Categories: General Date: Mar 2, 2015 Title: RTO chain Rent One Remodel
Rent-to-own chain Rent One is in the midst of a chain-wide store remodeling project designed to refresh its look while making its showrooms more appealing to female consumers.
The 70-store family business, owned by CEO Larry Carrico and wife, Sharon, hired Connie Post and her Affordable Design Solutions for the refresh which, to date, has been rolled out to 20 stores in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Arkansas. Another 20 stores are on tap to be refurbished this year.
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Post met Carrico at an RTO industry conference in 2013 and once hired, "set out to change the guest experience in Rent One stores," her company said.
Stores for the St. Louis-based Rent One often are in strip shopping centers and feature industrial doors and other architectural limitations, but Post said she found a way to overcome these obstacles.
Redesigned stores feature trellises framing the doors on the exterior. They are painted white and flanked by flower boxes. The front exterior also features a banner that reads, "Live Beautifully@Rent One," and a new indoor/outdoor rug designed by Post and placed at the entrance, which includes the store logo.
The store interiors were uplifted as well, with freshly painted, colorful walls and wood-like vinyl floors, replacing carpeting and giving the furniture displays more of an upscale look. Vinyl graphics on the walls reinforce key messages about creating a beautiful home. Among the phrases written in script throughout the store are, "A beautiful room at Rent One" and "Open your eyes and see the beauty."
In addition, Post used light string curtains to divide spaces and emphasize room displays. At the front entrance, she created a three-room apartment lifestyle display featuring living room, bedroom and dining furniture.
In an unusual move for an RTO chain, Rent One came as close as it gets to nailing down the first three upholstery vignettes at the store entrance. While the redesigned stores still sell off the floor, there's a new commitment to keep the upfront vignettes stocked, with new upholstery items on display rather than pre-owned goods.
The new stores also feature more accessories, including wall décor from Imax Worldwide.
Key furniture and bedding suppliers to the chain include Ashley, Catnapper and Symbol in bedding.
Rent One stores average 5,000 to 6,500 square-feet, and Carrico estimated the company is investing about $40,000 to $60,000 in each remodel.
Carrico said he's been pleased with the results, noting that average monthly revenues for the remodeled stores have increased from 10% to 30%, with the larger increases coming from stores that have gone the longest before between remodels - something Rent One does on a regular basis.
What's more, Rent One has seen its average price per rental agreement increase at the remodeled stores by 8% to 10%, he said, as the company appears to have broadened its customer base.
"We think we're attracting new clients," Carrico said, adding that Rent One was aiming to appeal more to female shoppers, with a "fresher, newer, right look."
"We felt Connie had that and could find those clients for us."
Early results and comments suggest customers are responding well to the updated experience. Carrico said he's also hoping they will stay longer in the stores, but it will take time to build that track record.
"I think that as an industry, we somehow think that the consumer who shops at the rent-to-own level has different priorities than any other female consumer, and it simply isn't true," Post said. "When she walks in, she wants the painting, she wants the lamps, and she wants the whole beautiful room just like anyone else."
The remodeling project "is all about the client experience, the employee experience and the shopping experience," Carrico said. "All three are important.
"Our culture is coworker-centric," he said. The employee "sparks everything," so if the store and office experience is strong, employees are in a better frame of mind. That carries over to the way they take care of customers, which means "everybody wins," he said.