The pandemic’s push toward more demand for ecommerce has made its way to the construction equipment rental business.
But while there may be more construction companies looking to rent equipment online, there is a dearth of rental companies able to accept and process online orders, says Adeel Zaman, co-founder and chief financial officer of Dozr Inc.
Dozr operates an online marketplace at Dozr.com, where the Kitchener, Canada-based company says 15,000 suppliers across North America can connect with “hundreds of thousands of contractors searching for their next rental equipment.”
But Dozr is also out to help equipment suppliers rent their equipment through their own ecommerce sites. Though many list their equipment on websites, fewer than half use rental management software, according to information posted on ConstructConnect.com, a construction industry portal. To help close that gap, Dozr has launched WebStores, a cloud-based, white-label ecommerce application for construction rental equipment dealers to manage sales on their own branded ecommerce sites. Equipment rental dealers can either integrate ecommerce capabilities to their existing website through WebStores or build a separate, branded ecommerce site from scratch.
Dozr sees WebStores as a way for equipment rental dealers to grab a larger slice of the rental market, which Dozr figures will grow 4.5% annually over the next five years to more than $155 billion in annual sales in 2026.
“Most construction equipment rental companies have a website, but their site does not provide a way to book and pay for rentals,” Zaman says. “Equipment rental companies know they need this capability, but don’t necessary know how to build it.”
Selling through online marketplaces
With WebStores, construction equipment rental dealers can introduce a number of new features to their website, including digital transaction processing, inventory availability and pricing, and real-time rental requests. Account customers can see preferred dynamic pricing and users with existing websites can sync WebStores to their site through their enterprise resource planning platform. WebStores offers buyers two ways to pay: by credit card or credit account. Equipment rental companies pay a monthly service fee for WebStores, which Dozr declined to disclose publicly.
In addition to providing equipment rental dealers with the tools to build an ecommerce site, Dozr developed WebStores as part of a larger strategy to enable sellers on its equipment rental marketplace to launch their own branded site while maintaining a presence on Dozr.com.
“Our goal is to help rental companies develop a great ecommerce strategy via WebStores and Dozr.com,” Zaman says. “Our marketplace is a way to land users that don’t land on or find their way to a rental equipment company’s website. There will always be a need for marketplaces like Dozr.com as well as individual storefronts.”
One reason construction equipment rentals are growing is that construction companies are finding it too costly to purchase and maintain equipment, especially if they use it only a few times a year, Zaman says. In addition, as construction equipment becomes more technologically sophisticated, costs keep rising.
“As equipment becomes more and more technological, the price to buy and maintain goes up,” Dozr CEO Kevin Forestell says in a blog posted to Dozr.com. “If equipment is sitting for even a few weeks unused, it’s money out the window. Renting equipment when it’s needed decreases the need to pay such high upfront costs. Plus, the costs spent on equipment yards, storage, maintenance, and other costs related to equipment can be reduced or eliminated. Renting, in the long run, can be much more budget-friendly than buying.”
To help rental companies launch an ecommerce store through WebStores, Dozr provides training via webinars and custom development services to help rental dealers customize their ecommerce store. Dozr also provides digital marketing services to help drive web traffic.
Managing multichannel sales
“We learned a lot about rental dealers’ ecommerce needs from Dozr.com,” says Zaman. “Two things we learned was the need for a simplified template and to make it easy to upload inventory to the site.”
Dozr declines to reveal the number of rental companies using WebStores or the volume sales through the website program.
The launch of WebStores follows Dozr’s launch early last year of Order Manager, a software application for managing brick-and-mortar in-store sales. Order Manager lets rental companies view, accept and process rental requests. Dozr says the application is designed to help equipment rental dealers to process a higher volume of rental requests.
Dozr expects its clients will pair Order Manager with online sales via WebStores to build multichannel sales, the company says.
Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.
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