Established in 1886, Varley Group is one of Australia’s oldest and most advanced engineering and manufacturing companies. The group provides a comprehensive range of products, services, and workmanship to major industries—ranging from mining and emergency services, to education and defense.
Varley’s wildly different customer base includes individuals, governments, and global corporations. It manufactures and sells world-class custom emergency service, health, education, and rescue vehicles; defense ambulances and arms storage facilities; and industrial and recreational electric vehicles. Its electric vehicles—sold under the EMC Electric Vehicles brand name—include golf carts, resort vehicles, industrial materials-handling vehicles, and utility carts, as well as the parts and accessories that go with each vehicle type.
eCommerce as a differentiator
Facing strong competition in the electric vehicle marketplace, Varley needed to find a way to differentiate its range of electric vehicles and related products. Following a market review that included researching competitors in the United States, the company embarked on a digital transformation project—at the centre of which was the creation of an eCommerce option to help stay ahead of the competition.
“Varley has five or six key competitors in Australia within the electric vehicle marketplace alone,” said Dean Wiggins, marketing coordinator, Varley Group. “So, it’s important to stay a step ahead in terms of delivering the products and services our customers need, as well as making it easy for customers to purchase from Varley.”
Perfectly paired providers
After deciding to trial eCommerce with its electric vehicle division—EMC Electric Vehicles— Varley needed to determine what technology solution would underpin the eCommerce function. The business considered a number of different approaches before deciding to utilise its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution—Epicor ERP.
Varley already used Epicor ERP to manage its daily operations across the entire business. The familiar interface and existing relationship with both Epicor and its local partner contributed to Varley’s decision to stick with Epicor ERP, which had already delivered results for the business.
Epicor and their partner recommended Varley implement Epicor Commerce Connect, a solution which integrates Epicor ERP with Magento, a leading eCommerce platform. Epicor Commerce Connect lets customers develop quickly, and they can be managed easily. It’s fully integrated with Epicor ERP, extending Varley’s existing investment in the solution.
Wiggins said, “There are so many options out there for eCommerce—it’s almost an endless list of considerations and potential providers. We were already using Epicor ERP and were big fans of the system. Using it to help power the eCommerce store meant Varley could tie in the eCommerce activity with the bricks-and-mortar activity using the same system, giving us a single source of truth. This made accounting processes flow more smoothly—and so made perfect sense.”
“Varley chose Magento because it works so neatly with Epicor Commerce Connect. From implementation, the impact was immediate, and we found out just how powerful and easy to use it was.”
eCommerce ready in just four months
Epicor and their partner worked closely with Varley to ensure all requirements were met and all systems worked seamlessly together. The implementation was complete in just four months.
One of the key benefits Epicor Commerce Connect has delivered for Varley is the increased speed of transactions. The new eCommerce system has also improved customer satisfaction. Varley’s customers have adapted to the new online store, and transactions have received good feedback across the board. The purchase process is smooth, so Varley is now seeing more repeat business and increased customer loyalty.
Wiggins added, “Around 20 percent of our online purchases are followed up by a repeat purchase. The eCommerce store has enhanced our reputation in the industry, and we’re getting interesting feedback from dealers, suppliers, and even competitors saying this is a great step forward for the whole industry.”
“Traffic to the Varley website is increasing daily, which is another positive outcome. While not all customers want to purchase online, having the option makes us more responsive to customer needs.”
Burgeoning eCommerce business
As part of its digital transformation project, Varley aims to increase the range of products available on its eCommerce store. The company will also build a vehicle configurator that lets customers choose all the options— including paint colours and optional extras— and then purchase the entire vehicle online. It will be the first-time Australian customers are able to purchase an entire vehicle online from the manufacturer.
After that, Varley will expand the online store across the entire Varley Group—rather than just its electric vehicle range. This is a longterm expansion plan that will offer significant benefits to the group and bring it one step closer to its digital transformation goal.
“Many of Varley’s business units compete in industries where there is very little to differentiate the products,” said Wiggins. “Standing out by providing different purchasing options is a key part of Varley’s approach and sets us up for future growth.”
View Varley Group’s live eCommerce store— powered by Epicor Commerce Connect— at www.emcelectricvehicles.com.au.