It is hard to believe that the self-storage industry, which began in the US only 60 years ago, has grown to become a US$43 Billion global mega market. Whether you are in Asia, the Americas, EMEA or any other region of the world, you can find a self-storage facility available to store your personal items.
In my travels over the last few years, I have found that a majority of self-storage operators have been in business for many years – only few are startups. Operators either own or rent facilities, outfit them to desired specifications, and begin to rent units.
However, the daily operations of supporting customers, facilities, and personnel in many self-storage businesses are typically managed by a handful of independent processes and systems. These are usually not tightly integrated, are built on old technology, or simply weren’t designed for the self-storage industry.
Over our 20 years in the self-storage industry, we have tracked and monitored technology trends and unfortunately, many operators are stuck with legacy self-storage technology. In this article, we look at how older software or legacy systems can impair a self-storage business, and how applying newer, specialized technology can benefit them.
What kinds of improper technology can hamper the growth of your self-storage business?
Custom Built Systems
Many self-storage businesses have already invested in a costly custom solution. The challenge for them is to continue the development of the custom solution to support the changing needs of self-storage customers.
Unfortunately, many custom systems were not designed and are not flexible enough to address self-storage customers inbound and outbound communications via SNS, email, and voice. Besides, additional development costs are typically required for these self-storage businesses to keep up with newer applications in use.
Not Purpose-Built Software
The self-storage industry is unique, and thus operators should run the right self-storage software. Using software from other industries like property management or the apartment lease market is not the right answer. Just because the software offers local language support should not be the main reason for investment.
By purchasing software that wasn’t designed for the self-storage industry, you will often need to change your processes, which burdens your staff with unnecessary work. It will also create gaps in your ability to adequately support your customer base leading to customer acquisition and retention challenges.
Updates, Versions, and Roadmaps of Software
Software updates happen regularly to enhance security or to deliver new features. Version releases provide users with enhanced technological developments or to address potential issues.
However,version updates can cause disruptions if your hardware cannot support newerself-storage software, or if you have already spent time and money to integrate with one system and the version changes cause something to break.
Operators should also pay attention to product roadmaps to better understand what new features are being planned and if any changes could negatively impact your self-storage business.
It’s time for a self-storage technology overhaul!
The Importance of Customer Experience (CX) and Omnichannel Management in the Self-storage Industry
The key to any self-storage business is having your locations full of happy paying customers. However, unlike the self-storage industry in the 1970s, today’s self-storage consumer carries a smartphone using more than voice; most people also use LINE, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and/or additional SNS channels to communicate.
Plus, our potential customer is likely using a mobile payment application. Did you know that in 2020, the mobile POS method surpassed credit card and cash payments combined?
Today’s customer has everything available at their fingertips–but are your current self-storage systems able to communicate and support their growing needs? Customers want to contact you on the channel that best fits their lifestyle at a time that is convenient for them.
It’s high time you upgraded your system with the right self-storage software that adapts all these demands. If you don’t know where to start, you can consider the worldwide-trusted Storeganise self-storage management software.
Cloud versus On-Premise Systems
Many self-storage businesses are using on-premise applications, either custom-built or software out of the box. The cloud-based self-storage system, which is a relatively new phenomenon, offers some real advantages over having a server and related applications hosted in your office.
I have listed a handful of the most meaningful benefits of cloud-based self-storage software here:
- No more hardware maintenance or support at your office
- Access to cloud applications via a simple web browser – no need to work with VPNs or firewall security settings
- Single view of key applications and related analytics – no need to try integrating independent systems
- Software updates or upgrades are part of your service agreement
- Little or no CapEx, attractive OpEx options
One of the most important areas for any self-storage business/trunk room location is access control and security. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, legacy self-storage access control systems built on older technology were being pushed to the limit.
The pandemic has created even more challenges. Limited personal contact with your customer creates the need for additional remote visibility including customer site access, license plate identification, physical movement at the facility, time stamps, and more.
Unfortunately, antiquated systems typically do not have these features. They cannot support newer software applications that are capable of delivering enhanced site access control and security measures.
Instead, you should seek modern self-storage software that is built with access control features in mind.
Get your business technology upgraded
The cost and related risk of running a self-storage business is real. As pointed out in this article, outdated, improper technology can hamper growth and create inefficient operations. Investing in newer technology for your self-storage business is the solution you need.
The question is: Where should you start with all these technology overhauls? It can be risky to do experiments to find out what works and what doesn’t. The optimal option for you is to seek help from technology consultancies.
Unwired Logic is a Technology Consulting Company, specializing in technology solutions for self-storage businesses. Contact us for a free consultation and see how one of our solutions can work for you! You can learn more about our self-storage solutions here.
The Japanese self-storage market CAGR is forecasted at 10%. We also understand that the average customer pays around 13,000JPY per month with the typical contract length around 15 months. From recent research, we know that 44% of consumers cite omnichannel factors as driving their likelihood to start and build a relationship with a business.
Additional research by Zendesk, a market leader in digital transformation solutions, found that 75% of customers will spend more to buy from a company that offers a good customer experience (CX). It is true of all markets: happy customers stay longer, buy more services and overtime spend more money.
Understanding that the COVID-19 virus has changed the way people work, live, and communicate, it makes sense now to ask the following questions: Why do customers choose your self-storage business? And what can we do to grow your customer relations and business in these turbulent times?