Scandinavian Outdoor's story started in 1970 in Turku, Finland. While the operations may have started small with a group of scouts selling scout badges, Scandinavian Outdoor has evolved over the past 50 years into a well-known outdoor equipment department store.
Currently, with six brick-and-mortar locations in Finland and an international online store, Scandinavian Outdoor aims to offer experienced and amateur hikers everything they need to enjoy the outdoors.
We talked to Scandinavian Outdoor's head of marketing, Kuutti Haapanen, about their initial experiences with rentals and their growth plans.
Introducing the world of outdoors through rental services
For Scandinavian Outdoors, expanding its portfolio and establishing rental operations was an obvious choice they had been planning on making for a while now.
Because their typical customer is someone who is still getting started with camping or hiking, they don't necessarily own all of the equipment they need for a weekend hiking trip, for example. This makes renting an ideal way to introduce their customers to the outdoors and provide them with all the necessary equipment.
At the end of the day, we wanted to start offering rental services because we want to make it easier for people to experience the outdoors. It’s much easier to rent a tent and sleeping bag once a year rather than having to invest in all of the needed equipment at once.
When asked how they think renting will affect their sales revenue, Haapanen was convinced that it only has a positive effect. Because Scandinavian Outdoors has a wide selection of products, Haapanen sees renting as a business opportunity and a way to increase sales rather than affect them negatively.
Even if a customer would choose to rent a tent over buying it, they most likely will need to buy other equipment like clothes or smaller tools that they might need either way. Either way, we’re able to provide our customers with whatever they need - whether it’s through direct sales or renting.
Rentle gives Scandinavian Outdoor a smooth start to their rental operations
Scandinavian Outdoor started its rental operations in July of 2021 in three locations, offering customers everything from tents and backpacks to camping stoves. They plan to expand their offering for the following winter and summer seasons.
Rental services have been something we wanted to implement for a while now, but we never came across any other service providers or platforms that could provide the same level of ease-of-use as Rentle does.
When asked how the implementation went, Haapanen pointed out that they were impressed with the process of introducing the new model into the existing retail operations and integrating their online rental store into their website. All in all, it took Scandinavian Outdoor two weeks to be fully operational in three of its locations, with the training of staff included.
Between the three locations, it only took us one or two remote training sessions with the staff to get them started. After that, they’ve been running the rental operations without any issues.
Scandinavian Outdoors future with Rentle
Scandinavian Outdoors' main priority was providing as easy a rental experience and process as possible for their customers and employees. Haapanen mentioned that they especially liked how Rentle makes renting frictionless and smooth for their customers.
Although the concept of renting outdoor equipment has been around for a long time, the process itself has always been complicated. What’s been lacking in the industry is the possibility to rent out equipment quickly and easily, without any complications - and Rentle makes that happen.
Scandinavian Outdoor believes that the trend of preferring access over ownership will continue to grow and evolve, and more retailers will hop on the renting bandwagon. Meanwhile, they will continue expanding their rental services and offering a more comprehensive range of outdoor products for winter activities.
Photo credits: Scandinavian Outdoor.