Händlerwebsite - Notebook

26. Feb 2018
Online car dealership Relaunch of dealer websites

For a long time now, the term “car dealership” has not only referred to something physical made of glass and concrete, but also to a presence on the internet. Last year alone, we registered around 8 million visitors on our international dealer websites. This shows just how important a web presence is in the auto trade. It is a vital showcase on the internet, which also acts as a digital contact point for potential customers.

Händlerwebsite - GW

And to ensure it stays this way, we made our dealer websites even better and subjected them to a complete relaunch in 2016. Both in terms of content and design, the new dealer presence is perfectly tailored to users’ needs. Thanks to responsive web design, it renders optimally on all types of mobile device. The concept and graphic design for the dealer websites originate from Porsche Austria, while Porsche Informatik is responsible for developing and running them. We rolled out the new application in 14 partner countries of Porsche Holding Salzburg in 2017. This means that we are currently running approximately 730 multi-brand dealer websites.

What is the technical basis?

Team HändlerwebsiteUnlike many other Porsche Informatik applications, the dealer websites were developed in Python. At the same time, we relied on the Plone open-source content management system (CMS), which we largely use as a framework, since we have customised the user interfaces to such a great extent: firstly, to comply with corporate identity requirements by making no styling options available to the dealers; secondly, to make maintenance intuitive and straightforward for our users.

The CMS is modularly structured: We provide the dealerships with approximately 40 components that they can use selectively on their websites. Alongside modules for news, events, image galleries, social hub, etc., we also integrate data from many other Porsche Informatik applications, such as the respective company’s CarAdvisor rating, the current used-car offerings from “Das WeltAuto” and immediately available new cars. Individual dealerships can maintain a significant part of the content themselves by means of an inline editing solution that we’ve tailored to their needs. However, the importers in the countries also provide central, mainly brand content.

Our websites are delivered by means of Varnish Cache. The 730 or so domains refer to this and are linked with the correct path of the respective website in the CMS. We generate the SSL certificates for these domains automatically via the Let’s Encrypt open-source certificate authority.

Since Plone was also new for us technologically in the beginning, we obtained regular support from a Plone core developer during the relaunch. As a framework, Plone perfectly supports the modular structure of the websites – just as intended in the concept. We are very satisfied with the choice of CMS.

The team

Co-CreationTwo to three developers are currently working on the dealer websites. While implementing the relaunch, however, we had additional support from other teams. We consult with each other on a daily basis in the product team and maintain constant contact with our customers at Porsche Austria: firstly, to develop enhancements jointly, in line with our “Co-Creation” strategic cooperation model, and secondly, to coordinate support issues.

Naturally our responsibilities also include ongoing operation and ongoing support of the application. Undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges in the project was to reconcile and meet the different requirements of the companies, our group brands and the partner countries. Cooperation within the development team and with our customers at Porsche Austria is really great. Our people are highly motivated to create something fantastic, and they are so enthusiastic about their projects and applications – that’s what makes our team spirit!

You can get an impression of our websites here. Simply choose a brand and a province, and then visit the website of one of the companies: https://suche.autohaus.at

Anna Buchwinkler

has been at Porsche Informatik since 2011 and is team leader of Smart Dealership & Marketing Solutions. Anna is passionate about web development; together with her colleagues she has already realised a number of projects at Porsche Informatik and she always welcomes new challenges.