Wheelbase Alloys

Client

Wheelbase is Europe’s top discount alloy wheels and tyres specialist.

Background

In 2008 UKNetWeb were asked to take over development of the Wheelbase e-commerce project. We reviewed the site’s current status and made recommendations for the medium to long term investment in the website. The site had been developed from a core ASP/MS Access platform, had grown organically and had become hard to manage, poor performing and was not scalable in any useful sense.

Wheelbase’s graphic design and SEO partner were frustrated by the constraints imposed on them by the existing site.

Project

Initially we had to provide support and enhancement of the existing ASP/Access site. This resulted in a marginally improved website in terms of performance, cosmetic appeal and SEO.

Wheelbase agreed with our desire for the site to become a shining light in the sea of mediocre alloy wheels websites and put their money where their mouth is, investing in a complete new development using UKNetWeb’s Augeo core framework and a mountain of bespoke development.

The new Augeo based PHP/MySQL site was much more flexible, had a data structure that directly reflected the business logic of Wheelbase, was manageable in terms of SEO and graphic design, scalable and fast.

The project has since become a continual development with Wheelbase investing heavily in their web presence and utilising cutting edge technologies to their best advantage.

UKNetWeb’s use of Agile methodologies has meant that iterative development and continual live communication between our development team and Wheelbase’s product owner provides technical improvements that have been highly tuned and are very granular. The regular retrospectives between the director of Wheelbase and UKNetWeb’s directors has meant that continual strategic planning and review has kept the direction of development focused on aspects that offer the best return on investment.

Outcomes

In terms of SEO, the site is now very successful without the use of any black hat tricks. You can search for Ford alloy wheels, BMW alloy wheels or a range of other search terms that include “alloys” or “alloy wheels” and Wheelbase will be first, second or third in the results (at time of writing). This is quite an achievement in a massively competitive market.

Wheelbase asked UKNetWeb to work with the suppliers of their back office system to provide an integration that would enhance their sales team’s communication with web customers. We created a fully automated system to allow the Wheelbase CRM to communicate with the website data.

Ebay had been a platform that Wheelbase used to sell a relatively small quantity of alloy wheels and locking wheel nuts. Wheelbase had the foresight to invest in a six month development with UKNetWeb that had a huge impact on their ebay alloy wheel store. At the start of 2012 Wheelbase and UKNetWeb launched the world’s biggest ebay shop ever. We launched the first integrated store that fully utilised ebay’s LMS (Large Merchant Services) system in Europe. The system we developed allowed Wheelbase to create a set of rules for ebay listings. The rules allowed for the production, checking and expiration of ebay listings with a tiny amount of effort from the main Wheelbase administrator. The system produced a shop that was quickly the largest in the UK, then Europe and then the whole world, with over 2.5 million listings.

Product searching on the Wheelbase main alloy wheel and tyre site had historically been rather “clunky” and Wheelbase wanted something new, something better, something slicker than any of their competitors had on offer. Together we came up with a technically complex system that provided a simple interface for customers, made searching faster and smarter and enhanced UI/UX significantly. As with most of the development within this ongoing project, the latest cutting edge (and sometimes bleeding edge) technologies are utilised to achieve functionality beyond that of Wheelbase’s competition.

Technology

Wheelbase are a very proactive internet retailer committing significant funding to continual enhancement of their web development. They understand that all aspects are important and treat simplicity of administration, integration with external systems, user interface enhancement and user experience with the same commitment as SEO, online marketing and graphic design. This has resulted in us being able to experiment with emerging technologies, keep Wheelbase leading the alloy wheel online marketplace and maximise their return on investment.