The APRO Code of Ethics was created alongside the association in 1980, written by the first APRO members to establish a set of guidelines consistent with what they felt should be ingrained in the industry’s values, priorities, and ethical standards.
Today, this 14-point Code of Ethics endures as the defining guidance that APRO members agree upon in order to maintain a healthy business environment for the rent-to-own industry. As our Code of Ethics continues to be not just relevant but essential to our association and our membership four decades later, we offer this series of newsletter articles to recap and reconfirm each of these ethical standards with you.
Members shall provide and maintain a clean and orderly place of business that is inviting to their customers.
The seventh article of the APRO Code of Ethics highlights the importance of keeping an appealing, neat, and well-maintained rent-to-own store.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression – this maxim is as true for a brick-and-mortar RTO stores as it is for individual people. “Curb appeal,” both inside and out, is essential – no one wants to go into a store with a poorly maintained exterior, and no one wants to shop inside a store with a dusty or disorganized interior.
Studies have shown that most consumers consider a store’s outside appearance important when choosing a spot to shop, and that they would be willing to try a new store when the exterior is attractive, clean, and polished. Parking lot issues, broken signage, poor lighting, or ho-hum displays can cause customers to abandon a store without even opening up the front door.
Likewise, consumers are psychologically more likely to “buy” when a store atmosphere reflects the excitement and “newness” of their potential purchase. Most customers who leave a store without “buying” attribute their decision to the store’s poor physical appearance or messiness. Even a sloppily maintained bathroom can ruin a consumer’s shopping experience.
While many have predicted looming doom for brick-and-mortar stores due to virtual shopping, the rent-to-own industry must lean into the in-person experience to continue forging strong customer relationships. Rental dealers must remember not only that first impressions have a significant impact on the bottom line, but also that creating an environment that invites shoppers to relax, browse, and connect reflects well upon the business and the RTO industry as a whole.