Should I use a normal webshop to set up my rental business? And if yes, which one is best for me? That question we get asked a lot. And YES - to build a scalable rental business, a CMS is inevitable. Read more about why you should use a Content Management System (CMS) and which one might be the best for your rental business.
Content management systems + rentals = ⚡️
Content Management Systems (CMS) are a foundational building block when it comes to an online business. They are really good at selling products and managing content.
However, every order entry is made for one-time purchases. That means, if products come back like in a rental business, these content management systems can get overwhelmed easily. The reason is that traditional CMS simply are not made for recurring business models.
While product tracking on a unique ID basis is nearly impossible, recurring payments only work with plug-ins, and credit checks are not supported natively, which opens risks for fraud.
Why should you still use a CMS?
Especially if they are not made for product rental businesses? Because CMS’s are made to curate products: something you also need for in a rental business. They also help you provide a great online customer experience, which in general contributes to a successful rental journey. In the end, rentals should be just as easy as traditional online sales - from a customer journey, as that is what the end consumer has learned over the past 20 years of e-commerce.
Rentals should be just as easy as traditional online sales - with a customer journey, that is just like what the end consumer has learned over the past 20 years of e-commerce.
Being the data storage place for your rental business, a CMS is extremely valuable. You can store customer data, product data, sales data in one single system. Most CMS’s also have lots of integrations to use that facilitate your life, like e-mail automation and native WMS or ERP integrations, which provides a solid base for scaling your rental business. If enriched with additional data for your circular rental model and connected with the right tools it may even become the holy grail.
But which CMS works the best for my rental business?
That question we get asked a lot. And there are multiple facets to the answer. That is why we created a simple pro- & contra list. The key aspect of this pro- & contra list is based on your expectation of the CMS how you want to customize the webshop and scale effectively. The pricing of different CMS solutions dependents fully on hosting. Therefore, it is important to check the options upfront.
- Pro: Includes hosting, great visual theme editor, a wide variety of third-party options
- Contra: Limited options to individualize the platform with custom code, transaction platform fees
- Highlight: great for a quick launch
- Pro: large user community, open-source (a lot of flexibility and freedom), available extensions are quite reasonably priced
- Contra: customizing a design requires coding knowledge, not all ERP systems can directly connect with WooCommerce
- Highlight: great add-on for existing WordPress websites
- Pro: Shopware is climbing fast among the most used CMS systems, open-source, scalable for a large number of products
- Contra: Shopware 6 still has some bugs, hosting transaction platform fees
- Highlight: open-source and gaining a lot of traction
- Pro: large user community, open-source (a lot of flexibility and freedom), large developer network, and available extensions
- Contra: not including hosting, the CMS backend is less intuitive
- Highlight: open-source and trusted by many multinationals
Now, there are different use cases. This is our opinion:
If your intention is running smoke-tests, we recommend using Shopify, as its visual builder makes this fairly convenient. Although Shopify offers a great platform to get started on, you will run into limitations as soon as you want to customize it to your needs and business requirements.
Shopware or Magento on the other side take more customization efforts in the set-up process but prove themselves as super scalable with loads of customization opportunities.
Another very popular option is WooCommerce, which is a great add-on if you want to add an E-commerce function to an existing WordPress website.
All in all, you’ll need a modern CMS as the basis for your rental business not only to store valuable customer data but also to integrate with many other tools like Mailing Automation, WMS, or ERP systems that make your life easier. The final decision, however, is yours, which is why we hope that this article could provide a small guiding light.
If you want to dive deeper into the topic of what CMS works best for you, feel free to contact us.