How Unipart Created a Platform for Both B2C and B2B Customers
A unified commerce experience
Unipart Group brings together manufacturing, logistics, and consultancy in a set of products and services that create imaginative solutions for their customers. With over 7,000 employees and revenue of nearly $1 Billion, it’s one of the largest UK privately-owned companies. Based in Oxford, England, Unipart Group’s heritage is in the automotive sector – but it has reinvented itself several times to maintain a competitive advantage. This has been possible by working smarter, promoting productivity, and embracing digital technologies.
Now Unipart is delivering an eCommerce solution to help Britain’s motorists manage almost every aspect of their vehicle’s servicing, insurance, and legal requirements. In 2019, Unipart launched the Unipartner mobile application that offers car owners and fleet managers an easy way to maintain their vehicles. MOT and Service reminders are sent for free to consumers, and bookings are directed from the mobile application to a Unipart garage of the customer’s choice. Multiple vehicles can be stored within the app, creating an opportunity for more work for the garage.
This is the first and most advanced automotive app in the market and the only app that connects the consumer to a UK nationwide garage network, delivering a great service for customers while providing a competitive advantage to garage owners over automotive main dealers.
Unipart’s unipartner.co.uk website serves two distinct customer groups – individual motorists who book garage services directly online; and business-to-business (B2B) clients who are part of a network of independently owned garages. Together with their Solution Partner, Youwe, Unipart carefully analysed various competing eCommerce platforms, including Hybris, Intershop, Sana Commerce, and Magento Commerce. Must-have functionality on the new platform was a real-time integration with Unipart’s ERP system for data and customer-specific pricing.
Unipart chose Magento Commerce for its strong capabilities and the availability of the Youwe SAP ECC connector. Unipart was also attracted to the wide possibilities offered by the Magento Marketplace, its open and extensible nature and the multi-store and multi-language support. Unipart developed a plan to create a new Magento-powered web platform to open up a whole new world for customers and garages.
Youwe built the Unipart eCommerce platform to service Unipartner.co.uk, where car owners can enter their license plate and location and select a garage to book a service. On their own separate backend dashboard, garages can login to see their customer bookings, accept or decline jobs and maintain their custom prices for the services. The garages can also populate and update their own profiles and images.
Youwe have made all this possible with various extensions and features. They created a dealer locator to connect the customer to their nearest garages, book services, and easily find what services a garage offers. Now there’s no more calling several garages looking for prices and availability.
The website is fully responsive and car owners can book from the roadside on their mobile devices. Garages receive jobs with just a few clicks, 24/7, 365 days a year. This allows Unipart to directly cater to B2C customers while driving business towards their local service partners.
The implementation timeline for the Unipart project was five months. The website platform launched as planned. The results showed that Unipart saved time and money for both customers and garages. Their single integrated system created a new level of accuracy for product and customer information. The Unipart project is also an excellent example of digital transformation in the automotive world. It highlights the changing role of the local service provider in the digital age.
With Unipart, booking garage services is as seamless as booking any other kind of service online. Customers want to be reminded when their car service or MOT certificate is due, find a local garage, select a service, see the price and make a booking from the convenience of their smartphone or PC. The right eCommerce platform and system integration is essential in this success; the digital revolution need not compete against local stores and garages.
Unipart found Magento Commerce was “way ahead” of the other solutions they considered, both on flexibility and integration cost. The Magento ecosystem was “a huge advantage” in keeping up with customer expectations. Since launching on Magento Commerce 2, Unipart has seen an increase in online orders and a reduction in phone calls in turn driving efficiency. Website traffic is also up by 40 percent showing a definite migration for customers to the new digital platforms. So impressed are the Unipart Group with Magento that they are now considering implementing the platform for other areas of their business too.