Inter Cars SA, the second largest distributor of automotive parts in Europe, has launched a unified B2B e-commerce system to speed up its expansion in Europe.
The platform is to be made available to staff at over 100,000 workshops in 16 countries. The technology and consulting company e-point SA was responsible for the project which was the biggest implementation of SAP Hybris Cloud in Europe in 2017.
In a short time Inter Cars evolved from a Poland-based family company into a major player in the international scene. At present it is the second largest distributor of automotive parts (for cars and lorries), selling 40% of all its products in international markets.
The new e-commerce platform makes use of SAP Hybris Commerce Cloud as its basis because of its flexibility, scalability and stability. In the course of the project e-point fully adjusted SAP Hybris Commerce to Inter Cars' business needs (internationalisation, methods of work at a repair shop), to its technology environment (integration with Inter Cars' internal and external systems) and to the communication channels it uses in the sales process (such as a call centre).
The project took altogether 17 months and was conducted using the Agile methodology. The works were divided into 12 four-week sprints, preceded by the creation of a prototype solution and the Foundation phase to ensure the complete understanding of Inter Cars' goals and needs. On e-point's side the project involved a 40-persons team consisting of developers, Customer Experience (CX) and Business Process Optimization specialists.
"Inter Cars set itself the goal of creating the most intuitive and user-friendly product catalogue in the market. This was a huge challenge given the number of products in its offer (1.7 million!), the data model in the automotive market and the need to personalise its prices," said Marek Berkan, a technology expert at e-point.
Because of the goal to be achieved, CX experts formed an integral part of the team throughout the project, supplying concepts and mock-ups with a view to simplifying the interface as much as possible and to make the system operation easy for workshop staff - on any device and using any channel of communication. A separate challenge was posed by the integration with the Inter Cars' ERP systems, its SSO mechanism and databases.
"The launch of the new e-commerce platform closes an important stage on the road to the digital transformation of our business. This tool really streamlines the work of repair shop workers and sales staff at Inter Cars' branches, enabling them to look up the appropriate part quickly and to find out when it will be available. In this way we strengthen our partnerships with workshops and are able to optimise the ordering process. This provides us with a major competitive advantage that should translate into strengthening our position in the European market," said Maciej Oleksowicz, CEO at Inter Cars SA.
According to the Inter Cars' CEO, the new unified e-commerce platform will also make it possible to optimise the company's sales costs and shorten the time needed to introduce innovations, such as new sales models (B2C and B2B2C), to further markets.