The popularity of renting sports equipment and gear has grown tremendously over the past years, but rental business owners still struggle with poor systems that don’t meet their needs. Rentle’s rental software meets and solves the challenges that these business owners face. Currently Rentle offers a free plan for any business to build their rental shop and start accepting bookings online.
When a family goes on a ski trip to Lapland, they have to take care of everything from accommodation to mapping out their excursion destinations. This also includes selecting the right gear and sports equipment. Some may have all the ski or biking equipment they need at home, but more and more prefer renting the gear on site.
''Not everyone has to have a pair of skis lying around in their basement, especially since rental shops have a selection of some of the best equipment available that you can rent either directly on-site or in advance online. In order for this to work, the shop has to have functional systems.'' Tuomo Laine, the CEO of Rentle explains.
How it all started.
A few years back the three founders of Rentle started their caravan journey around Finland’s rental shops and ski resorts, they discovered the different challenges and obstacles that the shop owners come across on a daily basis.
Many owners told us that the renting process itself is still operated manually with a pen & paper. Making any sort of predictions is hard because you never know how many customers walk in during the day - in some cases, there is no equipment left for some of the customers when they arrive at the store.
Based on the wishes of these shop owners, Rentle has developed a rental software that facilitates the work that the employees do at these rental shops and resorts. The first pilot customers started using this rental software in 2019, and now Rentle has customers in ten countries around the world.
Rentle’s rental software solves the shop owners’ challenges.
The software is scalable to businesses of all sizes, starting from the smallest equipment rental shops to the large ski resorts. Depending on the size, different companies have different challenges. Still, Rentle’s is built on principles, one of which is that each and every business and business owner are met with the same amount of care and emotion.
In addition to its own customers, Rentle strongly takes into consideration the satisfaction and user experience of the shop’s customers.
''For us, the most important thing is the software’s ease of use for both the shop’s employees’ side, as well as their customers’ side. The purpose is to help the person, it’s crucial that the usability is intuitive and easy,'' says Laine.
''The happiness of the end consumer leads to our customers also doing well. It shows up as better sales in our client’s company. Many shop-owners have increased their business and shortened queuing times in the rental shop.''
The software is continuously updating, with customer feedback being the number one priority. This way Rentle aims to develop the software based on the needs of the customers.
''Our customers have all the experience and expertise in the rental industry. Our job is to listen and help them with their challenges,'' Laine explains.
Rentle Lite - accessible online renting for everyone
The problem with many rental shops is that the sales of their rental equipment are hard to predict in advance. Quite often, the shops experience rush-hours during season peaks since finding the right equipment for every walk-in customer takes a lot of extra time.
''It’s not that these gritty shop owners didn’t want an online renting solution, it’s that they didn’t have the right tools for it,'' Laine explains.
Rentle now wants to make online renting accessible and easy for every rental shop owner. This is why they have now developed a new, free online booking system called Rentle Lite.
Rentle Lite is a free system that allows any entrepreneur to set up their own online rental shop. During the development of this product, all of the industry-specific needs were taken into account so that the shop owners don’t have to worry about the risks that come with renting.
An online shop can be set up from scratch in under an hour. Rentle Lite provides you with a template on top of which the shop owner can create their own store and add their products easily in no time.
From the online rental store, customers can book and rent equipment even months in advance. The booking system asks for the customers’ details so that the right gear can be selected and prepared for the customer. This saves a lot of time for both the customer and the shop employee.
With advance bookings, the shop owner can create, for example, marketing campaigns for quieter weeks.
''It has been great to see the shop owners’ enthusiasm when the first booking has been made through the system. You get an empowering feeling, especially since you’ve always been used to having to get the customers to the store first. It’s a big moment when you actually start seeing further into the future, '' Laine says.
Rentle leads with support.
One of Rentle’s most satisfied customers is Roll Outdoors. They offer their customers guided bike tours, bike rental services, and much more. Currently, Roll Outdoors has locations in Rovaniemi and Kiilopää, with their first Helsinki location opening up in August.
The young business has grown over the past few years, and alongside the bike tours, bike renting has grown in popularity more and more each year. With the number of rentals increasing, the owners of Roll Outdoors decided to invest in rental software. And so in the spring, a competition between online booking providers began.
''We ended up with Rentle, because we really liked the people behind it. What was also reassuring was the fact that they had put in a lot of effort for just the demonstration of the product , and had created a whole store with products and all for us. We were able to try out the system and take it into use after some minor tweaking after the presentation,'' one of Roll Outdoors' business owner's Kuutti Heikkilä says.
Rentle has been a huge help already in the first few months. It has been easy to use and the software has saved employees’ and customers’ time. If something doesn’t work, or if there are questions regarding the software, oftentimes the team is ready to answer and solve the issue within minutes.
''Many of the features we need have been added to the software since we’ve taken it into use. It’s nice to do business with a company that really cares about the worries and development proposals of smaller businesses. We’ve used quite a few booking systems, and Rentle has been absolutely superior in customer service and excels in the user experience from the perspective of both the customer and the staff, '' Heikkilä says.
The owners of Roll Outdoors have been pleased that they decided to go with Rentle.
''The gut feeling we had about the great and efficient service didn’t let us down. We couldn’t be much happier with Rentle, '' Heikkilä says.