America is ready – REALLY ready – for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year [even if that’s not an awfully high bar in 2020]. Around the country, folks put up their holiday lights in November and seem to be following a go-big-or-go-home holiday inflatables mandate. Pandemic Fatigue has everyone yearning for cocoa bombs, celebrations, and whatever modicum of bell-jingling normalcy they can latch onto.
Which is why many rent-to-own companies are opting to offer holiday promotions – both despite the COVID-19 crisis and because of it. From direct-mail specials to coronavirus-safe events, APRO members are hosting promotions to create some holiday happiness while drumming up a little business.
Company: Appliance & Furniture RentAll
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Promotion: Christmas cards to all current and past customers, including a $100 gift card to be used toward rent.
“We send out this promotion every December,” says President Marty Auble. “It’s always well-received and has great redemption rates – and it looks like this year is no different.”
Company: Buddy Mac Holdings LLC, dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings
Location: Desoto, Texas
Promotion: Annual Holiday Express event, hosted responsibly to prevent large groups, promote social distancing, and give customers more ways to interact, communicate, and buy.
“Our customers desperately want some normalcy, and they definitely wanted this event,” says Vice President of Operations Chip Guy. “Our general managers let us know folks were inquiring about whether it was going to happen again this year, and while we had already decided internally to do it, that helped reinforce that it was the right thing to do.”
Company: Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc., dba American Rental
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Promotions: 1) December sales flyer offering 11% discount on furniture, appliances, electronics, and mattresses, as well as a 43”/55” TV combo; and 2) Christmas card offering no payments until January 2, 2021.
“We use these two promotional vehicles every year,” says Marketing Director Amy Swain. “The offers vary from year to year, but our customers have come to count on our holiday specials, and we definitely weren’t going to let them down this year!”
Company: Impact RTO Holdings, dba Rent-A-Center
Location: Tampa, Florida
Promotions: 1) Extended Black Friday pricing through the holiday season; and 2) deep discounts on older and/or idle inventory.
“We stuck with tradition this year. We always offer great deals in November and December, and our customers expect it. Our coworkers also expect it, and fight hard to win internal company prizes,” says Vice President of Operations Paul Metivier. “We love to compete. Most of this year we were thrifty with advertising spend. Honestly, we didn’t really need it. The pandemic brought plenty of demand for our products, and the biggest challenge was restocking. As we’ve learned to adapt to the pandemic, we decided to take a more normalized approach in November and December. Of course, we’ve made big adjustments. Instead of big parties and gatherings, we promoted the offers over a longer period of time in lieu of crowded events. As strange as this year has been, sometimes it’s just nice to turn off the TV, cut the noise out, and just work hard. For us, while the months of November and December are a lot of hustle, it’s also very therapeutic.”
Company: National TV Sales & Rental
Location: Lebanon, Missouri
Promotion: 100,000 postcards promoting a Holly Jolly Giveaway, a new promotion and National’s largest to date. Customers must bring their postcard into the store and have it scanned for the chance to win prizes – including a $25K grand prize, three $2,500 cash prizes, six 55” smart TV prizes, and 40 smart tablet prizes.
“Nothing has been the same this year, so why not try something different?” says Marketing Manager Terry Beauchamp. “We wanted to focus on customer interaction because it’s such an important part of what we do. This promotion brings folks into our stores in a safe way, so we can wish them ‘Merry Christmas’ in person and they can maybe win some goods!”
Company: Showplace, Inc.
Location: Marion, Ohio
Promotions: 1) 35,000 Christmas cards including a $50 gift card to use in-store; and 2) annual Santa Sunday event made coronavirus-safe, a one-day sale with special pricing and giveaways for families.
“Historically, these holiday promotions have worked extremely well for us,” says Marketing Manager Toby Hord. “But just as importantly – especially this year – they help us stay connected with our customers and our community.”
Company: SKC Enterprises Inc., dba Rent One
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Promotions: 1) Best-Dressed Holiday – Griswold-style store displays spotlighting products as gift ideas; and 2) double-matching employee donations to Feeding America.
“We call these power displays,” says Owner Larry Carrico. “Especially dealing with the pandemic this year, these over-the-top Christmas displays offer an opportunity for our coworkers to rally for a fun cause. Many of our coworkers also give to Feeding America food banks, which we as a company double-match.”