Inventory is one of the most crucial elements of a rental business and very susceptible to human error. Even minor mistakes or miscalculations in inventory can surge order processing costs, decrease order fulfillment rate, and leave a big impact on your business.
The most obvious solution to this is automation. As per statistics, 24% of SMBs still use traditional pen and paper for inventory management, which is highly inefficient. And being unaware of the benefits of an updated inventory, 7% SMBs don’t even track inventory at all.
Using a proper inventory management system can help businesses streamline their inventory management processes. In the rental industry, Yo!Rent is a very efficient online rental software with a fully-integrated inventory management system.
In this article, we will take a look at how Yo!Rent helps in effective inventory management, but before that let’s also go through why proper inventory management is imperative for rental businesses in the first place.
While there are many benefits of tracking and maintaining your inventory in real-time or on scheduled basis, we have mentioned the most important ones for rental businesses below:
As rental businesses mostly depend on the sharing economy where the reuse of products is encouraged and the same equipment is lended again and again, overstocking of inventory can curb a major portion from a company’s investment funds. With appropriate inventory management, you can ensure that new inventory items rightly match the business demand and overstocking is prevented.
Rental businesses have to manage a lot of dates including start date and product return date. If a product is not returned on a timely basis then the business has to face overbookings, where the business owner is left with no inventory to fulfill pending or upcoming orders. This is followed by low order fulfillment rates but can be prevented by syncing inventory with return dates and taking necessary measures against late returns.
Along with rental products, rental businesses also provide complimentary add-ons. These can be both services or products. While cash flow problems in services are very rare, rental businesses can face them if they invest their money in add-on products that don’t sell. With accurate inventory, business owners can figure out the add-ons that customers really require and shelf the correct add-ons.
Adequate inventory management enhances the overall customer experience in many ways. It improves the order fulfillment rate, increases product availability, ensures supply of rental add-ons and even helps the business meet customer demand. Along with these, huge savings on restocking and low inventory management costs are an additional benefit.
Nearly all marketplace software come with inventory management features. However, being especially developed to cater rental business requirements and deal with day-to-day use cases, Yo!Rent takes inventory management for rental businesses to the next level. Apart from all basic features such as adding and removing detailed listings, enabling/disabling products, real-time inventory tracking, category management and brand management, Yo!Rent also comes with various advanced inventory management features that we have mentioned below.
Rental inventory receives expected wear and tear in every rental period. It can also be repaired in many cases but almost all rental products will reach their limit and be in a condition where they can no longer be lended. For this reason, Yo!Rent supports selling functionality that rental businesses can use for stock clearance or even accommodate both rental and sales business models.
Consumer demand is dynamic and varies from product to product. A product with high demand will require to be restocked sooner than a product with low demand, and subsequently will also need early low stock alerts. In Yo!Rent, you can do this by creating stock level alerts for different quantities at a product level.
Certain operations, such as warehouse innovation, logistics, or offline renting affect the rental business’ capacity to accept online orders. For such instances, business owners can not only manually add and remove products from the inventory on Yo!Rent but also specify custom product unavailability dates and quantity of products unavailable. Once set, those dates will be marked as unavailable on the booking calendar.
For various online businesses, the cash on delivery (COD) model automates payments to shipping partners. However, for equipment rental niches, COD risks delivery refusals, payment delays, and low reimbursement rate for damaged inventory. Yo!Rent provides the option to enable/disable COD based on inventory type, business model (sales or rental, single vendor or multi-vendor) and rental niche so that rental businesses can stay flexible and benefit the most from COD as required.
As stated in the benefits section above, timely returns are crucial in a rental business model and assist in maintaining the order fulfillment rate. Yo!Rent not only shows return overdue products but also has the provision to define and deduct late return charges from the customer’s rental security to promote timely returns.
Late cancellations result in the wastage of inventory and order processing costs. Even the order fulfillment rate also suffers as the products under processing cannot be assigned to another customer and are already deducted from the inventory. When large orders get canceled unexpectedly or there are cases of frequent cancellations, then rental businesses have to face significant losses. To prevent this, Yo!Rent allows business owners to define and levy varying late cancellation charges.
Returned inventory cannot be lent to the next customer immediately after its return. In majority rental business models, it requires a thorough inspection and based on that, some maintenance. Thus, until the returned product is prepared and ready to be lent again, it cannot be added back to the inventory. Yo!Rent comes with a maintenance buffer period to help rental businesses deal with this challenge. On a product level, business owners can define rental periods and use them for product inspection and maintenance. After the completion of the buffer period, Yo!Rent will automatically add the product back to inventory.
Rental inventory is inclusive of both rental items and rental add-ons. In Yo!Rent, business owners can list and manage rental add-ons and link them to any product in the inventory. They can also set the selling price, select tax category and manage add-on refunds in case of order cancellation.
Apart from rental add-ons, Yo!Rent also allows the business owner to link different inventory items for combo selling. The selected two items can be priced lower than what they would have cost when purchased separately. This assists the business in reducing Cost per Lead (CPL) and keeps the inventory moving.
Business owners can mark featured products on Yo!Rent to drive ROI from poor performing products in the inventory. This way, they can highlight the product on their online store and increase demand for the products they want to be rented out more. For example, a new SKU or ideal sitting equipment.
Renting out related products simultaneously ensures maximum inventory utilization while increasing profits for the rental business. In Yo!Rent, business owners can manually add multiple related products to each and every listing for better returns and optimal inventory utilization.
The competition in the equipment rental industry is high where price quotes also fluctuate easily. To keep up with the competition, Yo!Rent allows businesses to define fixed or percentage bulk volume discounts. This simplifies negotiations and attracts big ticket clients such as general contractors, mining companies and engineering firms.
Doing inventory analysis is helpful for all rental businesses in the long run. Along with forecasting demand, it assists in figuring out the total inventory costs and estimating profit on each and every product. In Yo!Rent, you can also specify stock quantity for sales and rental operations, check individual product performance report, most refunded products report and most wishlisted products report. Furthermore, you can also filter all these reports for any particular month, year, week or specific duration.
In a business landscape where American retailers are already carrying approximately $1.43 in inventory for each dollar of sales, stringent inventory management is immediately required. For rental businesses, Yo!Rent is an ideal rental software that can help them manage multiple operations including inventory, marketing, portal management, rental process management and end-to-end administration. Interested entrepreneurs can browse Yo!Rent’s instant explorable demos now with prefilled credentials, no personal information required.