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The global ecommerce industry is expected to reach a market share of approximately 4.4 trillion US dollars in 2023 and yet it hasn’t reached its pinnacle. As the growth in the industry is very discernible and significant, many markets from all over the world are entering the ecommerce industry and one of them is the rental industry.

To provide a clear definition of the rental industry, it predominantly lends heavy equipment and automobiles along with goods such as electronic appliances, outdoor gear, designer wear, sports equipment, etc. As of now, there are thousands of offline players in the rental industry, desiring an online transformation. However, the shift from offline mode to online mode is not easy in the rental industry because of lack of necessary technology.

Where entrepreneurs do want to rely on regular sales ecommerce software which helps millions of retailers every year, it fails to meet even the basic requirements of rental businesses. As a solution, they should look for dedicated rental software that has been carefully developed after considering various use cases of rental businesses.

Why eCommerce Software Fail to Meet Rental Business Requirements?

In each and every business, there is certain criteria that builds up the entire structure of the trade. This includes business models, workflows, market requirements, consumer behavior, etc. To bring automation in the rental business, it is necessary that a software is considerate of all these variables. Speaking about regular eCommerce software in general, they lack the following capabilities.

  1. Do Not Support the Required Workflow of Rental Businesses

eCommerce software is primarily developed to cater sales-based business models. Where adding a product to cart and clicking on the buy button simply completes an order in a sales business, things are more complex in rental business models:

  • Workflow of an Online Sales Business

Placing an order in a sales eCommerce business is very simple.

Step 1: Business owner uploads product listings on the platform

Step 2: User browse those listings and select a product

Step 3: They click on add to cart button and visit cart

Step 4: Click on the checkout button and complete transaction

  • Workflow of an Online Rental Business

Instead of simply clicking on the add to cart button, a user needs to do a lot more.

Step 1: Business owner uploads product listings on the platform

Step 2: User browse those listings and select a product

Step 3: They need to select their rental dates with the help of a rental booking calendar

Step 4: After selecting the dates, users add the product to their cart

Step 5: To complete the transaction, users also need to submit a rental security deposit

Step 6: After returning the product, the business owners inspects it for any damages

Step 7: In case of any damages, the reimbursement amount is deducted from the customer’s rental security. Otherwise, the entire rental security is returned back to the user

Some rental software that adhere to this workflow are YoRent, ShareTribe and EzRentOut.

  1. Lack Essential Features and Functionality

To help rental business owners take the digital route, ecommerce business software lack the following features and functionalities.

  1. Booking Calendar: Not only is booking calendar useful to accept rental date inputs, but it also prevents double booking and assists in overall invoicing.
  2. Rental Security Management: To ensure the proper security of the rental product, a rental platform also needs a rental security module. This module collects the security during checkouts and keeps track of each and every customer’s deposit.
  3. Late Returns: Both product dispatches and returns are frequent in a rental business due to which it is essential to ensure timely returns. For this purpose, rental software has late return features that allow the business owner to define late return periods and charge various fines. Late return amount is deducted from the customer’s rental security.
  4. Document Verification: Lending costly inventory, such as cars and heavy equipment requires business owners to collect and verify some identity proofs. While ecommerce software lacks features to verify important documents, rental software is inclusive of them.
  5. Maintenance Period: This is a small period that starts after the customer returns the product. It is mainly used for inspecting the returned product for any damages or refurbishing it. Once the maintenance period is over, the rental software automatically adds the product back to the inventory.
  6. Rental Agreement Management: For renting certain products, such as cars and automobiles, rental business owners place certain terms and conditions. A dedicated rental software allows the owner to sanction those conditions with a rental agreement and eSign option.
  7. Rental Add-Ons: These are the complementary products and services that customers often ask from rental business owners. For example, car cover and tire inflators from car rental businesses, ink cartridges and paper from computer rental businesses. Rental add-ons bring a lucrative upselling and cross selling opportunity for rental business owners.
  8. RFQ: Rental orders can also get very complex. For example, a contractor may require several rental heavy equipment along with different accessories and for varying rental durations. To accept all such orders, rental software also have an RFQ feature.
  9. Tiered Pricing: Consumers rent products on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Thus, it is better to target them with tiered daily, weekly or monthly pricing which is possible with a rental software.
  10. Rental Duration Discount: For more traction, some rental business software allow businesses to provide different rental duration discounts. These discounts are available as both flat rate and percentage discounts.
  11. Multilingual and Multi Currency: Tourists and immigrants constitute a large section of customers especially in rental niches like car rental, outdoor gear rental, jet ski rental, etc. Thus, to deliver a superior customer experience to non-native english speakers, your rental platform also requires multilingual and multi-currency support.
  12. Map View Filter: Customers prefer to rent cars and heavy equipment from nearby areas. The same is the case with all products where pick up is more preferred than product delivery. To cater to these requirements, rental software often have a map view search filter.

3. Are Very Costly to Customize

Not only do regular ecommerce software lack essential rental features, but they are also very costly and difficult to customize. For example, you can add numerous third-party integrations, but not all of them will be budget friendly. Additionally, the more integrations you add, the bulkier and more inefficient the rental platform will get. In the end, there will be a decrease in performance, which can be detrimental for your overall rental business. You can take an example of how much customizing ecommerce software can cost you from the following reference.

Cost Estimates for eCommerce Software Customization:

  • United States: $100-$150 per hour
  • Canada: $50-$100 per hour
  • United Kingdom: $50-$100 per hour
  • Australia: $50-$100 per hour
  • Germany: $50-$100 per hour
  • France: $50-$100 per hour
  • India: $25-$75 per hour
  • Philippines: $25-$75 per hour
  • Ukraine: $25-$75 per hour

Summing Up

Due to lack of support for proper rental workflows, features and heavy customization costs, eCommerce software are not reliable to launch an online rental business. In contrast, dedicated rental software seem to be a better option, which are not only cost-effective but also cater to major requirements of online rental businesses. With their help, entrepreneurs can launch a fully functional and powerful online rental business. 

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Why Regular ECommerce Software Are Not Suitable For Online Rental Businesses?