When it comes to running a business, one of the most important pillars is probably its location - or, in other words, where customers can expect to find you. With digitalization taking over the world for years now, many companies have ditched physical whereabouts and moved their entire operations online - and rental businesses are no exception.
These, however, come with specific lines of operation. There is a return model for equipment to come back undamaged and ready to be used again. As businesses remain the true owners of assets - and not customers -, all the logic within the organization has to be aligned with keeping equipment in place - including pricing, policies, contact with the customer and more.
There is one key element that rental stores have in common with any other business: customer satisfaction. Whatever the particularities of setting up an online rental store might be, they should also converge into creating a smooth experience and keeping the customer happy. So just to be sure, let’s go into detail on some of them.
Take care of your inventory
Obviously one of the most important parts of your rental business is to display the equipment you have available and its respective details, such as description, images, pricing and more. Make sure your catalog stays organized by ordering it, for example, according to categories and subcategories. Some key advantages also include controlling the availability and quantity of your equipment on the store - so customers don’t end up finding an item that’s not available at the moment. You can go as far as to allow overbooking, so you can still accept reservations as soon as your items become available again.
Handle pricing transparently
Your pricing should be available upfront whenever users are browsing through your inventory - but it’s up to you how you wish to manage rules for that. There are a few aspects that can come into play when defining prices for renting. You can navigate seasonality of products, going for higher values when they are more requested than usual. You can also set hourly pricing if your equipment is rented by the hour, like bicycles or surf boards. Whatever the case is, you should display the correct values on your online store and have coherent ruling in case customers might have questions regarding this topic.
Keep your customers informed
Your online store should contain all critical information regarding your rental business, namely your terms and conditions as well as instructions for customers to follow in order to book an item. Renting equipment comes with certain regulations in order to keep it safe and sound and prolong its lifecycle for other customers to be able to enjoy it. These instructions should be laid out in a clear way on your website, so customers understand the necessary requirements and make an effort not to damage the equipment. An informed customer is a happy customer.
Stay on top of bookings and reservations
Now that customers have surfed through your catalog and found what they’re looking for, it’s time for the next step. Clients should be able to reserve an item or ask for further details regarding technical details or pricing. When it’s time to go ahead with a booking, the process should be as seamless and easy as possible. Use e-mail, phone calls or any form of online services to keep your renters engaged. Keep a steady communication flow and information updated at all times. Your webshop should be the place where customers complete the rental process from A to Z, as well as learn how much they should pay - or, on the other hand, get reimbursed - and how they can do it.
Connect with your rental software
Last but certainly not least, this is crucial step to make your entire operation as simple and easy as possible. You should make sure both your online store and rental software connect seamlessly with each other, meaning:
- Reservations done through your online store are automatically sent and managed within the software
- New information regarding inventory is automatically updated on the store
- Leads that show interest in your equipment are automatically saved as new customers on the software
- And much more!
This is the best way to save time and energy on your side, and create a seamless experience for all parties involved. Having one central platform to manage all your operations will provide you with more flexibility to further satisfy your customers.
In case you’re thinking about managing your rental business online, Flecto might just be what you’re looking for. As the platform that makes businesses thrive in the circular economy, Flecto unlocks your rental operations by centralizing everything you need in a single platform. Ready to know more?