CAMBRIDGE, Mass.Openbay Inc. is partnering with AutoZone Inc. to enable Boston-area consumers to comparison shop for and book automotive repair and maintenance services with a network of local professionals directly through AutoZone.com.
Openbay, which calls itself the only nationwide online marketplace for auto repair, provides consumers with a marketplace via its website at www.openbay.com and mobile devices to find, book and pay for local auto repair and maintenance services.
The Cambridge-based online firm said its new relationship with AutoZonean auto parts retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessorieswill save customers the time, money and hassle of finding a trustworthy mechanic when their vehicles require professional service.
Beginning in June, consumers in the greater Boston region were able to take advantage of the new service by visiting AutoZone's website at www.Autozone.com. Openbay said its platform allows consumers to enter specific automotive service needs or describe problems with their vehicles.
Local automotive professionals will then respond with binding offers for service, and consumers will be able to select from multiple competitive offers that will include pricing, location, customer ratings and reviews, according to Openbay.
The company did not say whether it planned to roll out the concept to other markets at this time.
AutoZone chose to partner with Openbay because it's at the forefront of innovation in the automotive repair business, said Al Saltiel, AutoZone's senior vice president of marketing, customer satisfaction. Openbay and AutoZone are helping to pair vehicle repair services with consumers in a unique and compelling way.
AutoZone said its commercial automotive repair businesses will be added to Openbay's extensive network of Greater Boston-area service providers that may respond to Open-bay users' requests for vehicle repair, and throughout the partnership Openbay users will continue to enjoy the platform's options for vehicle service.
Rob Infantino, founder and CEO of Openbay, said the company has pole position in the do-it-for-me (DIFM) auto repair market, and Au-
toZone is an auto parts leader for professional shops and do-it-yourself (DIY) vehicle repair.
While the relationship is a logical one, it's thrilling that our startup has earned the attention and trust of AutoZone, a publicly traded Fortune 500 company. Openbay is gaining momentum, thanks to our innovative, hassle-free approach to auto repair.
Openbay said it has used the Boston area as its test track for new initiatives and will use the region as the pilot market for the new alliance with AutoZone.com.
The company noted that annual automotive aftermarket service sales account for more than $2 billion in the Greater Boston region and more than $6 billion statewide.
It also claims that by helping consumers comparison shop for automotive repair and maintenance service, its online marketplace saves them upward of 50 percent by shops competing for their business.
In 2015, the company launched OpenbayConnect, which it called a first-of-its-kind car repair service to remotely determine the cause and cost of automotive repairs.
On its website, Openbay describes Connectwhich it calls Your Personal Mechanicas operating like this:
c Tell us your auto repair needsor tell us what issues you're having and we'll help diagnosis the problem;
c Compare quotes for repair and maintenance service from mechanics near you. Openbay provides quotes from auto repair shops near you. Estimate includes parts, labor and taxes. Compare quotes based on price, distance and ratings; and
c Select, book and pay securely through Openbay. Earn Rewards, too. Lock in your appointment with a credit card and select appointment times that work for you. Openbay handles the payment after your service is completed. Your service is added to your maintenance history. And you earned rewards toward future service.
In April, Openbay also began supporting Apple Pay's availability on Openbay's mobile app. Mr. Infantino said that with Apple Pay, we continue to innovate and maintain a first-mover advantage for vehicle repair. The perceived nuisance of getting one's car or truck serviced is becoming virtually frictionless.
Using Apple Pay can be beneficial for both the automotive repair shop and for the consumer, Openbay claims. Consumers can use an easy and secure option to pay for automotive repair and maintenance services with Apple's payment service, according to the company, while providers benefit by lowering their risk of responsibility for fraudulent charges.
Businesses may now accept Apple Pay without having to upgrade their point-of-sale terminals, the firm added.
Openbay is privately held, with its investors including Google Ventures, a16z seed, Boston Seed Capital, Stage 1 Ventures and several individual investors.
As of February, AutoZone operated 5,042 stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as well as 411 stores in Mexico, five stores in Brazil and 18 IMC branches for a total count of 5,476.
Openbay's mobile app can be downloaded by via Apple iTunes.