As more and more people take to the internet in availing services ranging from finance, banking, e-commerce and the likes, online renting is fast emerging as a commercial enterprise of its own. Businesses and individuals alike can conceptualize the vast potential inherent in the adoption of an online marketplace dedicated solely to the renting of commodities, both small and large.
The fast-growing trend of ‘renting over buying’ is altering the face of rental industry, which is reflected in the fact that more than $1 billion has been invested in online rental startups, within the last 5 years. While Transportation & Fashion are two sectors for which rental websites are particularly popular among investors, rental marketplaces for appliances, equipment, gears, etc. aren’t too far behind.
A recent study in the US found that 77% people prefer renting products over buying, as it is a great way to save money. As a result, in past few years, niche-based online rental marketplaces for vehicles, dresses, home appliances, travel gears, etc., are becoming popular among customers; and giving rise to the peer to peer renting via online mediums. From an investment perspective, renting has always been an asset heavy business which is why traditional rental companies have always invested in a niche that caters to a particular vertical, whether that is electronics, furniture, estate or vehicles. However, the status quo can no longer be maintained due to the clamor of people desiring a trusted marketplace akin to a ‘rent-all’ platform. In terms of convenience and ease, this would alleviate the burden most commonly faced by people.
Imagine being able to rent vehicles, cameras, gadgets, home appliances, etc., all at the drop of a hat, or the push of a button. Also conceivable is a personal rental wish list wherein anybody could advertise a required commodity that is not currently available on the listings, but could be matched subject to the unlisted inventory of other users.
The key to success for new businesses in this sector is to understand what customers look for when they rent things online, which are:
· Personalized offers
· Product quality
· Trustworthiness of the website
While addressing the numerous benefits, it is pertinent to also address pitfalls, primarily in the form of earning the trust of product owners and renters, which is the biggest challenge that comes along with renting products. Potential customers scouring a website looking to rent are concerned chiefly with quality and whether or not they will receive aforementioned product in good condition. Thus, for any rental marketplace, ensuring the quality of rented items is the foremost challenge. Apart from that, there are many other things that can go wrong while running a rental business. Products can get damaged in the transit, need of expensive shipping while transporting large and heavy products, the kind of cleaning or processing a product would require after it is returned by the renter, and so on. Website owners need to understand the potential difficulties that can arise during the entire process.