Commercial Motor’s new classifieds platform has transformed the user experience, driving sustained online revenue growth:
  • Online revenue growth of 43%
  • 90% rise in page views
  • 42% rise in email enquiries to Commercial Motor dealers

The challenge

Road Transport Media (RTM) publishes print and online publications in the vehicle and transport industry. Its online classifieds service, Commercialmotor.com, connects buyers and sellers of used trucks, vans, and trailers, and has become a key part of the media organisation’s digital strategy, accounting for the majority of its online revenue.

But RTM was struggling to protect and grow online revenue from this important channel because of the poor user experience and missed opportunities to connect buyers and sellers.

The media organisation commissioned user research from an independent research company into the buyers and sellers of commercial vehicles. Key findings included the need to deliver a more logical user journey and a more intuitive search experience to facilitate this connection between buyer and seller.

The findings demonstrated that RTM needed to make it easier for prospect buyers to: find the right commercial vehicle for them; engage with and respond to classified ads from sellers; and find the right content to aid their purchase decisions

This would enable vehicle sellers (the site’s paying customers) to secure a higher volume of email enquiries from buyers. Only by delivering more value to this latter group would Road Transport Media unlock revenue growth.

With two separate platforms – a proprietary classifieds platform and a niche content management system (CMS) – users were having to log into separate areas of the site to move between content and ads, making it harder to access the right content.

This technical set-up also meant that Commercial Motor was tackling monthly license fees, a lack of control over its platform, and tie-in to its suppliers. Slow to respond to marketplace changes, it lagged behind competitors and was missing opportunities to grow revenue.

For these reasons Road Transport Media decided to launch a new and improved website based on a single, integrated platform. The new site needed to be informed by the extensive user research Road Transport Media had commissioned, driving efficiencies in the user journey, and enabling Road Transport Media to continually refine the customer experience based on real-time insights.

Inviqa taught us the concept of getting the product out there quickly and using data to guide further development. This is a real step change in our thinking; we’ve learned to focus on business goals and users over functionality and features.

James Clark, product manager, Commercialmotor.com

What we did

A three-week Discovery facilitated and run by consultants and technologists from digital consultancy Inviqa affirmed the need to deliver a more intuitive search experience to facilitate buyer-seller engagement.

These collaborative workshops and stakeholder interviews were carefully considered to ensure alignment and the delivery of a user experience that would service Road Transport Media’s clearly-defined business goals for the Commercial Motor platform.

The proposed platform needed to include a website frontend, a client backend, an admin backend, and several integrations with legacy systems.

Inviqa’s recommendation to use Acquia has been a key factor in helping us to achieve our goals. The Acquia Cloud solution is simple and intuitive, removing the headache of complex server configuration.

James Clark, product manager, Commercialmotor.com

Inviqa partnered with digital experience solution provider Acquia to handle the technical aspect of the Drupal project. As part of the implementation, Acquia combined two distinct RTM websites – commercialmotor.com and vanadvisor.com – in one Acquia Cloud subscription, enabling the client to manage both from the same backend system.

Following the launch of the MVP site (minimum viable product) by Inviqa, Road Transport Media conducted extensive usability/UX testing, again with the help of independent research company Fusion Research.

Real users were asked to perform a series of tasks, for example, to search for different types of trucks using the various forms of search supported by the website, from keyword search, to page/faceted search, and homepage search.

They were asked other questions about what they were thinking and feeling during key moments of the user journey, for example ‘Use the beta Commercial Motor website to find the make / model (and price) of the truck that you typically buy / are currently considering. Talk us through what you are doing and thinking as you go along’.

Feedback from this user testing was fed into the Agile development process and informed both short-term improvements, as well as the long-term digital strategy and later digital initiatives, such as the introduction of location-based search in April 2018.

The results

The new Commercial Motor website and improved user experience led to several key milestones between September 2015 and September 2016 including a:

  • 90% rise in page views for the site’s classified section
  • 42% rise in email enquiries to Commercial Motor dealers
  • 32% rise in stock levels at September month end
  • Conversion rise from 1.79% to 5.28%
  • 43% rise in online revenue in 2016

One of the primary KPIs was to increase the number of email enquiries from buyers received by vehicle sellers. This was clearly achieved; after the website relaunch, email enquiries rose a massive 211.76% between September 2016 and September 2018 as follows:

  • September 2015 (prior to replatforming): 288 email enquiries
  • September 2016 (post replatforming): 408
  • September 2017: 756
  • September 2018: 1,272

It is clear from these figures that the website relaunch resulted in an immediate improvement in this KPI. More importantly, the increased focus on UX in general, and the search experience in particular, together with the iterative, Agile approach to development, has led to long-term growth which is still yet to plateau.

What’s more, the new platform provides Commercial Motor with the flexibility to be far more responsive to users’ needs. When development is necessary, it is now fast, agile, and painless.

Maintaining a laser-focus on Commercial Motor’s key users was key to the project’s success. The single sign-on for classifieds and editorial is driving a superior user experience that’s seen a record-breaking response to ads placed by dealers.

Here’s a testimonial from a paying site user:

The site is very easy to use and to search for stock, and through this we are constantly getting queries from potential buyers and acquiring new users to our site.

Emma Mannion, Truck and Plant Asset Management Ltd

Inviqa's work with Commercial Motor was awarded the 'Media & Entertainment' accolade at the 2017 Acquia Engage Awards and was shortlisted for The PPA’s ‘Digital Initiative of the Year’ 2017 award.