Hot Business Idea: Instead of Just Selling Your Products, Allow Customers to Rent

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

There has been a growing movement towards consumers renting and not buying certain types of merchandise. Renting houses and cars has long been a common occurrence, but new types of products are now making an impact in the rental market.

The success of the online shop, Rent the Runway has encouraged the renting of pricey, trendy clothing that tends to go out of style faster than people can afford. It makes sense that with technology and styles constantly changing, and or limited space to house items, consumers may not want to invest in items that don’t have a long life.

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Wedding, Kids & Tech Items All Have Rental Potential

Men have long rented tuxedos for weddings, so it would only make sense that a bride could rent her wedding dress. For most women, it means getting the couture dress of their dreams, for a fraction of the price (you really do only wear it once).

Think of all the money that goes in purchasing items for a new baby, from a crib to a high chair to a stroller, these are all fairly high ticket items that only have a life span of a few years (depending how many kids you have).

What about the cost of cell phones? How often have you paid $800 for the latest phone only to find out a new version will be out within the year. If the average life span of a cell phone for an early adopter (the person who always has to have the latest and greatest the second it comes out) is only a year, even if you rented your cell phone for $50 a month, you would still be saving money ($600 for a year rental versus an $800 flat fee).

Ideal Rental Products 

  • Apartment furniture
  • Dorm/college furniture
  • Wedding jewelry
  • Wedding dresses
  • Flower girl dresses
  • Prom dresses
  • Kids bikes
  • Baby/kids clothing
  • Baby equipment
  • Boats/snow mobiles / ATVs
  • Lawn tractors/snow blowers
  • Big screen TVs / gaming systems
  • Laptops / tablets
  • Smart phones
  • Trampolines

So think of what you sell and if there is any way it can lend itself to the rental market, providing that it is still profitable for you. It does haven’t to be your main business, but a side aspect to the business for those who want it.

My Quick Tip of the Week: Do you sell products online that are well suited for a couple’s wedding registry? Zola.com is the leading online wedding registry (projecting sales of $40 million for 2015) and they allow couples to add products to their Zola wedding registry from any online site.  So, you can encourage customers to add your products to their Zola wedding registry, simply by using the “Add to Zola” button available at their website.  You can also apply to sell on Zola, just email vendors@zola.com.

GB OliverNeed marketing help with your small business? Get my One-on-One Marketing Consultation. And don’t forget, my Marketing Calendars for February are available for download.

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Author: Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

I'm Gail Oliver, an online small business consultant. Welcome to my blog, chosen one of the Top 10 Small Business Blogs to Follow in 2014 by American Express Open Forum. If you need help with your small business, be sure to see MY SERVICES, above.