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April 13th, 2021 (Updated 04/26/2022) | 6 min. read

Cox Automotive Achieves Complete Self-Sufficiency With White-Box Approach and Unlimited Configurability

Facilitating the Buying and Selling of Vehicles Around the World

Cox Automotive is the only company in the world that offers a complete set of solutions for the automotive dealer, transforming the way the world buys, sells, owns and uses cars.

“Our goal is to sell the right vehicle to the right dealer at the right price.”

Connected to every stage of the process — from inventory and marketing, to sales and service — Cox Automotive bridges the gap between consumers, manufacturers, dealers and lenders at every stage of the automotive experience.

Cox Enterprises was established in 1898 as a communications business and entered the auto auction business in 1968 with the purchase of Manheim Auto Auction in Pennsylvania. In 1999, the company launched AutoTrader.com – an online automotive classified website for car shoppers and sellers that not only aggregates millions of new and used cars from thousands of dealers and private sellers, but also provides reviews, advice and comparison tools.

Cox Automotive was formed as a division of Cox Enterprises less than 10 years ago but already has more than 40,000 dealer clients across five continents.

Discount Tools Couldn’t Keep Pace with Customer Needs

Cox Automotive enables its customers to buy and sell through its website and is responsible for applying customer discounts based on reward programs and applying promotions on behalf of its sellers and buyers. However, the team was looking to develop a system that applied complicated dealer discount rules in a flexible way.

“We wanted to offer our customers the discount programs they needed, and do so in a timely manner.”

The team was able to identify which buyers qualified for certain reward programs and should, therefore, be entitled to specific discounts, e.g., Gold members get 15% off, Silver members get so many points per purchase, etc. But they also wanted to meet the custom, dynamic and ad-hoc promotions their sellers wanted to offer interested buyers, e.g., sales with certain attributes or meeting certain criteria (e.g., low consumption, type, brand, etc.).

However, the tool the team was using couldn’t handle the complexity of this requirement as it didn’t support capturing the dynamic requests coming in from sellers. It also couldn’t manage the complicated dealer discount rules needed in a flexible, efficient or affordable way.

The team needed a flexible solution that would let them quickly respond to new specific customer requirements, so they turned to their internal Customer Software Development team (CSD) which usually builds its own solutions.

The CSD team was tasked with building a new solution to manage discounts and promotions. However, the time needed to build such a solution in house would be a lengthy and costly process, taking days to code and several weeks before a viable solution was built. Even then, they needed additional scope to meet the ad-hoc discount requests of customers in a timely manner.

But then, the Principal Enterprise Architect, Matt Sellers, heard that another business unit within the organization was using a pricing tool called Pricefx. Despite concerns that learning a new system might double the time and energy required to complete the project, he could clearly see the value of the tool. So, in February 2020, he went for it.

Supported Self-Sufficiency Success

Matt chose to leverage the Pricefx PromotionManager module to meet the company’s needs, opting for an enterprise contract with unlimited partitions and users. However, he also chose to forgo Pricefx implementation and configuration…

The Pricefx team was excited and impressed to learn that Matt was keen to configure the solution himself, so they pointed him in the direction of all the documentation and information he would need. Pricefx is a large product with wide scope and many features, so he decided to hire a Pricefx Solution Architect (SA) for 40 hours of training to give him a head start.

The SA guided him through the documentation and became the main point of contact for the occasional Q&A before Matt was ready to go it alone.

“The Pricefx online documentation was extensive and invaluable in helping our developers create the solution. I have no doubts that we would not have been successful without it.”

Pricefx is an isolated third-party system focused just on pricing, which not only boosted the team’s confidence in its success, but made testing faster and easier thanks to it only having one integration point. A self-built solution would have required wiring into everything, making testing much more complex and lengthy.

The CSD team was impressed by how very customizable and configurable the solution was and by how easy it was to add new features and new types of discounts very quickly without having to raise helpdesk tickets or work orders.

With Pricefx, the team was able to completely develop a sophisticated system that would drive their discounts much faster than had they built it from scratch. In so doing, they saved time and costs on project development and achieved full ownership and understanding of the technology behind their success.

By June, just five months after first hearing of Pricefx, they had a solution that met all their exacting needs.

“Pricefx is almost infinitely customizable. We never know what features our customer will ask for, so having a system that is so flexible is a perfect fit.”

A Better Solution in Half the Time

The project went live in November 2020 with a pilot group and has been well received by the end users of the tool. They are excited to expand the reach of the discounting tool to all their customers throughout 2021.

  • Development time was roughly half what the team would have spent building the system from scratch.
  • Project costs were minimized thanks to full ownership of development through Pricefx’s extensive documentation and white-box approach.
  • The resulting system is flexible, capable and ready for their future needs, and importantly, they didn’t need to try and build it themselves
  • Implementing discounts now takes minutes (rather than days or weeks) and is a far more flexible process than it would have been.
  • They are now ready to meet their most demanding customer-led discount requirements in a timely manner.

“When our customers request new types of discounts in the future, we’ll be able to turn those requests around much faster thanks to Pricefx.”

Download a copy to share: Cox Automotive Pricefx Case Study