- The rental market is increasing as a growing number of younger customers look to rent versus own items.
- Amazon, the US’ largest online shopping destination, does not yet offer much for rental, with the exception of textbooks.
- Two job listings on the retailer’s website means that could change soon, however.
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When thinking of renting items like clothing, furnishings, and tools, Amazon is not the first place that comes to mind. It’s not the second or third either, most likely.
That’s because Amazon still does not offer much in the way of rentals to its customers. It does offer textbook rentals to students, but that’s about it.
Earlier this year, Amazon also offered rentals of musical instruments in addition to the textbooks rental it still offers. The instrument option is not currently available, and Amazon seems to have discontinued it.
Amazon did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
However, that does not mean it’s the end of the possibility of rental at Amazon.
Recently, there were two job openings Amazon is hiring for a program called "Rentals by Amazon." There is currently only one position still open, which was first listed in December. The second, which has been deleted, was originally posted earlier in 2019.
"In this role, you would be joining as software engineer in the Rentals Team," the job posting reads, noting that it is on the Worldwide Returns & ReCommerce team "Joining this team gives you the opportunity to step into a leadership role, define and develop highly scalable and high performance web services. You will have opportunities to work on predominantly backend (Services) and some frontend (Website) components and interact with business stakeholders directly."
It’s notable that the listing carries a different name than the "Amazon Rentals" logo on Amazon.com/rentals page. The position is based in Seattle, Washington, but does not specify if the program the job is under is US-based.
It’s hardly conclusive proof that Amazon is expanding in rentals, but the company may be forced to reckon with rentals eventually, as customers — especially younger ones — demand the option in lieu of traditional purchasing.
"Right now, [the website is] only their textbooks, but the way they have worded it, and the way you get to it from some of the different links, implies that they built it to cover a whole lot more," Jim Hull of JDA Software said.
Indeed Amazon is not known to stay out of growing industries for long, especially if they see an opportunity.
"It would be myopic to assume that Amazon would never look in this direction because they look kind of in all directions," Tom McLeod, CEO and founder of rental company Omni, said.
"But do I think that they will be the incumbents’ first mover into the space? I very much do not think that."
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