How To Start An Online Dress Rental Business – Understanding The Business Model And Website Features

How To Start An Online Dress Rental Business – Understanding The Business Model And Website Features

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Web-based dress rental platforms like Rent the Runway, Bag Borrow or Steal, Le Tote, etc. let the style-conscious people rent designer dresses, clothes for special occasions and accessories and have become the topic of discussion in the fashion industry.

The idea of renting out dresses may seem odd at first, but the success of all the aforementioned platforms have proven the potential that this emerging marketplace.

In this post, FATbit Technologies would like to educate aspiring entrepreneurs who want to launch a similar business by explaining the process they need to follow to build a dress rental marketplace.

Read on and learn what online dress rental features you need to consider to make a superior website and app to rent out designer, weddings, prom or other dress collections.

Business Model of Online Dress Rental Business

An online dress rental portal is more than just a fashion company. It is also a technology company that is reinventing the fashion industry. The business model is based on strategic partnerships with multiple designers and agencies to give their audience access to their newest outfits and accessories.

As a dress rental website owner, you will rent out items for up to one week and charge a certain percentage of the rental price as the fee. The fee covers the service charges, dry cleaning, and other minor expenditures.

When an order is placed, the product will be dispatched from the vendor’s inventory with pre-addressed packaging. There should also be a provision for holding an insurance amount during the rental period to cover any sort of accidental damage.

Dress Rental Business Model

Online Dress Rental Business Revenue Model

Besides making money from renting clothes, your online dress rental platform can generate revenue from the following channels:

  • Commissions: Get a small commission from every dress rental transaction on your website.
  • Advertising: Make advertising on website or app a part of your long-term monetization plan
  • Featured or Sponsored Listing: Allow dress owners to feature their offerings on homepage & other highlighted sections of the website in exchange for a small fee.
  • Subscriptions: Create an annual subscription model where users purchase a subscription in exchange for perks like relaxation in delivery fees, cashbacks or even a free dress rental on successfully registering themselves.

In addition, you can also upgrade your online designer dress rental platform by adding a selling feature to it. Allow fashion brands to sell their products on your website, and it will serve as another source of revenue in the form of commissions from those sales.

Top Online Dress Rental Marketplaces

  • letote.com
  • renttherunway.com
  • rentez-vous.com
  • bagborroworsteal.com
  • flyrobe.com

Top-Dress-Rental-Marketplaces

Most of these dress rental websites cater to a specific geographical area. So, it would be wrong to consider them as a competitor to your dress rental portal, unless they operate in the same market that you are targeting.

Now that we have understood the business model and have an idea about the top online dress rental marketplaces, let’s find out more about the required website features.

Note: If you are planning to build a multi-vendor dress rental website powered by Yo!Rent, then make sure it has the most – if not all – features listed in this post. Let’s begin!

Dress Rental Website Features

As mentioned earlier in this post, your online clothing rental platform is more of a technology business, thus, its website should be loaded with interesting features.

Let’s start with the homepage and highlight the elements that can make it highly conversion-focused and engaging.

homepage and highlight elements

Homepage

The homepage should focus on two important things that customers care about i.e. discovering and renting dresses. The homepage should also have a neat design and use the white space carefully. It should not be lengthy and only consist of the most important sections. Here are the most prominent ones:

Banner: You need to add a pinch of innovation on the homepage banner by adding two conversion elements. One should take visitors to How It Works page while the other should start the dress booking process instantly. Don’t forget to use an image and a website message for the banner area to make it more attractive.

Most popular styles: Some designers and dresses would be popular amongst customers. These should be displayed on the homepage in a slider to get visitor’s attention. The ideal place for this section would be below-the-fold area. In addition to dress images, the section should also display:

  • Dress name
  • Designer name
  • Rental price
  • Add to favorites option

Seasonal Styles: The homepage should feature another eye-catching section that introduces the visitor to different seasons. This should be in the form of a dedicated page and display lists of seasonal collections. You may also add filters in a side panel to generate tailor-made results.

In addition to that, you can offer a discount on the first purchase to encourage users to buy from your website or app and boost conversions..

Make sure that they get to know about it by displaying a pop-up that highlights the discount & registration link when a user lands on the homepage of your dress rental website.

