Lookers objective was to create a website that stood head and shoulders above others in the industry by challenging the conventional vehicle search methods online. The challenge was that Lookers were using a shared platform in common with many of their competitors. The platform did not offer the ownership, flexibility or scalability to truly stand out in the market and take their performance to the next level. As a business, they needed a strategic partner that could transform their digital estate to match their ambitions. Equator was appointed to bring this vision to reality.
Reinventing the wheel
We defined the overarching project concept from the outset to ensure the customer was at the heart of every decision we made. Our strategy was those legacy systems, or internal processes would not restrain our thinking.
Equator’s initial task was to undertake an in-depth discovery phase to glean information across the business and surface all frustrations with the shared platform. We also gathered feedback from customers, analysing against the car industry benchmarks and comparing this with innovations in other sectors. Finally, we interrogated the technical architecture, systems and processes to define the new experience.
Only once we had gathered and analysed our research, could we begin defining the solution.
Getting into gear.
Equator’s concept for the website was ‘effortless intelligence’. The idea is that a user should never have to work hard to find their dream car. The journey from the homepage and through the search process to find their dream car should be friction free, seamless, and at every turn, the user should be surprised and delighted.
While Equator’s solution was elegant and sophisticated from a look and feel perspective, it also used Looker’s CRM data and Sitecore’s capabilities to personalise the vehicle search experience and replicate the personal touch of the car showroom, online.
Under the hood.
Taking cues from Sitecore’s effectiveness with seamless search integration, we went a step further by moving to a dedicated search model with cloud-based infrastructure. This dedicated search facility supplied the necessary data by a multi-faceted import mechanism – built in a microservice architecture – to fully realise the stock available to customers from every arm of the Lookers Group.
Through a dynamic configuration of Sitecore’s Experience Platform, we enabled advanced component-based building blocks, giving content authors the flexibility to cater to every business objective and the publishing of information via bespoke approval workflows. With personas and goals in place, these pages and components will deliver more personalised experiences to customers based on behaviour.
As is the case with high-end automotive, performance is critical, and the site was no different. The speed at which pages and imagery load were essential to hitting KPIs. It was, therefore, necessary that cloud-based content delivery networks were introduced to reduce the time to load assets by caching these in multiple locations.
Client delighted with performance.
After 18 months the Lookers new Sitecore experience launched in Spring 2019. While results are confidential it has exceeded the objective of creating a website that stood head and shoulders above others in the industry, and gave Lookers the flexibility and ownership to realise their vision.
Nigel McGinn CEO said “We worked with Equator over an extensive period of research, design, build and testing to develop our own industry leading web platform that was integrated to the company’s core systems. The website has now launched very effectively. We have seen an improvement in conversion rates, user experience and operational excellence. Working with the Equator team was a pleasure and we are delighted with the end result.”