value from automatic error grouping and the ability to prioritize errors with breadcrumbs, search, and filtering. When Bugsnag introduced stability management, Mercado Libre was impressed by the diagnostics capabilities, which allowed its mobile teams to monitor all applications and deliver stable application experiences.
Mercado Libre faced a new challenge when the global pandemic hit in 2020. Suddenly, consumers were downloading and using mobile apps in droves. This considerable shift to online shopping was expected to happen in three-to-five year’s time, but in reality seemed to have arrived within six-to-eight months.
Mercado Libre scaled usage and benefitted from features such as unlimited users and expanded quota limits. As Juan explains, “Bugsnag is really important to us for the whole ecosystem, not just the IT team. We needed full access to everything that Bugsnag could give us.”
Today, all mobile projects use Bugsnag, and each mobile team views its own stability score, which rolls up into a global stability score. “We have about 60 teams adding code to our two main applications for release. Error tracking is really important because any big crash, or any increase in our crash rate, will stop that release, and we have a lot of features in every release,” Juan states.
The engineering and product teams use Bugsnag to communicate and share a common language around monitoring, as well as to evaluate adherence to SLAs by using error rates. “The technical team and product team meet up and figure out how they did each quarter. It’s not just about rolling out products; it’s also about stability, errors, and crash rates, because in the end, all these are key to a great user experience,” Juan states.
In addition, Bugsnag enables the teams to prioritize bug fixing and is crucial for diagnostics, especially the search and filtering capabilities. “Some cases, you need to go deeper in filtering in order to understand where an issue belongs,” Juan states. “Bugsnag is useful when you need to dig in and see where an error comes from in order to replicate the bug.”
Mercado Libre also benefits from Bugsnag’s alerts and integrations. As Nahuel Barrios, Engineering Manager for the Mobile Architecture Team, states, “We used to receive alerts by email, but now we have the Slack channel integration. Some teams use it with specific filters to separate errors by team, allowing them to focus on their specific areas of code and react to error notifications as quickly as possible. We also use web hooks to pipe data into our own dashboards.”
In a period of rapid growth, the mobile teams have accelerated offerings while maintaining an impressively low crash rate, thanks to their focus on stability as a main KPI.
“Before using Bugsnag, we considered a stability score lower than 99.70% to be critical. Today, the average stability score is 99.93%, and we’re continuously working to set that baseline higher.”
— Nahuel Barrios, Engineering Manager
As the end of 2020 approaches, Mercado Libre is embracing the peak holiday season. While this time of year is especially busy for eCommerce, with the pandemic, it has become even moreso. Gift shopping is now wholly reliant on eCommerce platforms as brick-n-mortar stores are currently unavailable.
Because Mercado Libre is a multinational company, country-specific requirements must also be managed within its apps. They must adapt to each country’s laws and regulations, and new features take time to roll out to every country. Thus, mobile teams must manage stability and errors across different versions of the same app.
In addition, Mercado Libre must build new features to ensure the company is always compliant with local laws. A new country’s regulations on FinTech means that the engineering team must adapt quickly. Stability management is not only important for improving user experience, but also for making sure their app remains healthy through sudden changes.
“We use Bugsnag because we know how to use it, and we trust it, which is most important. We can trust that what we see is what is happening.”
— Nahuel Barrios, Engineering Manager