March 1, 2016
SEAT, a subsidiary of Volkswagen and one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, is on a mission to redefine the idea of “sporty performance” for its target audience of families and young people. The company’s brand is about providing technology for car owners to enjoy.
SEAT wanted to leverage its technology leadership to engage with their customers using mobile devices that their target audience tends to favor (smartphone and tablets). The SEAT Germany online store is a pure brand play – a way for consumers to enjoy the brand as much as they enjoy their car. The merchandise available in the shop (toys, pens, fashion items) are a communication tool to reach the target audience and give them a unique way to interact with the brand. SEAT Germany had an existing online store but it was expensive to maintain and was not mobile responsive. Redesigning the store to deliver optimized mobile experiences, while being more cost effective, was a critical driver of the move to Magento 2.0.
“We focus on using the latest technologies as a means of sustaining our brand and our leadership. The decision to implement Magento 2.0 is a strategic investment designed to deliver more engaging experiences while future proofing our eCommerce platform,“ said Mr. Swen Haupt, the Project Manager at SEAT Germany responsible for the Magento 2.0 project.
The existing SEAT Germany brand store was built on Hybris and brought with it significant ongoing maintenance costs including software updates and modules upgrades that were more expensive than a full Magento implementation. In addition, the platform wasn’t optimized for mobile experiences, which kept SEAT from fully engaging with their customers. The goal for the team was to leverage the advanced Magento 2.0 platform to highlight their technology leadership and design an immersive mobile optimized site that embodied the SEAT brand idea of “technology to enjoy.”
SEAT Germany, in partnership with Magento Gold Solution Partner netz98 new media GmbH, chose Magento 2.0 based on the technology and flexibility of the platform. The team was already using Magento for their Supplier Shop, and they liked the idea of being early adopters of new technology. They felt that gaining hands-on experience with the platform would give them an advantage when implementing it across their other online properties, and allow them to eventually standardize on a single, leading-edge solution. The performance, usability and maintenance of the new site surpassed their expectations.
The out-of-box responsive design reference theme allowed the team to easily and efficiently deliver an engaging mobile optimized experience, a critical factor in the redesign of their online shop, and a significant part of their brand awareness strategy. The UI Library provided the styles and functions needed for a fast and easy development of the mobile-optimized frontend. As a result of the improved navigation and page load times on mobile devices, the average duration of mobile sessions has significantly increased.
SEAT Germany was able to use the new, streamlined Magento 2.0 checkout capability and easily layer on additional features as necessary. The cross-sell and up-sell engine gave them the ability to define rules based on product categories and dynamic customer segmentation. This flexibility allowed the team to enable personalized experiences and offers for their shoppers.
The enhanced APIs made for easier integrations with SEAT’s branded merchandise supplier. All orders are directly linked to the vendor who produces and drop-ships the merchandise to the consumer, which minimizes maintenance and inventory costs. All product data is managed on the back-end with standalone databases – so product images, pricing, shipping costs, etc. are provided directly by the vendor. This makes the entire process very efficient and minimizes the “back and forth” between SEAT Germany and their drop-ship vendor.
Other architectural changes in Magento 2.0 and the new automated testing framework helped SEAT Germany create cleaner and higher quality code that is easier to maintain and upgrade over time. Thus far, the team found that routine changes and ongoing maintenance has decreased by about 10% using Magento 2.0, compared to their existing Magento storefront. The shift toward using modern development practices, such as dependency injection and service contracts, significantly simplifies development and customizations, so much so that the site was coded in just 6 weeks.
According to Mr. Haupt, “Magento 2.0 allows for very agile development and cost-effective customization of eCommerce websites. Therefore SEAT can adapt their site to future trends and be assured of a fast time-to-market.”