How product catalog and inventory flows differ when selling or renting products
The articles and Stock Keeping Units represent your business's physical assets in its inventory and are not necessarily the same as your product catalog. Your product catalog is the collection of products, services, and combinations you sell to your customers.
For businesses that sell merchandise, the correspondence between the inventory articles, SKUs, and the product catalog is higher because the article in the inventory is very close to the product being sold. A white t-shirt is a white t-shirt both in the inventory and in the product catalog.
For example, a customer can browse a product catalog through a company's website. There is a related product in the inventory for a product that appears in the online store. When a customer places an order through any sales channel, the inventory management system counts how many SKUs there are in the inventory. After that, the order gets fulfilled, and the inventory is restocked.
Product catalog and inventory flows when selling products
However, rental products are different. Instead of selling actual physical products, rental companies sell time from an inventory article's timeline.
Even though the physical items are precisely the same in the inventories of companies that rent and companies that sell products, the relationships between the catalogs and the inventories are significantly different.
For example, a bike rental shop might sell an Around the Lake Package in addition to regular bike rentals. Even though the Around the Lake Package and the regular bike rentals utilize the same physical assets from the inventory, they are not the same product in the catalog.
Luckily, an inventory management system specified for rentals makes sure there's room for bookings on the articles' timelines and prevents overbooking from happening.
Product catalog and inventory flows when renting products
Note: It is not yet possible to have the same article be available as both a sale and a rental product at the same time.