Marketing to the Rent-To-Own Customer

By Dennis Shields, Executive Director, TRIB Group

The Rent-to-Own dealer faces many of the same challenges that independent retail dealers face, but their business is unique in several ways and their go-to-market approach is a bit different as well. For this article, I have reached out to TRIB Group marketing vendors for their perspective. All of our marketing vendors are very experienced in the Rent-to-Own space, and I am pleased to present this recipe for the ingredients a successful RTO marketing program should have. As you can see there are several similarities between RTO and retail, but there are a few differences as well.

Every Channel Marketing 

“Although RTO companies have more alternatives than ever before, getting results is more difficult as advertising dollars become diluted with the abundant choices available,” said Tim Hector of Every Channel Marketing. “RTO dealers must work to find ways to compete with traditional channels that are offering ‘no credit’ offers. Here are some tips we recommend to our clients.”

Tip 1: Have a good website, whether you use TV, radio, billboards, print and mail, email, text, internet targeting or social media. The first thing that a current potential customer will do is go to your website. The more complete your site, the better. Can you process an order? 

Tip 2: Your market and location will help determine which of the advertising alternatives to use. Some of these advertising avenues work better in cities than rural areas or may require several locations to help absorb the high cost. 

Tip 3: The shotgun approach certainly can give you a broad look at potential customers, but it is also a great way to see which way the wind is blowing as you throw your money out the window. Don’t throw it out to see what sticks. 

“We recommend using a highly targeted approach, with very tight parameters for print and mail, text, email and social and other online digital. Tie them together to hit your customers at key times to gain the most traction for the given budget.  This will drive customers to your store and to your website.” 

Central File Marketing (A division of the Anstadt Companies)

Al Benson of Central File explained how the company helps dealers stay competitive with customer retention programs. Customer retention is important in any industry but with RTO, success means reaching out with many different product areas for each customer. Central File has been providing effective customer retention programs to RTO stores and employees for the past 28 years, and using experience acquired from RTO operations, they have developed a comprehensive and cost-effective customer re-acquisition program.

Central File recommends RTO dealers pay close attention to the following:

1) Data Security: One of the most valuable assets a store has is the customer list. RTO dealers must protect customer data by utilizing data encryption to provide security and protect those assets. 

2) Keeping track of customers, even when they move. This can help dealers recover lost or written-off merchandise, an aspect of RTO that traditional retailers don’t face.

3) Create targets, timing and offers and then examine the success of each. Central File helps dealers by providing detailed reports explaining what works best. They also work with store personnel to maintain levels of success.

Dennis Shields, Executive Director, TRIB Group

As you can see, some of the similarities of marketing to the RTO customer is the same as traditional retail marketing. It is important to have an updated digital presence with a quality website, focusing on existing customer data and analyzing it to increase sales to existing customers. Furthermore, use that data to target and create offers that will have the most impact. Using social media channels to build and maintain relationships has also become a key part of the mix, but we will delve deeper into that topic in another piece. 

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc. 

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