When Speed is of the Essence: Automaailm’s new Magento 2 Based Digital Storefront

A store servicing the automotive industry needs to offer a little bit of everything – starting with tires suitable for a 2006 Mazda, all the way to the left turning signal cover for a 2020 Peugeot. Handling this number of listings requires systems well optimized for scale, something Automaailm’s web store could not cope with before. As such, Opus was tasked with rebuilding the store from the ground up, utilizing Magento 2, React, and clever database design.

Being one of the largest third-party automotive stores in the country, Automaailm offers a seemingly endless number of different items a customer might need. To achieve this, the digital storefront is heavily integrated with external libraries, ranging from product catalogs and links to the car registry, all the way to warehouse systems and accounting. As should be clear, finding what you need also requires a kick-ass search system that leaves nothing to wish for.

“While all of this worked decently enough, it was clear that the new version needs to improve on all of it. The integrations caused the site to slow down, meaning that each and every query took longer than the customer wanted to wait,” explained Tanel Särgava, project manager responsible for the development. “Whilst the integrations needed some work, the design as a whole could stay pretty much the same, with the exception of the mobile experience, that needed to be updated to be competitive in 2022.”

To achieve the speed and ease-of-use expected, Opus’ turned to the combination of Magento 2 and React. Whilst Magento offers the snappiness needed at the back-end, React’s lightness and efficiency guarantee a flawless user experience. All of this is complemented by Elastic and a middle layer specifically developed for Automaailm’s use-case, enabling the products to be searched for, filtered, and displayed much more rapidly than before.

The new store offers vastly better UI and UX

“Prior to this update, the search results often displayed duplicate entries that could confuse the customer. By creating a proper ID matching system, we were able to reach a point where each item is only displayed once, clearly marked if it is available online or only for in-store purchase,” said the project manager. “This meant that we also had to tame the external product catalog, which really did not shine when it came to its documentation.”

As the documentation for the third-party catalog was lacking, Opus had to decipher the approach taken for the old storefront. However, as it was written in a different language, for an older version of the catalog, and not entirely on modern developed principles, some guesswork was involved. “But we were able to crack it. Today, the system works as expected with no issues. Add to the mix the new database with crafted and you get something that’s a joy to use,” Särgava added.

Quality-of-life improvements

With Automaailm’s new store, the upgrades over the older version are not limited to a better search experience. Several quality-of-life improvements were introduced for both the customers and Automaailm’s staff.

From the customers’ point of view, the new mobile view offers a more pleasant shopping experience, whilst new integrated payment options like EstoPay grant the shopper even more ways to complete their check-out experience. In addition to the new payment options, additional shipping means were also introduced.

The new Magento 2 back-end also makes the lives of Automaailm’s staff a little bit easier. Thanks to the new custom shipping and package label module, the need for courier pick-up is automatically sent to the shipping company. Employees can also use the admin dashboard to generate shipping labels, removing the need to manually enter data and request labels from the shipper.

“Whilst on the surface all these changes may seem small, they all ensure that Automaailm can offer their customers the best possible experience, whilst also guaranteeing their own long-term technical reliability,” said Särgava.

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