Rentals are an excellent way to increase revenue. In addition to bringing in money themselves, rentals also bring customers into the store at least twice, once when they pick up the rental, and once when they return it. The more often customers are in your store, the more often they’ll see products they want to buy.
Rentals improve the customer experience. They give customers the option of using items that they may not want to invest in just yet, or that they could not otherwise afford. They also provide convenience. Offering an excellent customer experience is worth A LOT. Harvard Business Review shares the following,
“After controlling for other factors that drive repeat purchases in the transaction-based business (for example, how often the customer needs the type of goods and services that the company sells), customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.”
To ensure that you are managing your rentals effectively, you need to use a rental management system. But what should it do? To help you in your search for rental management software, we’ll lay out 9 essential function rental management software should have.
First, we’ll look at how the right rental management software improves the customer experience, then we’ll look at how it makes you a more successful business owner.
Key Function #1: Customers should be able to sign up for rentals online.
How this improves the customer’s experience: Today’s customer expects to be able to not only shop online but also set up other services online, including rentals. This means that to compete, you need to have your rentals available online so customers can easily see what’s available and sign up.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: Online rentals not only provide your customers with convenience, they also save you time as fewer customers need to be walked through signing up in-store because they can already sign up online. Having rentals available online will not only give you the advantage in your local market but will also extend your reach to tourists who may be looking to rent items for a future vacation. By having your rentals available online, you set yourself up to be the go-to shop for vacationers planning their trip from a distance.
Key Function #2: Option for group rentals
How this improves the customer’s experience: Having a group rental option is key when it comes to rentals. Many experiences lend themselves to including friends. It only makes sense that it should be easy for friends to sign up together. You need rental management software that allows friends to sign up together while still being able to customize what they each want to rent.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: By allowing groups to sign up together, you increase your customer base. Your customers will be more likely to bring friends along if they know they can easily sign up in a group with your shop. Those friends will, in turn, spread the word to more friends and your circle of customers will continue to grow. Having group rentals also saves you time as some information will only need to be entered once if it applies to the whole group, for example, the dates or hours of rental.
Key Function #3: Ability to create rental packages
How this improves the customer experience: Customers will enjoy having an all-in-one package that gives them everything they need at once.They will feel confident that your shop knows what it’s doing because you know what they need and have it available in one easy-to-rent package. This will help them feel confident as they might not otherwise know exactly which accessories or additional items they might want if they are renting items for a first-time experience. Giving customers confidence gives them a reason to be loyal and come back again.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: Being able to create rental packages is a huge time saver for you. By giving customers the option to choose one package that includes any accessories they need, or one package that includes items that are frequently rented together, you save yourself time. You also make it easy for customers to rent accessories that they might not choose had those accessories been add-on items, thus increasing revenue.
Key Function #4: Ability to customize deposit amounts
How this improves the customer’s experience: When you have the ability to customize deposit amounts, you give your customers a fair deal. They will be able to put down a deposit on an item in the amount you set that makes sense for that item. With this option, they aren’t forced to put down a higher deposit than makes sense, just because you have higher ticket items and needed to choose one amount to cover all of your rentable products.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: Not all items are created equal. It makes sense that not all deposit amounts should be the same. The right rental management software will allow you to customize your deposit amounts in a way that makes the most sense for your business and your customers.
Key Function #5: Ability to determine late fees
How this improves the customer’s experience: How could late fees possibly improve the customer experience? Because nobody likes late fees, customers can depend on other customers returning items on time, thus increasing the likelihood that items will be available for rent.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: Late fees are a good way to incentivize customers to return rented items on time. They also help you cover missed sales when items are returned late. You need rental management software that allows you to choose what those late fees will be and when they will apply.
Key Function #6: Ability to set variable rental periods
How this improves the customer’s experience: By giving customers the option to rent an item for a week rather than 7 individual days, or a month rather than 31 individual days, you make customers feel like they are renting an item for an amount of time that makes sense and isn’t too long, thus making them feel comfortable renting that item for as long as they need it. This will encourage customers to rent from you more often. Additionally, by allowing customers to rent items by the hour, you allow them to rent items only for the time they need them, so they do not feel that they are renting for longer than they need, or paying more than they should be.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: With the option to set variable rental periods, you’ll be able to set items up to be rented for a time that makes sense, whether that be by the hour, day, week, or month. This will save you time as you can set items to be rented for one week or one month instead of having to click on each day one at a time. Being able to set items to be rented by the hour will also increase revenue as there are more opportunities to send the same item out multiple times each day.
Key Function #7: A calendar that shows available items each day.
How this improves the customer’s experience: If you have a clear understanding of where your rentable items are, you will be able to provide customers with the accurate information they need when signing up for a rental. The faster you’re able to tell them, the more trust they will have in your business and the more professional they will find you. The right rental management software will clearly show you what you have available so you can tell your customers.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: By having an efficient digital system in place to track your rentals, you keep things running smoothly. Employees can easily look at the rental calendar to see what items are available for rent. No need to search through a stack of papers, or go check in the back to see if there are any more of the needed item, they can quickly look at the calendar and have the information they need.
Key Function #8: Reports that show how many rentals are out each day, when they are returning and which are overdue.
How this improves the customer’s experience: Customers may ask you if they can depend on certain items being available to rent in the future. They will ask what they can expect. If you know what to expect based on reports, you can tell them what to expect; when items should be returning, and if you typically have certain items available, or if they are usually sold out. Information is power. The more you have, the better you can serve your customers.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: To be a successful business owner, you need to know about your products. You need to know how many you have, and where they are. With reports that give you the data you need, you can make wise business decisions about exactly how many of each item you should have available to rent. Are all of your items always being rented? Purchase a few more. Do some items sit idle?Devote resources to marketing those items. These are things you need to know if you want to grow your business. Get rental management software that makes it easier to get the data you need.
Key Function #9: Option to easily print a waiver/agreement form.
How this improves the customer’s experience: When customers are renting items, they want the process to go as smoothly as possible. When this process is faster and easier for you, it’s faster and easier for them. Find rental management software that makes it easy to print a waiver/agreement form so you and your customers have what you need without needing to go through any hassle.
How this makes you a more successful business owner: As a business owner, it’s important to dot your I’s and cross your T’s. This means having the legal documents and agreements you need. Make it easy to have those documents by using rental management software that puts them at your fingertips.
Take it a Step Further
With these 9 functions in your rental management software, you’ll be poised to succeed. Take it a step further and find rental management software that is also integrated with a point-of-sale system, making checkout even easier. We happen to know of software like that. Check it out here.