Somo partners with mfldirect to drive its new online marketplace


Mfldirect today announced the launch of its new online platform built by digital product agency Somo, part of the CI&T family, in partnership with Elastic Path, Bray Leino and Motability Operations.


Mfldirect, one of the UK’s largest wholesale used vehicle suppliers and part of Motability Operations, supplies more than 200,000 cars a year to dealers across the UK, with 80% of all sales conducted through its websites.  

While its website was still a firm favourite with dealers, mfldirect wanted to harness the numerous technologies out there that would allow it to offer a more personalised and streamlined purchasing experience.

So mfldirect has partnered with Somo and other key organisations to rebuild its website from the ground up to help dealers search for, shortlist and purchase high quality, underwritten stock as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

Phase 1 of the new platform introduces an entirely new atomic design approach, creating a common component library enabling faster development cycles. Decoupling critical functionality around commerce, content and identity management allows for best-in-class behaviours across the new site, whilst also ensuring full AA compliance.

It allows dealerships of all sizes to browse, shortlist and purchase stock online, as well as manage their users and preferences. 

The platform now includes real-time updates using websockets, giving dealers the latest stock information immediately without interaction, preventing disappointment at peak periods.

The platform has been designed using best-of-breed, AWS cloud based architecture in combination with Elastic Path, a leading Composable Commerce provider, to achieve enterprise scale, performance and resilience, and powerful back-office management and reporting functions.

This is a first step in a bold vision for mfldirect – to become the easiest-to use supplier of wholesale vehicles at scale, with a platform that lets customers easily find and buy the right vehicles in a way that suits them, and supports all mfldirect customers, regardless of their size and purchasing power.

Somo was successful in the competitive pitch for the business, in part due to the agency’s proven track record with other automotive brands and businesses including Audi of America, and ŠKODA UK.

Somo worked with several partners during the project, including Elastic Path (for eCommerce), Bray Leino (for strategy, upfront customer research and vision) and internal teams at Motability Operations including UX, Product, Analytics, Marketing and Engineering.

Becky Keizer, Head of IT Delivery (VRM), Motability Operations said: “With the pace at which the automotive industry in the UK is evolving, we needed to ensure we had the best partners and technology to help us succeed in our journey.

“From early on, Somo felt like an extension of our own internal teams, augmenting our expertise and experience with the right skills, and technical understanding.

“This coupled with modern technology has given us the tools for the delivery of a great product.”

Damian Oton, Managing Director of Fleet, Motability Operations said: “At a time when wholesale supply for dealers has never been more important, we want to continue to be our customers’ trusted remarketing partner. 

“By continuing to invest in our proposition our customers can rely on us for not only consistent supply of cars, but consistent service, and now a market-leading platform. 

“This new platform is just the first phase of a bold five-year vision for mfldirect, with our customers sitting right at the heart of our plans to become the easiest-to use supplier of wholesale vehicles at scale.”

Craig Ford, Head of Digital Solutions (VRM), Motability Operations added: “I’m genuinely excited about our new platform and the positive impact it is going to have on our dealers. 

“Our Product and Design teams have worked closely with our customers to design a smoother, less stressful and highly personalised purchasing experience, giving every dealer the opportunity to secure the cars they are after when they visit the site.”

Michael Alexander, Product Director, Somo added: “Building an intuitive platform requires feedback directly from the people using it. 

“In partnership with the team at MO, we conducted multiple rounds of user testing, and ensured this was fed back into the product, which in turn provided clarity and confidence in our approach. 

“The next phase is to continue this; we will be listening to dealers, understanding what they want more of, and where mfldirect can be made a more effective tool and build out the product to deliver greater value to them.”