'Rental eBay' continues expansion

10 February 2009

A rental website that allows individuals and businesses to rent a wide range of equipment and goods has started operating in the UK after successful launches in France, Belgium, The Netherlands and the US.

Zilok.com, launched by three French-Belgian partners in 2007 and described as a ‘rental eBay', allows homeowners and companies to rent an enormous range of goods, from designer handbags, skis and performance cars to more traditional rental items such as tools and equipment. Zilok takes a 5% commission on each transaction.

Joana Picq, general manager of Zilok UK, told IRN that Zilok is a 'one-stop-shop' for renting online, similar to Erento, the German-based online rental site, but "more community driven and with a location centric search engine to complement other search sites like Google."

She said the site attracts individuals to the site by giving them the opportunity to rent out their own belongings and make money; "we have already seen from our business in the US and France that making money is what drives people to the site, but it is renting things from businesses that truly fulfils their needs, and it is what over 80% of our users end up doing".

Ms Picq said Zilok has 200000 unique visitors every month, almost 500 equipment rental companies participating, and 60000 registered users. The site took 800 bookings in France in January alone, said Ms Picq. Power tools are number three on Zilok's search list in the UK and number four in France.

Loxam in France was one of the first rental companies to sign up to the site, and it has been joined by as many as nine other French renters, including some big names.

Patrick Rizzo, director of marketing at Loxam, said the company's entire range of equipment targeted at tradesmen, small and medium sized companies and private individuals is now catalogued on the Zilok site; "The geo-mapping function on the site allows us to direct customer to the depot nearest to him. These locations then locally manage the relationship, using their expertise and the quality of service available from our network."

Joana Picq said the site should be viewed as a new business channel; "A new route to market for equipment rental business who have tools that can be of use for small businesses or consumers. An alternative to reach new customers, and drive incremental revenue, especially during a recession. Our rental business partners bring the goods and the services, we bring the customers."

Zilok has been engaged in a high profile publicity campaign and has been feature in articles in publications including the New York Times, the BBC, the Times, the International Herald Tribune and Reader's Digest.

Zilok.fr was launched in October 2007 by Gary Cige, Marion Carrette and Thibaud Elzière.

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