Merchant's Inc., one of North America's largest retail tire dealerships, has contracted with CarParts Technologies Inc. of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., to provide a multi-store auto service management system and trading network for its 112 retail and commercial tire outlets.
Merchant's ranks as the fourth largest independent tire dealership in North America based on retail tire sales and is sixth in company-owned outlets. The company said the multi-year agreement calls for CarParts to develop a state-of-the-art point-of-sale computer system that will offer greater speed and integration of the automotive sales and service process.
CarParts markets integrated point-of-sale software primarily for the automotive service field.
The firm recently purchased Pittsburgh-based Open Webs Inc., which specializes in tire sales software.
CarParts said the pact calls for consolidating the management of Merchant's stores using an integrated version of its multi-store auto service management system. The system will allow each Merchant's site to operate independently, using an in-store, centralized database with real-time connectivity.
Merchant's CEO Michael Riggan called the system an important step toward the company's objective of becoming a world-class tire and automotive service provider.
``Every technology investment that the company makes is focused on this goal,'' he said. ``It's a rapidly changing industry, and we will make the investments required to help our associates provide world-class customer and automotive service.''
Mr. Riggan said the system will be the easiest in the industry to use and will ``allow Merchant's associates to become partners in the maintenance of our customers' vehicles, leading to improved customer satisfaction, retention and ultimately increased sales.''
CarPart Technologies said its system will provide training, ongoing help-desk support, updates to computer software and programs plus access to third-party databases such as auto parts catalogs, labor guides and recommended auto maintenance schedules.
Merchant's, founded in 1943 by Caton Merchant, operates 110 retail stores and two commercial tire centers in Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.