A large number of e-commerce stores are following this strategy to increase user registrations and establish communication through email even if the visitor doesn’t place an order.

Now, let’s take a step ahead and discuss how a website’s inner pages should be designed.

Dress on Rent Pages

Item pages of your website should be an inspiration for e-commerce stores as well as users. They should be highly informational with zero clutter.

From renting process to image reviews, everything has to be organized while keeping the user experience in mind. It would be best if you cover the dress page one section at a time.

Rental Form: The process of reserving a dress should be quick. Users should be asked about necessary information like zip code, size, delivery date and at the end of the form, there should be the ‘Reserve’ button. The following value added options can also be featured in the section:

  • Stylist notes: Details about product being in trend
  • Size and fit: Size guide table
  • Product details: Technical details about the product
  • Share buttons: Share product on social networks

Dress Images: Like most online stores dealing in clothes, your website should consist of high-quality images clicked professionally. But you shouldn’t stop there. Beside the product images it should also have a place to display customers’ photos who previously rented them.

These images can be fetched from reviews and would help the customers see how a dress really looks. Implementing such competitive features will add more value to your brand.

Review system: The rating and review system should be implemented in a way that users can easily discover relevant reviews. Here are a few things you can  implement to deliver a satisfying user experience:

  • Filters like size, height and bust
  • Details like age, body type, and height
  • Review and photo sliders

Recommendations Section: Sometimes, just one dress is not enough. That’s why your website and app should add a ‘You may also like’ section just below the product details.

From design to implementation, everything should be right with dress recommendation feature.

Up-renting (like upselling): A dress needs accessories to complete the look and you can give your users the option to get them using a ‘Complete the look’ section on the dress page that suggests supplementary accessories.

Process Flow Diagram for an Online Dress Rental Platform

online dress rental platform process flow

Suggested Read: Launch A Multi-vendor Rental Ecommerce Marketplace with Yo!Rent

Navigation

On the main navigation bar, there should be tabs for main product categories like Dresses, Clothing, Occasions, and Accessories to lead users to the selected product category page. Other than that, following tabs can also be displayed to make the section easier:

  • Subscription
  • Designers
  • Stores

Let’s discuss how the page tabs listed above should be designed and understand their unique features, starting with the Subscription tab.

Subscription: This page deserves a special mention because it carries the service that is at the apex of a website’s revenue generation strategy. In order to accomplish the feat of making your customers rent from you on a daily basis, you need to come up with some engaging subscription plans. For example, year long free delivery, unlimited clothes, and more.

Here is a list of sections that  improve engagement on the subscription page:

  • Banner with service introduction
  • Brand associations
  • FAQs

Note: For all web designers working on rental clothing websites and apps, our recommendation is to plan & craft this page meticulously.

Designers: Under this tab, list the designers associated with your dress rental marketplace. Designers should have a dedicated page that features an introduction about them followed by their products and their availability for rent or sale.

Stores: Under this section, list the stores that act as physical addresses for a brand. Clicking on any store will take users to the respective store’s page, which should feature the following:

  • Services
  • Location
  • Hours
  • Contact info
  • Booking system

It is recommended that you use a reliable third-party solution for booking functionality. This will reduce the website building cost and provide a secure and tested payment gateway to your customers.

Product Category Pages

How to find the right size, length, color, sleeve, body type, neckline, age, trend, style, and designer when looking for a dress? The answer is simple  — use filters. Make sure that you offer a detailed set of filters that give complete freedom to your customers and helps them search for what they are looking for in a seamless manner.

Checkout Process

The details required to rent or shop a dress were gathered in the beginning. Now, it is time to furnish the card with shipping details. Unlike most e-commerce stores, your dress rental website shouldn’t divide the whole process into different sections and wrap it all up on a single page. Don’t forget to emphasize the security of the payment gateway.

Additionally, you can enable a feature that allows your customers to pick up the order from nearby locations instead of getting them delivered.

User Account

Through their account, registered shoppers should be able to view and manage every detail related to their orders, profile, and rewards. It should have dedicated sections for:

  • Upcoming order – View and modify your orders.
  • Order history – View history of your orders.
  • Profile – Update your profile
  • Credits – View referral credit available
  • Invites – Send invites to earn credits
  • Assessment – Submit personal details to get style assessment.
  • My Appointments – Appointment details with sellers

Basically, users should be able to manage every aspect of their activities on your website and app through their respective accounts.

