Business development, Online store

What do you need to build an online store for rental businesses?

By Akseli Lehtonen on July, 5 2019
online store-1

The total size of the global B2C e-commerce market is 2400$ billion and growing approximately 200$ billion annually. Most of it consists of, obviously, traditional e-commerce but some progressive rental shops have also seen web as a growth opportunity. In the recreational rental industry, having an online presence is essential because in some cases tourists can form a significant part of the customer base. Without an online presence, finding your rental shop from abroad would be like finding a needle from a haystack. Very unlikely.

Build a website

To start renting out products online, the first step would be having a website, which most of the companies nowadays have. To be able to take in reservations, the website should at least include an up to date list of products and contact details. However, with this simplistic set-up, you’ll miss a lion’s share of the potential online customers as you’re only able to take phone or email reservations. If you don’t want to custom build your website, there are several easy website builders. Check out for instance:

Tip: Make your website more attractive with high-quality product photos.

Integrated booking calendar

Now that your rental shop has an online presence, products listed, contact details updated, and telephone bill paid, you are technically able to start taking reservations through your website. However, the conversion rate of a phone number is ridiculously low compared to an integrated booking calendar on your website. The world is full of very good and simple-to-use online booking calendar applications, but scaling up your online rentals only with a digital booking calendar becomes a logistical nightmare very fast.

booking calendar🗓 Booking calendar in our online store solution.

Automated inventory management

Once the house of cards is starting to shake and you are on the verge of receiving too many reservations through the booking calendar on your website, it might be a good time to upgrade the manual processes of managing inventory. By integrating an inventory management software with your booking calendar you’ll save a lot of manual work and decrease the risk of over-booking your capacity.

inventory

🔗 Selling out is a positive problem but overbooking might do harm for your reputation. With our online store solution you don't need to worry about those pesky overbooking situations anymore because your every sales channel are linked with your inventory in real time.

Start accepting payments

With a booking calendar and automated inventory management system you have come quite far. The next step would be starting to accept payments and making your website a real online rental store. For rental shops, which are accepting only offline payments, online sales are a huge growth opportunity. Arguably getting the customer to pay the rental in advance will significantly reduce the number of customers, who are making reservations and, for any reason, never showing up. After all, payment is the highest level of commitment.

Furthermore, when some of the customers move to make rentals online, it frees up time in the rental shop, enabling the staff to prepare reservations, provide better customer service, and be more productive in general.

Tip: If you haven’t added any analytics tools to measure the performance of your website, now would be a great time. We’ll go through the basics of website analytics later in this blog.

checkout

💳 Commit your customers with online payments.

All-in-one rental software

At this point you have a working online store set-up and you’re probably successfully renting out products through online channel. But does operating with 3-4 software sound familiar? Sometimes you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken, but in this case, there’s room for improvement.

Compared to the traditional e-commerce, online rentals are much more complicated due to the more complex nature of inventory management and more specific needs from the payment solution. Many solutions cover parts of the necessary features but lack the final piece. Hence, a complete online store set-up must be weaved together from several pieces.

Rentle is designed to solve the challenges of rental companies. One of our most important goals is to make renting out products online so easy that rental shops could launch their online store in 15-minutes - with one software.

online storeSimplistic user interface makes renting pleasant. 

Our online rental system includes:

  • Hosted website URL for your store (https://rentle.shop/yourshopname)
  • Booking calendar, which is integrated to your inventory status (blocks products that are not available)
  • Inventory management system for renting
  • Payment solution for your online store (and in-store)
  • Intelligent up-selling methods to increase the average purchase size
  • CRM system
  • Business intelligence & reports
  • Language support in English and Finnish (and new updates, Russian, German, and Slovak, are coming shortly)

If you’d like to hear more about our online store solution for rental businesses, don’t hesitate to book a demo!

Book a demo

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