22 February 2017

Equipment rental trend: Expand online presence

The industrial revolution 4.0 is shifting the balance from in-store to online selling for both retail and commercial businesses. There are several strong reasons why you should be tailoring the online model to work for your business. Especially if you’re focused on equipment-driven rental and services. Along with increasing rental revenues, you can expand customer reach. You can uncover new opportunities. Furthermore, it also fits organically into the digital Marketplace. Which is becoming the first and only shopping place for millions of consumers and businesses.

The shift to online is already well-established for car rental companies. A prime example is one of our customers Europcar. Which uses a global cloud platform and localized web pages for car rental transactions. All data is exchanged with the company’s back-end ERP system. In other online models, rental car companies exchange online presence via interfaces with third parties. For example, travel and lodging websites. As companies get bolder, we’re seeing diverse businesses utilize online platforms. For example simple web shops. As a result, customers can place rental orders for equipment, tools, parts, vehicles, and services.

Top equipment-driven rental trend

Essential to online rental success

Your web presence has to be simple and easy to understand and use. At the same time, it needs to provide real-time information for pricing, availability, contract or order requirements, and the like. Your site should also include multiple payment methods and accessibility via mobile apps. In addition, customers should be able to manage their rental transactions. But also their communications, invoicing, and updates via browser or mobile device. Apart from pickup, delivery, actual maintenance or drop-off. There should be minimal to no need for manual process or human interaction. Even customer service can be managed through online chat, email, or FAQ.

Innovation and intergration

Consequently, you will need a sturdy IT platform and equipment rental software that can accommodate online presence. The easier the online experience, the more complex things are “under the hood.” Financials, customer records, scheduling, transport, contracts and service. They all need to emerge as an effortless part of the experience. Thanks to innovation and integration, that’s possible. Mobile platforms can connect with all aspects of ERP and equipment rental management. If you find the right solutions. And if you’re willing to make a moderate investment, the benefits can be significant:

  • You’ll attract customers from the start. By treating equipment rental as an online commodity. Much like retail, you’re moving into the mindset of today’s customer. They want the speed and ease that comes with an online, mobile shopping experience.
  • Working with mobile and cloud-based platforms gives you the ability to manage business remotely on the back end. Just like your customers, you can handle rentals end-to-end from any location, using any device.
  • The online market is huge. Equipment rental can tap into this for both growing customer base and increasing exposure. The sky’s pretty much the limit for expanding your reach. In particular, if you combine your own web presence with third-party website collaborations.
  • Leveraging analytics for online customer trends lets you target new demographics, audiences, and territories. Marketing and simply getting your name out can have all the precision of expensive strategic campaigns. Furthermore it wil be at a fraction of the cost.

Online shopping is one of the heartbeats for the Industrial Revolution 4.0. There’s no reason why you can’t look at equipment rental as a selling commodity. And put out your shopping basket.

Michiel Toppers
Michiel Toppers,
Michiel Toppers,
Senior Director of Product Management

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