October 28, 2020 Last updated October 28th, 2020 1,553 Reads share

5 Businesses That Made It Big in the eCommerce Rental Industry

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The eCommerce rental industry is expanding at a rapid rate and diffusing into various business domains. A notable reason behind its success is the undergoing transition in consumer trends and minimalist lifestyle of the modern generations. Millennials and Gen Z are willing to rent both used and unused products if they come at a reasonable price and are easily accessible. To meet these demands and start an eCommerce rental store, the main preliminary requisites are a working business model and persisting availability of bankable rental products.

Fulfilling these requirements, several businesses took the bold decision to launch their eCommerce marketplaces and made the online rental business appealing to other entrepreneurs.

A few examples of such marketplaces are:

GearFlow (Heavy Equipment Industry)

GearFlow is a multi-vendor rental platform that came into existence in 2018. Soon after its launch, it was able to raise a seed funding of $1.1 million and establish its name in the equipment rental market.

By providing free listing spaces, Gearflow attracts dealers and merchants to its website and uses a B2C equipment rental business model to conduct operations. It also handpicks only the top suppliers for trust-building.

Today, along with renting services, GearFlow also provides free consultation to rentees and partners, with shipping services to deliver heavy orders when needed. According to news sources, it was able to attract 90 independent and national equipment rental suppliers within a year of activity.

Turo (Carsharing)

Turo made it big in the rental eCommerce by enabling locals to lend their cars effortlessly. It was established in the year 2010 with the name RelayRides but considered rebranding it in 2015.

To attract consumers, Turo provides car owners with $750,000 insurance on theft and damages and roadside assistance for renters. Operating in over 5000 cities in the US, UK and Canada, Turo follows a simple peer-to-peer business model with which it has raised more than $500 million of funding in its journey.

In 2019, IAC, an American holding company, valued Turo at $1 billion while investing $250 million in it. According to Crunchbase, there are 14 million users registered on its website, along with 450,000 vehicles in 2020.

GymLend (Fitness Industry) 

GymLend is a company that evaluated and capitalized on the rental business opportunity that arrived in the aftermath of the COVID19 lockdown in Australia. It is a peer-to-peer marketplace started by two Sydney-siders that allows locals to rent workout equipment both from listed gyms and existing equipment owners.

Due to its impressive business model that includes lucrative terms and flexible delivery options for both owners and rentees, GymLend gained quick popularity amongst its users. As the gyms were shut nationwide, people could bring equipment to their homes at a small price without the need of buying.

According to resources, GymLend had 660 listings within the first month of its launch, which was a great response according to its owner Jordan Smith.

Cort (Furniture Rental)

Cort is a rental furniture company whose roots date back to 1972. Cort started an eCommerce store and was able to generate enough revenue with its rental model to own showrooms throughout the US.

The company also expanded its business in three countries and formed partnerships with businesses in over 80 nations. In 2010, Cort acquired its competitor Lounge22 and became the most dominant player in the American furniture rental industry.

Currently, it provides rental furniture to both homes and office spaces with the B2B market comprising 80% of its total market share. In 2020, it’s estimated revenue is $512 million.

Rent the Runway (Fashion Rental)

Two section mates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss of Harvard Business School had the idea of launching a fashion rental store in 2004, which gained shape with Rent The Runway in 2008.

After receiving $126 million in venture capital, the two entrepreneurs started their eCommerce store and followed a simple B2C business model to provide women with formal, casual, and luxury fashion apparel on rent.

The services of Rent The Runway are further divided into monthly subscription plans. Hyman and Fleiss made the concept of fashion rental so popular that their business grew to $600 million in 2018. The TIME magazine also honored the company’s CEO, Jennifer Hyman, as one of 100 Most Influential People of 2019.

Closing Thoughts 

The aforementioned companies executed the rental eCommerce business idea to its full potential and overcame the industry-specific adversities with preliminary research, advance planning and effective marketing. As the online rental industry is still lingering in its initial stage, its scope remains relatively unexplored, paving the way for many more entrepreneurs to step in.

If you are searching for a readymade solution to launch your online rental store, check out Yo!Rent, a fully customizable white-labelled solution that you can rebrand to establish your business.

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Saurabh Thakur

Saurabh Thakur

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