Miva's enterprise-grade ecommerce platform boosts sales & streamlines operations for an automotive parts wholesaler.
“We chose Miva because they were able to meet the needs of a B2B company when none of the other platforms really could.”
Ron Gerber | President, The Mod Agency
Crown Automotive manufactures and distributes replacement parts for the iconic Jeep® brand of vehicles. They offer parts for everything from current models to vintage Jeeps dating back to 1942, and their inventory includes many factory-discontinued parts.
Today, after 50 years of business, Crown Automotive stocks over 9,000 unique part numbers in the United States and Europe for all popular Jeep® vehicles. They are a recognized name in the auto parts industry and the company recently expanded into accessories for Jeeps under their own RT Off-Road™ brand.
When they decided to launch an ecommerce website in 2010, Crown Automotive enlisted the help of The Mod Agency, a digital marketing firm specializing in web design and ecommerce development for business-to-business (B2B) clients. Ron Gerber is the founder and president of The Mod Agency, and he oversaw the first Crown Automotive website build in addition to a subsequent site upgrade two years later.
“With Miva, the platform itself is powerful, flexible, and dependable. It is very stable, and it is very fast.”
– Ron Gerber | President, The Mod Agency
"Not many ecommerce platforms that cater to the consumer market are able to fulfill the requirements needed for B2B companies," Gerber says, "so in choosing our ecommerce platform, we knew we'd need a platform that could handle a large number of SKUs. Crown has over 9,000 unique parts, so our new catalog management system had to be robust enough to deal with that level of inventory."
Additionally, Crown Automotive wanted to provide information about their products to the general public via the website, but without revealing pricing or current inventory levels. "Since Crown sells exclusively to wholesale accounts," Gerber explains, "we needed to have pricing and inventory only available to the wholesale customer after they have logged in. This might sound basic, but many of the platforms out there couldn't do it for us."
Finally, Gerber points out that most ecommerce platforms limit customer payment options to credit cards or other online consumer payment options. "But wholesale customers are not usually interested in paying with a credit card," Gerber says. "Many of Crown's customers are set up on open account which allows them to place orders on the account using a purchase order number. They can then pay later when they are invoiced."
As Ron Gerber and his team searched for a platform that could meet Crown Automotive's requirements, they discovered that Miva was both powerful and flexible enough to deliver a true wholesale ecommerce capability.
"I've been familiar with Miva for quite a while," Gerber says, "and during this process with Crown we just kept coming back to them. We realized the platform could handle Crown's requirements, and I really liked the direction Miva was headed in as a company."
Crown Automotive launched their first B2B ecommerce website on Miva in 2010. Online sales consistently grew, and in late 2013 the company again approached Gerber and The Mod Agency about re-building the site to address their growing enterprise business needs.
While the first iteration of Crown Automotive's B2B ecommerce website moved Crown's sales operations online, the second version of the site re-focused efforts on streamlining operations for the company. "Integration with the back-end enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was the most important thing," Gerber explains. "The main goal was to make day-to-day operations easier and reduce the work needed to process sales and maintain the site."
Once again, Gerber considered the available ecommerce platforms. "We looked into Magento Enterprise," he says, "but didn't really see the flexibility and functionality we needed in terms of integrating into our Turboprise® back end." They spoke with Miva's integrations team and were impressed by a long history and successful track record of tight integrations with virtually every widely used ERP system on the market.
"We chose Miva again," he continues, "because they are committed to building the type of fully integrated ecommerce system that other platforms simply aren't capable of. In looking at Miva from a software standpoint, we can get the functionality we need, and we can be confident in the ability to customize that functionality to our unique business processes because of the team Miva has in place to do custom development."
Miva helped Crown Automotive improve the efficiency of their business by integrating fully with their Enterprise Resource Management system, and by providing a UPS Ready platform that can handle the complex shipping requirements of a B2B company.
"We also hired Miva to create a fully-functioning express order form," Ron Gerber says, "so large customers who place orders with hundreds of line items can easily add multiple products to the shopping cart at one time."
Finally, Crown needed their site to handle multi-warehouse inventory levels. With distributors based throughout the U.S. and overseas, Crown Automotive wanted a way to assign warehouses to customers based on proximity, while providing them the ability to order from multiple warehouses at once. Miva built the capability they were looking for, and Gerber says it works beautifully. "I don't know of any other e-commerce platform or company that can offer this level of customization and achieve what we've achieved with Miva."
When talking about the impact Miva has had for Crown Automotive, Ron Gerber recalls what Crown Automotive's business processes were like before the first ecommerce site launched in 2010. "It's like night and day," he says. "Before we launched the first Miva site, all of Crown's sales were done over the phone. The efficiencies we've gained are a huge step forward."
Since 2010, Crown has watched their web sales grow, and at this point 35% of their daily orders are coming through the website. With the second site launch, Crown saw a 28% increase in gross sales, and a 32% increase in their average order value (AOV) due to the improved express order form. The sales team at Crown also reports a time savings of more than 10 hours per week due to the new integrations between backend systems and the website.
Gerber says his experience has given him greater confidence in Miva's ability to deliver what Crown needs. "Through this process," he says, "we've come to see that whatever it is, Miva can do it. Miva can integrate with the major enterprise-level systems, and Miva has the resources, the talent, and the team to really service wholesale B2B companies."
"With Miva," he says, "the platform itself is powerful, flexible, and dependable. It is very stable, and it is very fast. I know that with Crown, in any given year, we hardly have any downtime on the site. And I see Miva handling Crown's future sales growth without any issue at all. With what they were able to do for us on this second site, in my mind, they can do almost anything."
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