Help Section

Features of a dress rental website can be overwhelming for people who use e-commerce websites regularly. Hence, to simplify things for users your team should plan and deliver an extensive Help section. Major highlights of the Help section include:

  • How It Works page
  • FAQs
  • Contact Us page
  • Section to ask a new question

Detailed search filters, intuitive contact forms, and links to other helpful resources should enable your website’s Help section to answer every query related to the website’s features and functionalities.

Incorporating the features discussed so far will help you in building an ideal dress rental website. But why stop there? Take it a level further with the following recommendations.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a challenging aspect of every e-commerce business. But since the products are reused things become more challenging for rental marketplaces.

Dress Quality Assurance

Renters get a dress in the condition it is displayed on the website, but when the dress is returned, will it be in the same condition?

Such concerns that need to be addressed proactively to ensure a smooth sailing for your online rental business.

Here are some steps you can take in this regard:

  • Charge an insurance fee from the renters to cover any unexpected damages
  • Conduct a thorough quality check before renting a product
  • Implementing the provision of insurance for expensive items

Request an Item Option

There is a possibility that your target market already has an online rental marketplace and maybe new ones will emerge with time. And in order to stand out from the competition, you need to offer something unique.

Request an Item is one such feature. Its purpose is simple, if customers don’t find the dress or accessories they are looking for, they can request for it on your marketplace. In the long-term, this feature will also help you expand your product categories without spending extensive efforts on market research.

Login Relaxation

Not every visitor will be comfortable with registering right away. Many e-commerce stores let their visitors ‘like’ products and even add them to cart without registration. This feature can increase the time customers spend on your website or app and improve conversions and must be taken into consideration when building a dress rental website and app.

Optimized Checkout Pages

Every e-commerce store owner hates cart abandonment. Optimized checkout pages can play a pivotal role in minimizing cart abandonment rate. In an effort to close the deal on a single page, do not clutter the checkout section. Take inspiration from other e-commerce stores and implement a design that is a best-fit for your business.

Other Features

You may incorporate some other interesting features like creating a rental product calendar that displays real-time stock availability, define buffer days for product return, block unavailable dates for rented products and extend rental duration from the admin panel.

Find out the cost of building a dress rental website

Bonus Readings:

Here are some comprehensive business model & website feature guides, we have covered on various online rental marketplaces:

Conclusion

The rental model has its positives, especially when it comes to variety and savings. Incorporate the features and recommendations mentioned in this post and create your own advanced online dress rental platform today. Make sure it is flexible so that changes and enhancements can be made.Rental Industry Report 2019

Disclaimer: The Blog has been created with consideration and care. We strive to ensure that all information is as complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Despite our continuing efforts, we cannot guarantee that the information made available is complete, correct, accurate or up-to-date. We advise - the readers should not take decisions completely based on the information and views shared by FATbit on its blog, readers should do their own research to further assure themselves before taking any commercial decision. The 3rd party trademarks, logos and screenshots of the websites and mobile applications are property of their respective owners, we are not directly associated with most of them.



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Comments (24)
FATbit Chef Post author

Hello Jessica,

Thanks for reaching us out. One of our representative will get back to you soon.

Cheers

Sameer Khan

Hello, i want to build an ecommerce website with a uniqhue 3 hour delivery service in hyderabad, India. Please get back to us to help us.

FATbit Chef Post author

Hello Sameer,
We will be more than happy to help you.
Our experts will get back to you soon.
Cheers !

Sneha Sultania

Hi FatBit team, exploring this business idea – need help with developing the platform. Please connect to discuss. Thanks.

FATbit Chef Post author

Sure, we will be more than help you 🙂
Our business team will get in touch with you soon.
Meanwhile, if you have any specific requirements related to the clothing rental website, you can share with the team at salesteam@fatbit.com. This will help us serve you better.
Have a nice day.
FATbit Team

FATbit Chef Post author

Hello Stephanie,
One of our experts from the business development team will get in touch with you shortly.
Have a nice day!
– FATbit Team

Romina Kirchmaier

Hi there – would like to get some figures on building a clothes rental website.

Please advise. Also, do you provide the back-end inventory management?

Thanks!