What’s it like to sit on the sidelines and watch a building burn to ashes? Equipment rental companies probably know. While world economies fluctuate and new reforms crush various industries, the equipment rental industry continues to enjoy steady growth.
So what does 2019 have in store for rental business owners? Rental revenue is expected to grow by 5.5% this year after which it may experience a minor fall. That makes 2019 a great year to make the most of the increase in rental engagement patterns.
But while growth is steady, consumer preferences are constantly changing. With that in mind, rental industry trends change. Companies need to be on the lookout for new opportunities and threats this year so they can increase profitability, work on their vulnerabilities, and revamp their management strategies.
Here are the rental industry trends that you need to know about:
1. Better integration with technology will enhance user experience
Webstores aren’t new. Let’s face it; nobody wants to drive to a store, deal with pushy sales staff, and stand in long queues.
You absolutely need to feature one for your business. A webstore and an online presence are both very, very important. Customers expect businesses to offer online rentals and most will look you up online to form an opinion about you. This is why all key players in the rental business have a webstore and social media profiles now.
For 2019, you need to go an extra mile. The way consumers wish to interact with technology is changing so they expect more now. So why not feature a list of payment options so people can pay according to their own convenience? Some companies even offer rental agreements that can be read and signed online. There’s a lot of things that you can do.
Pictures don’t do justice to items. With Augmented Reality (AR), customers can envision an item in the setting that they are currently in and never have to visit the store. Integration with AR could be the next big thing this year. Furniture rentals can show customers how a sofa set will look in their own lounge. The possibilities are endless.
2. Efficiency will be valued over expansion
Premature growth can signal trouble for companies and even force them to close down their shops. When a business starts to do well, executives think it’s time, they had their moment, and announces to the staff, “Let’s expand!”.
But while the thought of new locations is exciting and helps stimulate the workforce to work harder, expanding at the wrong time can be destructive for a rental company, especially when the competition is so cut-throat. This is why companies should prioritize efficiency over expansion. And there’s plenty that you can do in this regard.
Think of ways to free up time for employees so they can better focus on important tasks. For starters, improve the way they communicate. Reading and answering emails is the most time-consuming activity at the office other than role-specific tasks so move to a networking application to speed up communication.
In addition to this, consider automating work tasks to save valuable time. A rental management software could come in handy here. Take the team out for lunch once a month since appreciation motivates people to perform their duties more diligently.
2019 is the year for companies to fortify their foundations and grow sustainably. Don’t run after more locations. If you prioritize optimizing your company’s efficiency, its expansion will soon follow.
3. Your competition will continue to creep up
The rental industry was a witness to competition surge last year. 2019 will see a wide variety of rental companies utilizing local opportunities and new technologies. Competition has a synergistic impact as it helps motivate the equipment rental industry to become better and move forward.
Rental companies are competing with each other to offer better value to their consumers. To make this feat possible, they regularly make use of new technologies like telematics and the internet of things (IoT).
These rental industry trends will mean that companies can no longer stick to tried and tested strategies. Always continue to innovate and engage with your market. It’s important to remind your target demographic that you are the best choice for them and maintain the mental space that your brand occupies in their minds. For that, you will have to reconsider your marketing efforts.
4. There will be a change in staff responsibilities
IoT, SaaS and mobile apps will enhance the way you manage your equipment rental inventory. With certain tasks being automated, employees can take on other responsibilities.
Automation leads to fewer picking errors. This, coupled with intelligent webstores, would mean that there will be fewer customer queries to deal with. Customers won’t have to contact customer support for wrong deliveries. They will also find it easier to view and order their choice of rentals with comprehensive descriptions. All this will boil down to a lesser burden on customer support.
With many companies incorporating rental software in their functions, employees will no longer have to spend time looking for rentals or worrying about returns. This will free up more time so they can work on strategic tasks and contribute to the company’s growth.
Equipment rental companies will have to prepare for this change of role-specific tasks in 2019. They should offer new training programs to prepare their staff for strategic roles and help them expand their skillset.
Use these rental industry trends for steady innovation in 2019
No surprise here. As the rental industry evolves, the only way to keep up is with constant innovation. With a growth rate of 5.5% this year, it would be crazy not to make the most of the opportunities coming your way.
Experiment. Try out different strategies and don’t be afraid to change them if they aren’t working out. In conclusion, watch out for any new rental industry trends that will appear this year!
We are an online rental software, designed to offer companies seamless rental management with a host of other features like asset tracking, maintenance management, a webstore, and much more. Try us out today!