Adobe Commerce powered Kennards to create Australia’s first ‘live hire’ rental business site.
Rentals in first 30 days
Transform the equipment rental business
Deliver e-commerce website for businesses and consumers
Integrate location-specific product inventory
150 rentals in first 30 days
As Australia’s first live-hire site in the rental market, delivers omnichannel experience with location-specific inventory from 162 store branches
Over 68 years ago, long before the Internet even existed, Walter Kennard was the proud owner of a small Australian machinery business, W. Kennard & Company. Kennard sold machinery to customers from his shop in the small town of Bathurst, 124 miles west of Sydney. That was until one customer asked a question that would change Kennard’s business forever. He asked if he could borrow a concrete mixer, instead of buying one.
“I won’t lend it to you,” Kennard said, “but I'll hire it to you.”
Fast forward to 2016 and Kennards Hire is one of the biggest players in the equipment hire market in Australia and New Zealand, with 162 branches and 1,100 employees. But the company knew it needed to transform the rental business away from the slow, old-fashioned process of equipment rental business. Because in the Internet age, who wants to fill in a paper form to rent the equipment?
Kennards searched the global rental business market to see who was leading the way in e-commerce. But they quickly realised they’d have to invent what they needed — become a trailblazer. They needed to look at e-commerce platforms that were flexible enough to integrate hundreds of physical rental shops, yet robust enough to support a bold new digital vision. The company’s dream was a ‘click and collect’ online tool rental business website that would unite a customer with a concrete mixer at the press of a button. For the second time in its history, Kennards revolutionised the way they did rental business.
Chief Commercial Officer, Kennards Hire
On the company’s previous rental business website, customers couldn’t hire tools. Instead, Kennards imagined an e-commerce platform that could allow its customers to select their region, pick a demolition saw or industrial vacuum cleaner, order online and pick up at a local store (or have it delivered to their construction site). The website also needed to function for a variety of business customer types as well as ordinary folk working on DIY projects. From a technology standpoint, the biggest challenge was integrating hundreds of Kennards shops and location-specific product inventory to make the platform a truly omnichannel experience.
The flexibility and openness of Adobe Commerce was essential to the project because Kennards wanted to develop a number of integrations to proprietary systems to create a unique customer experience. Kennards commercial customers don’t make purchases, they enter a contractual hire agreement. So, on the rental business website, orders are replaced with contract periods. This was a serious customisation. Using Adobe Commerce, the site allows all customers to easily pay invoices and reorder the equipment they need regularly.
After a four-month beta period, the company’s new rental business website launched in June 2016. It was the first ‘live hire’ site available to the Australian and New Zealand rental market and industry-changing in its scope. Today, customers can select a ride-on lawnmower or forklift from any device — mobile or desktop and from any work site location. The rental equipment is then ready for pickup at a local branch or even delivered onsite — with no paper forms to fill in. In fact, all the boring stuff is now a breeze, with online payments, invoices, credit notes and statements.
The first thing a customer does is enter their post code. This allows Kennards to showcase available product inventory per store location in real time.
The results speak for themselves: Kennards customers made 150 hires in the first 30 days. Those are numbers that would make Walter Kennard proud.