Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

The Digital Reality: Four Essentials a Website Has to Have

Social distancing, stay at home orders, job insecurities and fear have had an enormous impact on businesses across the country. Navigation of the new rent-to-own landscape requires new ways to connect and engage with customers, and a website is key to making that connection. More than ever, having a functioning updated website and increased online communication can lead to success. 

Many websites are not quite there yet.

Once a customer finds a business online, the website must provide vital content and features that will support and encourage them to rent with confidence. These four website essentials will power businesses through the pandemic and beyond.

Show Your Products 

People are no longer window shopping in person. Even with some restrictions loosened, many customers may not feel comfortable casually browsing in-stores. Think of the customer’s experience if products are not shown online. Imagine going to a showroom and it was empty. Would you stay to look around? No. At a minimum, essential products need to be seen, but ideally, every product available for rent is highlighted. 

Include The Price 

If prices are not presented with products online, customers will assume they are more expensive or include hidden conditions. Would you purchase from a store that did not show prices on anything? Would you stay and ask the cost for each item? Chances are you would leave and go somewhere more straightforward and upfront with providing product information. Prospective online customers will do the same.  

Highlight What Is In-Stock 

With fewer customers window shopping, there is an increased demand for products that can be received immediately. Whether they need an appliance to replace a broken one or require electronics to continue to work in a new environment, duress purchases have increased online across the country. If the item is in stock and can be delivered quickly, this business is much more likely to win the rental over its competitors. Having items available for quick distribution is a huge asset. Mark these items on the website and promote them. 

Make Communication a Breeze 

In a store, it is easy to know if a customer needs assistance or has questions on a product if they ask, “Excuse me, can you help me?”. That same ease should be replicated in the online experience. Chat plugins like Zen Desk, Syncro, Live Chat and Podium are simple to install without major changes to a website and offer a direct way to communicate with customers while they are browsing online. Many offer free trials, like Podium who currently offers Podium Starter, a free introductory version. It includes easy to use texting abilities that keep you in contact with customers even after they leave the website. In addition to instant chat abilities, it is vital that a phone number, email and contact forms, are all up to date and answered immediately.

More than 88% of customers research a company or product online before making a purchase. For many of those customers, a website is their first introduction to your business. It takes less than half a second for an online customer to form an opinion about a business and to decide whether to stay or bounce. Today’s customer expects the same experience online that they would get physically going into a store 24-7-365. 

Get your website ready for modern business success. 

Lauren Talicska is the guest writer of this article. She is the Owner and President of LT Marketing, LLC, based in the Columbus, Ohio, metropolitan area. Talicska has been involved in RTO marketing since 2008, providing lead generation and management, website solutions and comprehensive print and digital marketing plans tailored for RTO businesses.

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