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Old 05-07-2013, 11:20 AM
PartyTime HQ's Avatar
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Ability to rent a product on a specific date?


We rent products on a day and multi day basis.. Is there a way to do the following?

1. Rent a product based on date range? i.e. using a Date for Pickup and Dropoff.
2. Ability to manage the inventory of product rented by date. i.e. if product is rented today, it's inventory count would be 0. If not rented inventory would be 1.

We have been using Ecwid for over a year now and really can't believe there isnt a way to accomplish this.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:08 PM
Eugene Rimmer's Avatar
Eugene Rimmer Eugene Rimmer is offline
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Yes, selling a rent on pre-set date ranges is currently possible in Ecwid. You need to to:
1) put a dropdown option on a product, that enlists the possible rent periods (e.g. if you sell day-long rents, that dropdown should contain the closest upcoming dates when rent is available)

2) set up product variations upon the values of that dropdown, and add a separate stock quantity (most probably equal to one) for each variation.

This will allow to ask the customer for the exact date of rent, and sell a limited amount of the product for each date. If a rent has already been booked for any given date - the customer will not be able to book more on the same date.

The limitations of this approach are:

1) You have to regularly review the date ranges in the dropdown, removing the past ones and adding further dates, and to do the same thing with the variations. You also have to look out not to create the overlapping date ranges.

2) The method only allows to book rents for the given date ranges, one by one. So, for example, if you offer day-long rents, booking a 2-weeks long rent will require buying 14 days one by one. It also won't be possible to book rents for the periods shorter than you have put.

I've been implementing a custom rent booking solution based on a shopping cart, and have to say that such a task has many pitfalls - a lot of aspects have to be thought through before you even begin implementing it.

Booking rents on a limited park of objects for rent is vastly different from a typical online sales. Just one easy example of a pitfall that comes to mind is: customer A is going to book a rent for an object for 3 days, but customer B has already booked a rent for one day in the middle of that range - a renting solution has to detect this fact, disallow renting for 3 days, yet somehow guess and propose another time period, when the object is not rented yet. Similar check has to be done upon each movement of the customer actually - since placing an order is a process that takes some time, and someone else might have booked a rent for the blocking period while this one customer was proceeding to checkout. Maintenance periods for each of your rented objects, the timezone differences, the DST jump dates and the leap years come to play, when you are selling time instead of material objects.

So, my general recommendation to everyone who wishes to peruse a shopping cart as a rent booking software: design your booking process as primitive, as possible - like in the solution given above, just reproduce a fixed number of pre-set ranges available for booking as single items (Ecwid's product variations are behaving much like separate products), and then look after the availability of the ranges, removing the old ones and adding new as necessary. If this approach is not quite fine for you, a software designed specifically for booking rents should be used instead.
 
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