3 trends that will dictate where the industry goes in 2022
2021~2022 is bringing new challenges and opportunities to the self-storage industry. Despite the tumultuous 2020 and early 2021, the growth outlook is positive: A Global Industry Analysts report estimates a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.6% over the next seven years. Nevertheless, self-storage owners need to be aware of the direction the industry is headed and the technological novelties set to become market standards.
As in the past, urbanization, population growth, aging populations, and the popularity of e-commerce are pushing demand for self-storage. The USA remains the largest market, but the increase is the strongest in the Asia-Pacific region. Overall the 4D’s of self-storage demand hold true today, as in the past: Divorce, downsizing, death, and displacement.
Safety and Automation
The 2020 pandemic has changed in many ways how businesses are conducted. Automated, remote-operated facilities had the upper hand. In the future, automation of self-storage will become an industry-standard increasingly. It allows companies to save on footprint, operational costs, and overhead, making operations more efficient overall.
Prospective renters increasingly search, find and manage their storage solutions digitally. Over two-thirds of inquiries already come from web sources. Virtual tours, online booking, automated payment & acces, self-service kiosks, and similar solutions that empower customers are gaining popularity. Routine tasks can be outsourced to the IT system or even the customers themselves.
While it might sound counter-intuitive – automated facilities are more secure, too: Due to the increased presence of security cameras and sensors, as well as the smart-lock doors. New technologies emerged as well: remote visibility, customer site access, license plate identification, physical movement at the facility, time stamps, and others. Facilities with flexible and adaptable IT systems were able to add these additional features without incurring hefty costs.
Legacy Software & custom systems
This new demand for digital solutions and automation also rings the end for many legacy and custom systems. Due to their nature, they are hard to adapt as industry requirements change. For example, they lack the flexibility to integrate customer support through social networking services or managing units with modern smart locks remotely. These and other examples expose the vulnerabilities of such systems. In addition, each change and each new application comes with hefty development costs. Contrasting this, modern solutions are flexible and easily adaptable. They are designed specifically for self-storage and integrate seamlessly with other required applications, e.g., customer support solutions. Intuitive interfaces, both on the front-end and the back-end, make the applications easy to learn and use for customers and staff alike. As they are cloud-based, a facility can run without any staff present – all you require is a PC or tablet and a stable internet connection. Any self-storage facility that wants to be future-proof should bid farewell to legacy software and embrace modern solutions, such as Storeganise. Not to mention that legacy systems are often built on outdated standards, making them an easier target for data breaches and ransomware attacks.
There are no guarantees of success in business – but there are guarantees of failure. Missing out on trends and failing to keep up with market developments is one of them. The way people work and live has inevitably changed, not in the least because of the pandemic. Many technological trends have been pushed forward and are now firmly established as market standards. The industry will grow but will your business grow with it?
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