RentSmart stitches up kiosks

Coles Myer bolstered its e-business commitment last week announcing it will install more in-store kiosks from RentSmart.

The move follows hot on the heels of Harris Technology's recent installation kiosk sites in Kmart stores (ARN, October 20, page1).

Western Australian leasing company RentSmart will extend its current four in-store kiosks to 15 in Myer Grace Bros (MGB) stores around the nation.

Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will join the Sydney and Melbourne pilot stores with the potential to expand even further into MGB's 60 or so locations around Australia.

The RentSmart kiosk concept, which went live in early October, allows customers to rent equipment by setting up a RentSmart account in MGB stores.

All details are entered and processed online.

"We were initially looking at expanding in the new year but had such a good response - enquiries at our call centre increased 25 per cent - that we knew we had to get our act together sooner," explained Ned Montarello, RentSmart's managing director.

Not all MGB stores will be big enough to host a kiosk, said Montarello, but "by June next year we'll have comprehensive coverage", with most stores at least displaying RentSmart marketing paraphernalia or having simple e-commerce applications available.

Coles Myer's IT reseller arm, Harris Technology, also set up kiosks last week, though with a slightly different bent. Its in-store kiosks will eventually be located in Kmart stores across the nation and will allow customers Internet access to Harris' 55,000 products, letting them pay for their purchases online.

The first store was opened in Sydney's Broadway Kmart last week, to be followed this week by a store in Melbourne's East Burwood.

Montarello said it had "yet to be decided" whether or not RentSmart kiosks would appear alongside Harris Technology kiosks in Kmart stores.

He was also unable to comment on whether arrangements finalised a couple of months ago with Harris, in which Harris customers were offered RentSmart financing options through the Harris Web site, would be included in Harris' Kmart kiosks.

However, Montarello did say that RentSmart and Harris initiatives "dovetailed on a number of other things", though he was unable to give details.

Harris Technology's Ron Harris and Montarello met last week to discuss potential strategies and "synergies", according to Montarello.