As the self-storage industry continues to share similarities with retail-style businesses, it’s only natural that facilities expand their offerings beyond basic unit rentals alone. Although some properties have employed ancillary profit centers for many years, more and more operators are emphasizing business extras. Your facility’s retail display isn’t only a way to generate add-on profit, it’s a solution center for customers who need guidance and products related to their storage needs. Proper inventory, design, and the display will ensure your facility attracts more customers and makes more money.
In addition to being the universal item in a self-storage retail store, locks will also most likely be your bestselling item. Initially, self-storage owners offered locks to tenants as a customer convenience to those who didn’t arrive with one in hand. Over time, however, operators have begun to call the shots, requiring tenants to purchase specific locks that provide better security and reliability.
On average, self-storage retail stores can price their locks somewhere between a 200-300% mark-up, depending on the model. Best of all — locks take up the least amount of room in a retail store.
Moving Boxes & Packing Supplies
Selling moving boxes and packing supplies in your self-storage retail store will prove to be lucrative, as most operators report that they sell just as many moving boxes to non-storage customers as they do tenants. Why? Because self-storage facilities generally sell a wider assortment of box sizes than the traditional big-box or home-improvement stores. For this reason, it’s imperative to include a variety of box sizes in your inventory, so make sure you have bundles of each size on display. Small boxes should be used for dense objects and knickknacks, while large boxes are usually best for lighter items such as bedding, pillows, and clothes. It’s also wise to carry specialty boxes that can be used for fragile items such as glasses, dishes, lamps, and mirrors.
While selling assortments of boxes is excellent, the most lucrative self-storage stores go outside the box to include other items such as:
• Tape (singles and packs with dispensers)
• Permanent markers
• Plastic mattress covers
• Plastic furniture covers
• Bubble wrap
• Foam peanuts
• Moving blankets
• Foam wrap
• Box accessories
• Tie-down materials
And although an assortment of supplies is needed, it’s essential to ensure the area doesn’t become cluttered. To avoid this, keep similar products close to each other and catch customers’ attention with artful designs.
When it comes to selling an array of boxes and moving supplies, consider selling items in bundles. Creating different combinations of boxes and other products at a discounted package price makes it easier for your staff to sell items in a larger quantity, ultimately increasing your sales. For example, try creating bedroom kits, kitchen kits, dining room kits, and so on for each room of a standard home. From there, display your bundles with a sign about what’s included in each kit and the discount applied when purchased.
Keep in mind that these bundles don’t always have to be specific to a room. Your most popular “bundle” might be one with several items that work well together. Generally, bundling things together in a purchase is a great way to provide your customers with items they might not have thought of needing for a move, leading to a sales opportunity you might have missed otherwise.
While your front signage is an essential component of your self-storage facility branding, your interior signage shouldn’t be overlooked. Just as curb appeal matters when renting self-storage units, the interior display of your retail area should serve as a critical information and marketing tool for customers. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by utilizing large, simple signs for your display.
Good signage can also better support your staff in educating customers on your retail offerings and making the most of your sales. The most effective sign has very few words and is impossible to miss, but there are a few other elements to consider:
Font Choice: It’s critical to pay close attention to the font you choose to use. A sans-serif font is a simple style to use where few words are needed, and its legibility has been shown to increase message retention. In addition, whether or not to use lower-case or upper-case letters in your typeface can be advantageous. While lower case lettering is most effective for quick-read assimilation, upper case fonts are generally used in signage to convey a sense of authority. Lastly, ensure that your signage remains professional by keeping it consistent and allowing enough space around the text. Bigger isn’t always better, as studies have proven that signs with a clean perimeter have the best readability.
Materials: Most interior retail signage is made of acrylic, metal, or vinyl. What you use will depend on where a sign is going, the type of message being conveyed, and your overall brand aesthetic. Whatever materials you use should be based on the sign’s location, design, and natural lighting.
Illumination: Illuminating your signage through front-lit or back-lit lettering is a great way to brighten your retail space while simultaneously drawing the eye of your customers. Various sign companies use LED technology to light up interior signage, which allows for more sustainable and energy-saving illumination.
Cold Drinks & Snacks
Another lucrative category of items to carry is cold beverages and snacks. Although often overlooked, snacks and drinks are an impulse purchase that people are likely to grab on the go and come in handy during a move or after dropping off work items like lawn care equipment. Studies show that drinks and snacks are convenience goods for which consumers are willing to invest minimal effort. Therefore, it’s essential to have these products readily available and offer various products to appeal to a broad audience.
Placing foods in prominent places in retail stores increases their visibility, accessibility, and sales. Like a candy display at a supermarket checkout, snack placement in a self-storage retail store can prompt an impulse purchase. Experts suggest keeping food and drink items in a retail store in the checkout area, where every customer making an initial purchase spends time, implying that simply seeing a product can activate a customer’s urge to consume it. Take advantage of this powerful form of psychological marketing and boost your retail sales!
Having an edge in today’s self-storage environment is paramount. One way to set your facility apart from the competition and add a revenue stream is to offer the retail products and services your marketplace demands.