In 2017, we launched iRentit for this purpose, providing a response to the global societal megatrend of the sharing economy, as a tangible part of the circular economy.
In the age of the sharing economy, the concept of "ownership" is becoming less significant, and more people are recognizing the benefits of targeted, time-limited, and demand-driven use of products and services. In the outdoor market, the arguments in favor are obvious - bulky equipment is often used only on a few occasions, and storing it requires space, which is often scarce in urban apartments. Another advantage is that you can try new outdoor sports without having to buy all the gear for it right away.
With VAUDE Rent, we have further developed our rental service, iRentit, on an online platform. Unlike iRentit, we’re now collaborating with logistics and e-commerce specialists, enabling smooth ordering and delivery processes. Additionally, products can be easily cleaned, maintained, and, if necessary, repaired.
VAUDE Rent is our rental service for environmentally friendly and fairly produced outdoor equipment. We offer a diverse selection of VAUDE products available for rent, including all major product categories that we also offer for sale: clothing, backpacks, bike bags, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and tents. Our rental service allows customers to rent individual products according to their specific needs.
The minimum rental duration is 3 days, but customers have the flexibility to customize the rental period according to their preferences, with a maximum rental duration of 4 weeks. Our rental service is currently available exclusively online through our own website and integrated into our regular online shop. Currently, products can only be rented within Germany.
There are numerous advantages for customers to rent outdoor equipment instead of buying it.
- Cost savings
Buying high quality outdoor gear can put a strain on a person’s available budget. By renting, customers can save money because they only pay for the actual use of the equipment and don’t have to pay the full purchase price.
- Variety and choice
Renting gives customers access to a wide range of products. Depending on the activity or season, they can choose the right equipment without worrying about long-term use. This allows them to try out different products and find out which ones best suit their needs before making a purchase decision.
- Saving space
Outdoor gear can take up a lot of space, especially larger items like tents, sleeping bags or backpacks. By renting, you don't have to worry about storing your gear.
- Up-to-date gear
The outdoor gear industry is constantly evolving and new technologies and improvements are introduced on a regular basis. By renting, our customers have the opportunity to always use the latest and most up-to-date gear without having to buy new products every time an improvement hits the market.
In addition to the more functional benefits, we also see numerous reasons related to sustainability for renting outdoor gear:
- Resource conservation
Renting gear reduces the need for new products. This means that fewer natural resources such as raw materials, energy and water are used to produce new products. Reusing existing gear, reduces the overall environmental footprint.
- Waste reduction
Purchasing outdoor gear can result in items going unused after only a few uses or a certain season and potentially ending up in the trash. Renting extends the life of the gear and reduces waste generation.
- Repair and reuse
Outdoor gear renters are usually responsible for maintaining, repairing, and caring for the products. When something breaks, it’s repaired instead of being thrown away and replaced with a new product. This encourages reuse and reduces the need for new production.
- Accessibility for all
Renting outdoor gear allows people who may not have the financial means to purchase expensive items to still enjoy outdoor activities. This promotes an inclusive society and allows a broader population to experience the outdoors.
- Education and awareness
Renting gear gives our customers the opportunity to try out different products. This can lead to more conscious consumer behavior, as they have the opportunity to evaluate the quality, performance and longevity of different products before deciding on a purchase. It also promotes awareness of the impact of consumption on the environment.
It should be noted, however, that the sustainability of outdoor equipment rental depends heavily on rental practices and how we handle shipping and returns of products. It is important that accompanying services are also sustainably positioned, such as responsible repair and care (link), so that all products remain in good condition and can be used for as many uses as possible.
There are several reasons why we have established a rental service in addition to the regular sale of products:
- Sustainability and environmental awareness
Our rental service offers a sustainable alternative to the regular purchase of outdoor products. Renting gear can reduce its ecological footprint. Rental products reduce the need for individual purchases and the associated waste of resources. We appeal to customers who place particular value on sustainability and environmental protection.
- Outdoor gear for financially weak target groups as well
Our rental service can help attract new customers and retain existing customers over the long term. Customers who may not be willing or able to pay the full price to purchase a product can use our rental service to gain access to our high-quality products. A positive rental experience can lead to customers later deciding to buy the product or continue to use the rental service.
- Valuable customer feedback
Through our rental service, we have the opportunity to gather valuable customer feedback and learn more about how the rented products are used in practice. Customers can share their experiences, make suggestions for improvements or point out functionalities that we may have overlooked. This feedback helps drive our product development and innovations.
- Use of the products for limited periods of time
In addition, we are addressing new customer segments that are only interested in a limited period of use - for example, people who only need certain products occasionally or appreciate the flexibility to try out different products before making a purchase decision.
- Greater independence
The introduction of the rental service will allow us to diversify our revenue model and tap additional sources of income. This should help to balance out seasonal fluctuations or market trends and make the fiscal year more stable.
We identify all costs, such as logistics, storage, repair and insurance, to ensure that the service is profitable and customer-oriented.