Rent a Center is unquestionably the 400 pound gorilla of the RTO
that leadership does not extend to the web.
While more 'consumer centric' than previous versions, the new
www.rentacenter.com is, for lack of a better term, stark.
The site is 'cold' in comparison to
other RTO sites such as
Rent a Center's homepage does not exude friendliness or warmth.
The only human being seen on the site is 'Bob'. Bob, intended to
represent the typical rent to own customer, replaced John Madden
as the company spokesperson earlier this year.
On a 56K dialup connection (presumably what most consumers will
use) Rent a Center's homepage took over 1 minute to load. The
overly large Flash file used to scroll brand-names is jumpy,
causing uneven scrolling throughout the site. The only way to
improve the scrolling issue was to adjust the Flash 'Quality'
setting in my browser to low.
On a DSL line, the page loaded quickly, but scrolling did not
The site apparently does not utilize browser detection. Browser
detection allows a website to be optimized for the viewer
regardless of the browser being used. For example, if a surfer visits
rentacenter.com with a
non-flash browser, they are greeted by annoying pop up windows
announcing "flash is required to view this page", rather than
simply being redirected to a non-flash version.
Frames are used in the product section. The purpose of frames is
to allow a visitor to scroll within a browser window. They only
work well if the entire page fits in the browser window.
Unfortunately, even on a 20" monitor, the frame containing Rent
a Center products extends below the window, requiring the
visitor to scroll both the frame and browser to view all
Bottom line...a definite "do-over".
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only independent source of news for the rent-to-own, rental-purchase,
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