What was the scope of their involvement?
When a customer visits our website, they enter their vehicle information, which takes them to a third-party database that we pay for that gives information (about 5 or 6 parameters). We grab those parameters, go into our database, and search for them using different formulas that either I or the industry generates. The customer receives the results.
A.Y. Technologies provided everything for our e-commerce website, and they built it from scratch. At first, they tried to fix the original site, but there was a lot of cluttered coding. We use Magento, which is a ready-to-go system, but we had to do a lot of custom work because Magento did not have the solutions we needed. However, it also didn’t allow much custom coding.
At the end of our project with our former developer, we found out that he’d decided to write code into the pages. A.Y. Technology had to take that out and make the pages modular, as we could not upgrade the old website the way it was coded. We were stuck with the original Magento version that we were using; to upgrade it, we had to recode everything. If it was modular, we could do an upgrade in 2 hours. While we were working on the website, there was a complete change from Magento 1.7 to 2.0. That took extra time because we had to fix a whole bunch of stuff.
Basically, I would tell A.Y. Technologies what I wanted to accomplish, and they would find a way to do it. Other companies I spoke with would stress their limitations with Magento. I think A.Y. Technologies wrote everything in React and integrated with Magento later. That worked well for us because let us do the custom coding we wanted. Now, when A.Y. Technologies upgrades something for us, it takes 2–3 hours instead of 6 months.
A.Y. Technologies also managed our SEO for a while, and we were getting good results from that. I had to stop, though, because we changed the whole website. I realized that on the old website, we were basically spending the money to direct customers to the platform, but the website wasn’t able to answer their questions. We kept getting phone calls from people saying they had problems using the website. Our business is intensive, and we don’t sell regular products. We need to use a lot of databases to make sure that certain wheels will fit a certain car, for example. So, I stopped the SEO until we fixed the new website, and then we start going back to it. Before, A.Y. Technologies did some SEO for us, as well as blogging. They have other ideas that we’re going to tackle now that the website is ready to go and we’re entering our winter season.
How did you come to work with A.Y. Technologies?
I dealt with 2 other companies before working with A.Y. Technologies, and I had horrible experiences with both. I found A.Y. Technologies through my brother, who knew the owner. The other firms told me that my goals weren’t possible, but A.Y. Technologies told us they’d find a way that was cost-effective. It’s been nice to work with them.
How much have you invested with A.Y. Technologies?
I think we spent about $100,000 in 2016. I don’t know the exact amount. Lately, we’ve been running about $11,000–$12,000 a month, so we’ve probably spent $70,000 so far in 2017.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with A.Y. Technology about 5 years ago. They’ve been working with us on a full-time basis since the beginning of 2016 because we wanted to revamp the whole website.