January 20, 2017 / 11:28 AM / 3 years ago

Media Markt trials service to rent drones, VR headsets

Employees of German electronics retailer Media-Saturn switch on television in their European state-of-the-art store in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

BERLIN (Reuters) - Media Saturn, Europe’s biggest consumer electronics group, is trialing a new service at its Media Markt unit to allow customers to rent devices such as drones or virtual reality headsets, in a bid to tempt customers to try out new products.

Media Saturn, part of retailer Metro, reported sluggish Christmas sales, hurt by consumers pulling forward purchases due to the “Black Friday” sale in November.

The new service allows customers shopping on Media Markt’s website to rent products for one month or more and covers around 500 products, including a floor-mopping robot as well as more common items like smartphones.

“Shopping habits are changing. Consumers want more flexibility and more options,” Lennart Wehrmeier, chief operating officer of Media-Saturn Deutschland, said in a statement.

Media Saturn is working with Berlin start-up Grover for the service, which is for now available only online, but may be extended to stores in the near future. The range of products will also be extended following the test phase, the company said.

“It reaches out to new target groups, speeds up customers’ decision-making, and hence boosts sales,” Michael Cassau, CEO and founder of Grover, said.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Georgina Prodhan

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