Mercado Libre increases conversion rate by improving user experience

Mercado Libre is the largest e-commerce ecosystem in Latin America, operating in 13 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Serving a market of more than 550 million people, Mercado Libre provides buyers and sellers with a robust online trading environment that addresses distinctive cultural and geographic challenges. The company offers six integrated e-commerce services: Mercado Libre Marketplace, Mercado Libre Classifieds Service, MercadoPago payments solution, Mercado Libre Advertising program, MercadoShops online stores solution, and Mercado Envios shipping service. eBay is the largest common stock owner in Mercado Libre, with 18.40%.

Supporting growth with scalability, availability, and performance

Over 1 million users a month search for items, bid on them, and purchase and pay for them using Mercado Libre’s proprietary software platform. While already the largest e-commerce company in Latin America, Mercado Libre is still growing rapidly—which presents a number of challenges for the teams responsible for the many applications that power the Mercado Libre business.

After originally creating a monolithic platform in its early days, Mercado Libre evolved to a decentralized approach for its applications and infrastructure. Business teams are responsible for their own applications, including the infrastructure, code, and IT staff. For instance, the MercadoPago unit has a team of 500 engineers writing and supporting the code for the company’s payment system. Decentralization helps Mercado Libre be more agile, with the MercadoPago unit alone deploying multiple times daily for a total of hundreds of deployments each week.

While a decentralized approach helps Mercado Libre accelerate its time-to-market, coping with rapid growth was still a challenge from an application performance perspective. “We were having more issues with scalability, performance, and downtime,” says Hernán Di Chello, product development director of the MercadoPago unit within Mercado Libre. “In payments, it’s critical for us to meet our service level agreements and deliver a great customer experience for all parties.” Di Chello decided that his team needed a tool to help it quickly identify and mitigate causes of performance problems.

For Matias Kusznir, technical leader of quality assurance for Mercado Libre, the lack of data about application performance was impacting his team’s work, too. “We needed better insight into error rates, application performance, and the experience our customers were having with our services,” says Kusznir. 

Monitoring system performance to fix issues in minutes

The MercadoPago team was the first within the company to roll out New Relic. According to Di Chello, the deployment was fast and painless and made Mercado Libre one of the first Latin American companies to use New Relic application performance monitoring (APM). Today, all the development teams within Mercado Libre use New Relic tools, including APM, browser monitoring, and dashboards. "New Relic is an essential tool for not only our developers and engineers but also our executives,” says Di Chello. “It gives everyone on the team a clear picture of how our applications and services are performing.”

For the team within Mercado Libre who are responsible for API development, New Relic offered a dramatic improvement in how code is developed, tested, and deployed. “Before, we would deploy and didn’t realize that there were problems,” says Fernando Scasserra, senior product development manager at Mercado Libre. “With New Relic, the difference is like night and day, with New Relic pinpointing issues for us throughout the lifecycle, including design, deployment, testing, and production.”

Gabriela Segura, project leader for Mercado Envios, the company’s shipping service in Haití, credits New Relic with helping her team more quickly and successfully integrate third-party services. “New Relic helps us quickly resolve problems when we integrate new carriers,” says Segura. “For instance, we integrated a new service in Buenos Aires and New Relic identified several errors so we could quickly address them.”

Previously working without detailed insight into why issues were occurring, the quality assurance team was surprised by the number of errors identified by New Relic. “We found many JavaScript errors that we didn’t know existed,” says Kusznir. “Thanks to New Relic, we were able to fix many of those issues within a matter of minutes.” Kusznir’s team appreciates the ability to identify and track the variables that impact conversion rates from country to country. “New Relic gives us the power to query across all of our applications and quickly understand which issues affect conversion rates so that we can focus on the most important areas for our business,” says Kusznir.

milliseconds per request response time
error rate
reduction in virtual machines used

Mercado Libre engineers discuss how they instrumented New Relic and observability, including implementing OpenTelemetry, distributed tracing, instrumentation, and what's ahead.

Improving performance and reducing the error rate to 0

With detailed performance data from New Relic, the business teams within Mercado Libre are improving application performance, availability, and scalability for a better customer experience. “Using New Relic, we reduced the error rate down to zero and improved the response time to less than 50 milliseconds per request,” says Scasserra. Gisela Saborido, senior developer with the checkout team for Mercado Libre, reports that New Relic helps her team respond more quickly to issues: “New Relic gives us the ability to detect problems immediately and fix them before they impact the customer experience.”

New Relic also helps Mercado Libre save money on its infrastructure even while scaling out for growth. “New Relic helped us reduce the number of virtual machines we use by 20%,” says Di Chello. “This cuts our costs, while also creating greater efficiencies in ways we would not have been able to do without New Relic.”

At Mercado Libre, everyone from developers to executives turns to New Relic to understand the impact of application performance on the business. “Software analytics helps us understand many areas beyond just the technical aspects of our applications,” says Di Chello. “New Relic lets us focus on improvements that impact conversion rates, save us money, and offer the best return on our development investment.” Kusznir agrees with the impact on the business of having better insight into performance. “With New Relic, we significantly increased conversion rates by improving the user experience in the browser,” says Kusznir.