How to Run a Movie Rental Store

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Movie rental stores in this day and age must compete with online downloads, TiVo, Hulu and wide availability of pirated movies. Whether you own a rural mom and pop corner store with a video rental section or operate a Blockbuster franchise, you must now offer your customers a distinctive reason to shop at your store and must cater to their preferences. How you run your store will determine your success.

Run Your Business Efficiently

  • Invest in inventory management software and point-of-sale hardware. This software allows you to print and scan bar code labels for each of your movies. You can set up customer accounts that show their rental history, how much they've spent and whether they have movies currently checked out; it can associate the bar code on a movie with the customer's account when they rent. It will also allow you to track lost or stolen movies and to know when you need to order more copies of a popular title.

  • Offer a selection that is specifically targeted to your customers. If your goal is to be a specialized rental store, you may want to invest in a specific genre such as anime or early classics that are difficult to find elsewhere. Alternatively, you may choose to cater to customers who want the latest releases without having to wait for a mail service such as Netflix. Your customers may prefer a try-before-you-buy service, allowing them to rent and then purchase movies. Poll your customers to determine what services they prefer and consistently solicit feedback on your services.

  • Design and price your services to encourage impulse rental and purchase. You may do so through choosing to locate your store inside a grocery store or by consistently offering great prices on used DVDs. Offer two-for-one specials on rentals or discounts on new releases to encourage customers to drop by your store on release days. A growing trend is to offer an all-you-can-eat pricing model that allows customers to "check out" DVDs for an unlimited time while paying a monthly subscription fee.

  • Carefully control costs and losses. Profit margins are narrow in this business, so it is crucial to avoid any excess overhead costs from theft, inefficiency or unnecessary spending. Thoroughly screen job applicants to ensure that they are trustworthy and train them on preventing shoplifting and undercharging. Work in your own store whenever possible in order to avoid paying excess wages.

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