Last year was a big one for Rentoza – our biggest ever, in fact.
“The one thing that surprised me most this year was the pace of growth – there’s clearly a greater and greater need for a model like ours,” says Mishaan Ratan, Chief Marketing Officer, and one of Rentoza’s co-founders.
“We’re a high-growth business and we have always seen consistent growth, but this year the business just started rapidly growing from May, traditionally a low period for us. We always forecast for growth but this has been amazing. We have market fit and we are clearly seeing market capture happening in front of our eyes.”
All that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to look back at some of the milestones we reached in 2023, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
It’s All About People
At the end of the day, growing a brand takes people, and we’ve put a ton of effort into making sure we’ve got the best. Rentoza’s staff complement has grown from 61 to 181 over 2023 (nearly 300%!), with new additions at every level of the business.
As Mishaan puts it: “Only people can make this happen for you. You can't do everything as a founder; the business changes, so find the right people to steer the business in the right direction. Give them the frameworks and fundamentals as well as the tools and platforms and let them go.”
On that note, we’ve also welcomed a new class of graduates to the fold. After the success of our first graduate programme intake, we’re excited to see what the new group of eager minds gets up to.
Graduates get the opportunity to experience every aspect of a fast-growing, modern, tech-focused business. Several alumni of our first graduate intake are now full-fledged Rentoza employees, yet more vital cogs in our quest to offer unparalleled access to every South African.
But wait, there’s more! We’ve also launched another programme, alongside our graduate programme, to help even more young minds gain vital real-world working experience. Our vacation intern programme welcomes currently studying students into the fold, giving them a first-hand look at what it’s like to work in a fast-growing brand, in the ecommerce sector.
A New Home
We’ve grown faster than we could have believed possible this year, and that meant finding a new home big enough to hold the whole family.
Our new Joburg offices are spacious, fun, and offer all the amenities we need to give our customers the best experience possible – as well as the space needed to keep scaling effectively. We’ve also found new homes for our Cape Town teams, ensuring that the entire company feels right at home every day.
While growing the team and finding new homes are big, important milestones, none of it would be possible without the incredible growth we’ve seen in the business.
Our growth is fuelled by our people, but also by data. Daniel Wolman, Rentoza’s Chief Data Officer, explains: “Data is fundamental to everything we do here at Rentoza. That includes managing our operational units and optimising our ability to deliver on our promises to our customers. Another good example is managing our speed to verification, which might well be our most important metric today. We use data to tell us what is happening, where and how at any given point in time.”
It seems like every month we’ve hit new data peaks across every part of the business – just another testament to the power of putting together the right team.
Big App Energy
The Rentoza mobile app is barely a year old, but boy has it grown. Over that time we’ve tweaked, refined, and polished, with app-exclusive deals and a better customer experience overall.
And as a result, we’ve blown past first 200 000, and then 300 000 app downloads in the last few months alone (hopefully you jumped on our celebration deals). That puts us at the ninth spot on the list of most-downloaded shopping apps in the country.
Describing the lessons we’ve learned building this juggernaut, Mishaan says: “Never waiver on your vision, but find ways to continuously execute with precision – stick to the vision and get everybody on board the freight train. It will move at a faster pace and never be slowed down by intermittent hurdles if you're all unified around a single vision and execute hard on that. You will see a multiplier effect.”
We’re not just an online shop anymore, Rentoza’s stepped into the real world! Over 2023, we opened stores in Cape Town’s Tyger Valley, multiple locations across Gauteng, and Liberty Midlands Mall, amongst others.
“We're going to get this in front of more and more people, because no one knows they need Rentoza until they find us,” says Mishaan.
With new stores opening seemingly every day, we’re excited to bring the access lifestyle to more South Africans in every part of the country.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Despite Black Friday falling before payday for many, 2023’s edition was still a big one – and ended up being less a Black Friday than a Black Weekend. We also extended our Cyber Monday offering into Tech Tuesday; maybe a sign of things to come?
Regardless, the five day sales extravaganza yielded big numbers. Compared to 2022, Black Friday 2023 saw:
- An increase in total sales of over 120%
- Nearly a quarter of all sales coming from first-time customers
- A more than 1 000% increase in site traffic
While Cyber Monday managed:
- A more than 200% jump in sales, compared to Cyber Monday 2022
- A nearly 800% increase in visitors to the site
- More than 20% of sales going to first-time customers
Not bad, eh?
Even better, over the full peak season – November and December – we saw a quarter-on-quarter growth rate of 74%. But that figure is blown out of the water by our year-on-year growth over the same period: 300%.
Onward and Upward
Truly, 2023 was a big year – but it’s just the beginning. Rentoza is shaping up for a blockbuster 2024, as we continue refining, building, and showing the world the power of access over commitment.
Daniel, typical of an experienced data analyst, frames the potential the way he knows best: “Our core focus is improving every area of our business, whether it’s delivery or customer support. Data is the driving force behind informing us whether we are on track towards our objectives or not.”
That said, it hasn’t always been easy. According to Mishaan, achieving such spectacular results across an entire year has demanded “resilience and problem solving – there’s always a way to move forward.”
“We're a young business with exciting and inquisitive minds, working to evolve the business,” he says. “We constantly face challenges across the business, but we face adversity head on and we come out on top, every time.”
And what’s he looking forward to most for 2024?
“The ability to give even more South Africans the option to live life on their terms. There's a new way to access products outside of traditional structures.”
In other words, commitment is messy. Just Rentoza it.