The pandemic has impacted every industry differently and while most are facing tough challenges, others, such as office furniture rental businesses, are seeing an uptick in business.
There is a simple reason for the sudden increase in demand for office furniture. Now that people are spending more time at home and in a lot of cases, setting up their home offices, they require furniture pieces that can help make the workspace more comfortable.
In recent months, several rental companies have reported a substantial increase in their office furniture related orders. A Los Angeles based office furniture rental company boasts of a staggering 300% increase in their home office orders from mid-March to mid-May. Another NYC based company has seen the rentals of their office furniture items go up a whopping 400% year-over-year since March.
Since the work-from-home situation is perceived to be temporary, a lot of people may not be willing to buy office furniture that will just sit in storage later. This is why people are now opting to rent instead, leading to the increased demand in office furniture rental. Especially in the pandemic hit economy, more people are realizing that it makes more financial sense to rent instead of buying. If you run a furniture rental store, this rise in demand is exactly what you need to keep your business afloat during COVID-19.
To tap into this demand, you need to move towards online selling. This not only makes it easier for your customers to browse through items and place orders, but it is also safer as it limits unnecessary contact. Let’s take a look at all the factors you need to consider when shifting your business online and how the right office furniture rental software can help.
1. Set up an online rental store
As social distancing protocols are still in place, people avoid unnecessary physical contact which includes going to a store to place an order. Instead, people are shopping online from the safety of their homes. This includes everything from grocery shopping to even renting furniture. So if you do not have an online store for your office furniture rentals, you’re missing out on significant market demand.
This is where rental software comes in. If you choose the appropriate software that aligns with your business needs, you won’t have to design and launch a webstore on your own. Instead, the software will help you set up a webstore for your rentals. This makes things much easier for you because you can store all your rental information on the software and it will automatically be updated on the webstore as well since the two are connected at the backend.
You can even customize your webstore and control what your customers can view on it. Customers can easily browse through your catalog, reserve an item for the future or simply add it to cart and rent it out then and there. To limit exposure even further, you can give customers the option to pay via credit card instead of dealing with cash.
2. Update pickup and delivery protocols
Now that the customer can place an order for their office furniture rental online, the next step is to deliver the item. You can either provide delivery services or the customer can choose to pick the item up themselves from your store, such as a curbside pickup. Providing the option of curbside pickup reduces the risk of contracting the virus. While there is still a slight chance of virus transfer from a package, it is still significantly less than interacting with people.
It’s important to also update the pickup and delivery protocols on your website so customers are aware of the steps you’re taking to ensure their safety. Mention how all employees wear face masks during deliveries and customers can opt for contactless delivery as well. For curbside pickups, all items can be wiped with an all-purpose cleaning solution and a disinfecting cleaner.
To ensure that there is no overcrowding outside your store you can utilize the furniture rental software to set up pickup time slots as well. These slots allow customers to choose the suitable pickup time while they are finalizing the order on your webstore. Only a certain amount of people can pick items up during that slot, and once the slot is full, it automatically becomes unavailable on the webstore.
3. Collect e-signatures and send online invoices
No office furniture rental companies can finalize an order without the customer’s signature on the rental agreement. However, paper is just another possible medium for the transmission of the disease. Therefore, for the safety of everyone involved, it makes sense to shift towards e-signatures and online invoices.
You can find tools available online that help you collect e-signatures, but it is easier to have everything consolidated onto a single platform. That is why you should opt for furniture rental software during these times because it easily lets you collect signatures and even store them on the database if needed.
Similarly, you can customize invoices, create templates that suit your needs, automate invoicing, and send the final invoice out to the customer via email. This completely eliminates the need for paper and further exposure in every way.
Are you ready to take your office furniture rental business online?
Moving your business online is a great way to keep it afloat during the current circumstances. Not only will you benefit from the untapped online market but you will also play your part in limiting exposure as a responsible citizen.
Don’t stock office furniture but still want to benefit from the increased demand? Right now is the perfect opportunity for you to stir up your product mix and introduce office furniture. If the experiment is profitable, you can even reposition your brand to permanently rent out office furniture as well.
With more stock and orders coming in, keep in mind that manually keeping track of all your rental inventory can get very cumbersome. Incorporate the right furniture rental software and make the change from offline to online. The shift will benefit you in myriad of ways, helping you save money in the long run, improve efficiency, and increase revenue.
EZRentOut, a cloud-based furniture rental software, can help. EZRentOut offers companies in numerous industries seamless rental management along with a host of other features. These include asset tracking, maintenance management, a customized webstore, and much more. Try us out today!