If you own a rental business, you were hopefully able to weather the ups and downs of the pandemic. In reality, many businesses that specialize in rental products did quite well during these last two years, when people were looking for projects to do and hobbies to enjoy.

For example, businesses that rent musical instruments saw a huge rise in business as individuals began to look for something new to fill their time when going out with friends was not an option. Companies that rented tools for home improvement projects did quite well also, as homeowners took advantage of their free time to do a little work around the house.

It’s likely, however, that the rental businesses that did the best during these last two years were the ones that had high-quality websites that were easy to navigate and provided a simple way to get their customers the products they wanted or needed. Furthermore, those who used eCommerce solutions like Shopify and Woo Commerce had another leg up on the competition because of ease of use.

With the right eCommerce platform, you can create rental products, manage your rental orders, and view your rental inventory, all with just a few clicks. Simply by using your admin dashboard on a platform like Woo Commerce, you can perform any variety of tasks from seeing what’s left in inventory to filtering products or orders by rentals.

And your customer will find navigating easy as well. For example, eCommerce platforms will provide them with an availability checker as well as the ability to select rental dates from a date range picker on the product page. Furthermore, rental information – like dates – will follow them through their entire journey, from selecting the product to checking out, so it makes it difficult to make a mistake and easy to choose the product they want when they want it.

So…what should a rental store have?

But let’s first consider all the things that a good online rental store will let you – the owner – and the customer do.

  • Pick a date/dates for renting the product – Customers need to be able to set a date or date range that meets their needs.
  • Ask more information about the product – Sometimes, the information a customer needs can’t be located on the website. So you’ll need a platform that can implement easy customer support contact methods for the client.
  • Request a quote for customized pricing – Some rental companies will need to supply custom quotes, especially with high-priced items or when item bundling is involved.
  • Generate invoices – You’ll want a free invoice generator that can save countless hours spent on billing and collecting money.
  • Customize shipping rates – Built-in shipping options aren’t always the only thing you’ll need for your rental business. You might need an app that offers very specific shipping options based on size, weight, etc.

eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Woo Commerce can pair with apps to:

  • Set up products either as rental only or as rental OR purchase
  • Set up a rental calendar that allows the business owner to view all past, current, and future rentals booked
  • Allow you to view all rental inventory including stock totals and stock in and out with search, sorting, print, and export
  • Offer admin dashboard filters that can let you do things like organize products and orders by rentals
  • Offer mobile- or tablet-friendly rental forms and other features
  • Help you add rentals to your store in minutes
  • Make checking out a seamless process that isn’t frustrating for the customer or you

With apps like BookThatApp or Rentals and Reservations, which are Shopify compatible, you’ll find these features:

  • Price modification according to the rental period duration
  • Blocking out reserved dates automatically.
  • Customization of label texts without coding
  • Rental agreements for customers
  • Deposit charging for the protection of rental assets
  • Multiple language support
  • Choosing the minimum reservation duration

There are plenty of ways to design the website for your rental business so that your customers’ experience is the best it can be. At Watershed9, we’ve got tons of experience using Shopify and Woo Commerce and are familiar with the ways to structure your site so that your business prospers and your customers enjoy a seamless experience. For more information on improving your rental business website, talk to us at 604-337-1449.