My Auto Store

The Client

EMR, Inc. is a global leader in metal recycling, with over 150 locations around the world. While many locations recycle consumer goods, EMR’s Northeast Philadelphia facility processes more than 5000 End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) each month to extract reusable materials.

Vehicles that come into the facility are also stripped of usable original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts that are inspected and re-certified for sale to the public.

The Challenge

EMR’s Northeast Philadelphia location has an over-the-counter operation to sell these parts to customers looking for an alternative to u-pull-it and other traditional junkyards.

In addition to this brick-and-mortar storefront, EMR also had a limited, but robust eBay business selling used parts online which they were looking to expand to a nationwide enterprise.

EMR’s incredibly complex inventory system meant that our developers had to get creative in finding solutions for better integrating their inventory data with any ecommerce platform we created. A lot of work had to go into making the backend run smoothly so that the buyer’s journey is as smooth and intuitive as possible.

Branding

Commexis specializes in data-driven insights. As such, our first steps in working with a client is to develop a deep understanding of their business model and unique value proposition. This information allows us to create a rough profile of who the client believes is their target audience.

Using these insights, Commexis created the My Auto Store brand, supported by the launch of a fully-integrated ecommerce experience for used auto parts searchers.

The My Auto Store site was also supported by print and direct mail campaigns as well as paid search and social media strategies.

Development

EMR’s existing eBay store pulled inventory information from a database provided by Hollander. This meant that any new ecommerce platform would need to synch up with both Hollander and eBay.

Organizing and categorizing each of these several thousand car parts was a big task. Customers looking for used parts are typically looking for parts that are compatible with a specific Year, Make and Model vehicle. Which means we needed the ability to categorize and sort these parts based on those criteria.

Hollander provided an extremely detailed table of information (some might say too detailed) regarding the parts in inventory, but that table was not searchable. To get the search up and running for the MyAutoStore.com site, we had to boil that table down to the most important information, and then find a way to make it searchable.

That was easier said than done.

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Development

One of first the issues we ran into was that the way EMR wanted to display the product titles on MyAutoStore.com did not match how they were displayed on eBay.

Our developers came up with an elegant solution that bypassed the title before it was saved to the database. i.e., if the title contained numbers at the front, they were removed, and a new title was created and saved to the database.

That solved, we also had to find a way to automate the categorization process. Once again, with such a large inventory, categorizing and adding information manually was not an option. Our developers wrote a custom script that would run during the import process and grab the compatibility information from the database and reformat it to the desired output.

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Results

The MyAutoStore.com development and branding process was challenging and rewarding. We created a new brand and helped usher it into a new audience. We continue to make updates to the search functionality as we learn more about how customers are interacting with the site, and our branding continues to turn heads with such projects as infographics and social media campaigns.

NJ Ad Club Jersey Awards – First place, Digital Media: E-Commerce Website Design

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