As property costs rise, people are attempting to cram their lives into increasingly small but affordable spaces. The lure of minimal living grows stronger, and in this climate, services which enable consumers to rent rather than buy their products are flourishing. We have already seen companies rent out everything from jeans to electric cars.
Lumoid is a US photographic equipment rental service which has recently expanded its ‘library’ to include wearables and drones — enabling customers to try-before-they-buy the latest high tech gadgets. Lumoid’s catalogue include sleep tracking and fitness devices from Samsung, Jawbone, Fitbit and others, as well as digital and analogue camera equipment. Customers earn points when renting products which can be cashed in if and when they decide to make a purchase, lowering the price of the item.
Lumoid also offer a Home Try-On program for wearables, tapping into the personalized nature of these devices — some may be a good fit one customer while another is more comfortable for someone else. Customers can pick any five items from the program, which are then shipped, free of charge, anywhere in the US. The customer then has seven days to test-drive the products, giving them time to download apps and sync data etc. At the end of the week, customers choose which model or models they want to purchase and they are then sent a brand new version of that item. If they haven’t found an item they like, they simply return all five in the provided box and are charged a USD 20 rental fee.
In a culture of short-term usage — especially in the fast moving world of gadgets — perhaps a subscription service could be a possible expansion on this model. Companies rely on, and pander to, the consumer’s desire for the latest gadget — and a rental service that offered a vast catalogue of gadgets for short term usage, at a fixed fee, could appeal to both nervous and fickle consumers alike. Could other exciting but intimidating gadgets benefit from similar schemes?