X-ActFit for P&A

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Imagine using a computer to show a customer every aftermarket part available from the top distributors for his or her particular vehicle. Imagine the time and money your parts people would save by being able to look up stuff so easily. More than 300 dealers are already doing this thanks to X-ActFit software, made by Indiana-based Ready2Ride Inc.

Husband and wife Jamie and Ronnie Longacre own the company. They got the idea for X-ActFit while creating the website for their previous powersports mail-order business. "We went to load our inventory into our site," Jamie says, "and the only way we could do this was just to link the parts to the bikes manually." After all that work, the Longacres realized many dealers would be willing to pay for such a service, which they could use not only on their websites, but their parts counters.

The Longacres first approached Tucker Rocky. It provided its catalog information, and Ready2Ride's roughly 20-member team (made up mostly of former parts people and mechanics) created a database with which a dealer could search the catalogs by make, model and year. XactFit organizes the search results by product category. It provides the part number, a color image, a product description, the most current retail and wholesale pricing, and the distributors' live inventory, including the part's warehouse location. X-ActFit also says if the part is backordered, along with when it's expected to return to stock.

Ready2Ride updates this information daily over the Internet, Jamie says. The company removes discontinued parts as soon as the last one sells. New parts that aren't yet available yet won't show up until they are.

Ready2Ride debuted XactFit at Dealer Expo 2008 with the Tucker Rocky catalogs. The company now has similar deals with Drag Specialties, Marshall Distributing, Parts Unlimited and Western Power Sports. The company is so confident in the software that it offers a 30-day free trial.

Here's how pricing is arranged for dealers who decide to keep the software: The setup fee is $199. A subscription fee is based on the number of distributors and users, and there is no contract. Pricing starts at $34.95 per month for one catalog and up to five users. Each additional catalog is an extra $5. Ready2Ride charges more for two other plans: a license allowing up to 10 users and one with no limitation. Ongoing updates are free, as is tech support Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern Time. "After that, we have voice mail, and we do check it," Jamie says. "If it's an emergency, we'll call them whenever."

Dealers, she says, should also install the software onto computers for their salespeople and technicians, especially if the dealership hasn't already reached the limit of its user agreement. X-ActFit helps techs to write up repair orders and salespeople to sell add-ons with unit purchases. X-ActFit collects a customer's ID and order information. Then the sales reps can print out the information for the parts department. They can also print end-of-day reports.

In a similar fashion, X-ActFit can download customer orders into the dealer management systems developed by MIC Systems, Santa Maria Software (Counterman) and NextStep. Others are on the way, Jamie says. Another goal is two-way integration in which XactFit could upload from the DMS in-store stocking and pricing information, the latter of which often differs from distributor baseline pricing.

You may be asking, what about my website? Can I add X-ActFit to it so my customers can shop by fitment? Only if your site was built by 50 Below. Last year, Ready2Ride signed an exclusive agreement with the website provider, which added the search-by-fitment as a $1,200-per-year option to its EZ-Shop upgrade. Jamie points out that a fully upgraded 50 Below website will be able to display all the applicable products by fitment. Big online retailers, on the other hand, are able to upload manually only a portion of the catalogs. (Of course, these retailers upload only what they stock, and are able to update retail availability. 50 Below dealers presumably would have to special order a large portion of incoming orders, which some dealers argue is impractical — even though drop-shipping is offered by some distributors and vendors.)

Jamie also points out that dealers who have EZ-Shop may still want to subscribe to X-ActFit because only it contains information such as wholesale pricing, part numbers, availability, etc. "I tell dealers that if it saves them from misordering one part per month, after the restocking fee, the return postage and the expedited shipping to get the right part, our program has paid for itself. And I'm not even considering the cost of an angry customer, which can be substantial."

Ready2Ride is busy trying to form relationships with additional distributors and even OEMs. Says Jamie, "We have plans to add as many distributors that want to work with us, as long as they give us access to their data and there are dealers out there who want it."

Interested dealers can contact Ready2Ride by calling 866-951-6686, or logging on to www.x-actfit.com. Demos are available.