Our work for: Inchcape plc
Website Analytics collection
As part of our ongoing relationship with Inchcape to provide extra development capacity as and when needed, we were asked to work with the business to create a tool to retrieve and collate analytics information from their 100s of websites worldwide
To retrieve and collate website analytics information from Inchcape’s 100s of websites worldwide
Inchcape is a leading, independent international automotive distributor and retailer operating in the premium and luxury automotive sectors across 34 markets. They have diversified multi-channel revenue streams including sale of new and used vehicles, parts, service, finance and insurance.
Inchcape maintain hundreds of websites worldwide as part of their dealership and manufacturer networks.
Being able to collect information about their customers’ use of the sites is vital for the business to ensure the sites are providing all of the required information, are easily accessible, allow access to all required services and generally help Inchcape to provide the excellent service their customers expect.
It was necessary therefore to be able to retrieve and collate the analytics information collected by all of these websites using several platforms, including Google Analytics, so that this data could be analysed and reported on as a whole. This would help provide the company with the insights they need to continue to expand and improve their services.
As part of our ongoing relationship with Inchcape to provide extra development capacity as and when needed, we were asked to work with the business to create a tool to provide the required functionality.
- MS SQL Server
- Entity Framework
- Json API Integration
- Google Analytics reporting API
Initially we worked with the key stakeholders in the business to expand on and clarify their requirements. This involved looking at what data they needed to retrieve and what format this needed to be transformed into in order to meet their reporting and analysis needs. We worked with other technical and data analysis staff within Inchcape to agree on a final design for the database which was to store the collated analytics data and be used for reporting.
Simultaneously, research was carried out into the analytics engines in use to find out what data was available and what means were provided for its retrieval.
This all then provided us the information we needed to create the tool which consisted of two parts:
- A browser-based administration user interface which allowed the necessary configuration information to be maintained
- An automated process which runs periodically to connect to the analytics services (e.g. Google Analytics) via their published API, retrieve the available data, transform it and push the data to the reporting database.
Some key features of this tool are that it needed to be:
- Automated, requiring minimal user action other than routine administration, and progress and error reporting.
- Resilient. There are inevitable network and other interruptions connecting to a third party API service, therefore it was essential the tool could gracefully recover and retry ensuring there were no missing data.
The reporting and analysis on the data provided by this tool is an ongoing process within the business, but since using the tool, the customer has already reported key areas in website usage which can be used to focus their efforts on providing an improved vehicle buying process for their customers.
"We have worked with Purple Crane since 2014 on a number of digital metrics and web analytics projects. They have always been fully committed to the projects, providing full analysis of requirements with an understanding of business constraints, a flexible approach and a high level of quality in their products. Help and support is always available, in both post-deployment periods and throughout the production life of their solutions. Purple Crane have been a strong development partner for Inchcape in pre-project consultation, research and analysis."
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