Pep Boys Revs Up Customer Care and Sales With E-learning

March 5, 2002

Looking to increase sales and enhance product knowledge across its entire sales force, Pep Boys PBY, the nation’s leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain, recently rolled out a new multi-million dollar e-learning program.

The program provides all of its employees online access to multiple custom designed product knowledge tutorials that will make them a more effective sales team.

Pep Boys’ sales force is comprised of a mix of part-time and full-time employees who require ongoing training on various features and benefits of auto and truck parts. Training staff on thousands of SKUs was a difficult and very time-consuming task, usually handled by store management and parts manufacturers. Pep Boys wanted a solution that would quickly and cost-effectively solve an important business challenge of training a diverse and large sales force. After reviewing various training methods, Pep Boys decided that e-learning was the most cost-efficient and practical means of training its staff. The Philadelphia-based auto parts retailer interviewed as many as 20 e-learning companies before selecting DScape Interactive for the project.

“During our review process, DScape actually listened to our needs and tried to understand our culture. Then it developed an entertaining e-learning program that fit our culture and designed the content in such a way as to make it memorable,” said George Lezon, director of employee development for Pep Boys.

Another reason for DScape’s success with Pep Boys was the architectural design of its solution. For example, one e-learning vendor pushed its streaming video as the only effective way to train employees. DScape’s e-learning program gives the illusion of streaming video by incorporating Macromedia Flash technology, streaming audio and interactive Java exercises, requiring much less bandwidth, making the session less burdensome to the network and allowing employees to experience the e-learning session anywhere at anytime from an Internet connection as low as 56K.

“A large retail organization like Pep Boys cannot staff enough trainers to teach everyone at every level on every product. Also training people `on the job’ is too time consuming and disruptive to the retail establishment. E-learning makes the job of training people easy for the corporation and individual,” said Mark Kaplan, co-founder and partner of DScape Interactive.

“DScape’s task was to deliver a great deal of product information in 20- to 30-minute modules that would enable an entry-level person to turn that information into action that results in sales,” explained Kaplan.

The program, slated for all 628 stores, rolled out last month and has already seen positive results. “Within the first five days of going live, we averaged 68 course completions a day. We expect this number to increase as the effectiveness of the programs are realized company-wide,” said Lezon.

Employees access their unique “My Learning Plan,” that contains a list of courses that they need to complete to be certified for their specific jobs. The courses are assigned to students by authorized supervisors or managers through a separate secure interface. This also allows managers and Pep Boys’ human resource department to track and evaluate each associate’s performance.

Associates are trained on products including auto and marine batteries, tires, exhaust systems and engines, as well as services such as heating/cooling systems, alignments and emission systems. DScape’s solution also allows Pep Boys to maximize its return on investment through a browser-based edit function – that allows non-technical staff to update e-learning content, on demand.

About Pep Boys

Pep Boys operates 628 stores and over 6,500 service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico. Along with its vehicle repair and maintenance capabilities, the company also serves the commercial auto parts delivery market and is one of the leading sellers of replacement tires in the United States. Customers can find the nearest location by calling 1-800-PEP-BOYS or by visiting

About DScape Interactive

DScape Interactive designs, develops and hosts custom e-learning courses, learning management systems (LMS) and information systems that enable companies to train employees in a wide range of skills, including product knowledge, company orientation, selling skills, back office procedures, retail merchandising and other topics. DScape places a premium on user experience – insisting that all learning content be engaging for the learning audience, and that it provide a high degree of interactivity, entertainment and delivery efficiency. DScape currently operates from two offices: (Sales) 84 E. Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood, N.J. 07450 and (Production) 1300 Hope-Bridgeville Road, Hope N.J. 07844, (877) 373-9857, email or visit online at