JBS (www.jbs.co.uk) is an automotive tuning specialist that manufactures, supplies and fits parts for Volkswagen Audi Group vehicles.
We were approached by JBS as their existing website was no longer fit for purpose due to a lack of ongoing maintenance and development. What was once a source of significantly monthly income for the company had become a headache to manage and was damaging their brand.
The automotive industry presents a unique challenge with complex vehicle compatibilities & product options requiring a bespoke solution. Therefore, the primary requirement was for the new platform to be easy to use for both customers and the administrators.
The legacy JBS website was cutting-edge for its time. Built from the ground up, the site had a completely bespoke eCommerce backend, with user authentication, live chat and translations.
However, over the years the site began to show its age. Many features were not maintained and consequently stopped functioning or became insecure. The user registration system had failed meaning new accounts could no longer be created.
The bespoke backend had also come to hinder staff productivity with an interface that was dated and inflexible. There was no way to easily add product variants so many items had been listed individually. Not only was it time consuming to add products, it had also become difficult to manage updating product listings.
Through discovery sessions with JBS we also identified other benefits of migrating their eCommerce platform such as comprehensive analytics, customer management and automated marketing.
We agreed that the best option for JBS was to migrate their legacy PHP platform to a headless, managed eCommerce solution with a tailored NextJS frontend.
Our priority during the design phase was to create a cleaner user experience. Using existing analytics we inferred that customers were often getting lost and leaving the website before they visited a product page.
We constructed a set of designs that reduced the existing 8-10 step user journey into a single step. Customers are immediately given a choice to either browse products by category, or browse by their selected vehicle. They are then presented with a product listing page where more granular filtering is available.
For the eCommerce platform we agreed on BigCommerce. BigCommerce supports complex category trees and product filtering, as well as having a simple interface for managing product variants. Read about our partnership with BigCommerce here
We worked towards PoCs (Proof of Concepts) for vehicle compatibility relationships, with the aim of finding the most scalable and cost effective solution. The PoCs produced an architecture that enabled <150ms response times with a low monthly cost.
With the application architecture decided, we built out the product. User acceptance testing & signoff was tackled using a combination of the live staging environment, paired with React Storybooks.
Load tests were established with a baseline of 1,500 vehicles, 15,000 products & 150 categories. User journeys were then simulated at a rate of 5 users per second (300 users per minute). This is 300% above JBS's projected capacity, giving everyone confidence in the platform & architecture.
Despite a limited marketing budget, the first week after deployment saw JBS sell more stock online than the prior 8 months combined. The focus on user experience paid off, as live analytics showed clarified user journeys: home > product listings > product > add to cart > checkout.
The user base is growing weekly, with 40% more customers returning to the site to browse and make purchases. Most importantly, JBS has a website that showcases their business and has the capacity to grow.