Perth leasing company RentSmart last week signed exclusive deals with Myer/Grace Bros (MGB) to set up in-store kiosks and with Harris Technology to market itself through the reseller's Web site.
RentSmart kiosks will be established in Myer Melbourne, Grace Bros Sydney, and MegaMart centres in Brisbane and Melbourne.
Customers can check costing details on a PC in the stores. Credit details are then phoned through to RentSmart and approval faxed back to the kiosk in about 10 minutes.
Stage two of the arrangement will be implemented in December according to RentSmart MD Ned Montarello. This will grant patrons fully online services on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis. June will see the third stage of the program unveiled, though Montarello is keeping the details under wraps.
The kiosks went live on October 4 with plans to expand the concept beyond the original four stores into MGB's 60 national outlets in the next three to five months, he said.
Harris will also offer its customers the choice of financing IT purchases through RentSmart. Montarello explained that customers could fill their shopping carts as usual but instead of buying the products they can get a rental quote and transfer the process to a rental application where everything can be approved online.
"We will pay Myer and Harris on behalf of the customer."
It is a move RentSmart calculates will move them into previously uncharted retail and e-commerce territory and focus on the small and home office markets.
"The buying process of today is either through big retail chains or the Internet. We needed to get into those spaces," said Montarello.
In return, MGB and Harris will be able to participate in what Montarello considers a boom market. RentSmart has doubled its staff numbers in the last year and Montarello estimates that RentSmart's target audience, small business, make up 45 per cent of Australian enterprises. Fifteen per cent of those are now renting.
In the UK and the US that figure stands at 40 per cent, a statistic Montarello does not consider unrealistic for the Australian market in the future.