Storelocal Team Mar 10, 2022 12:05:20 PM 9 min read

7 Ways to Promote Ecommerce Storage at Your Facility

Could you imagine someone setting up a desk in one of your storage units and treating it like a storefront, with customers coming and going at any time? Of course not – and the Self Storage Association warns against it. But ecommerce businesses are different. Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, ecommerce businesses simply sell and ship their wares online. Their biggest concern is often where to store their goods in between collection or production and shipment. Of course, with commercial office and warehouse space becoming more expensive, it’s not surprising that some of them are looking for alternative means of storage. 

Where are they turning? To self storage facilities like yours! Self storage facilities can be an excellent place for them to store their goods, acting as a “hub” between production of goods to the shipping of products. According to BBC News, running an ecommerce business from a storage unit is a growing trend, affording ecommerce tenants many benefits that we’ll cover here. So, if you have vacancies to fill you may want to advertise ecommerce storage as a great option. 

7 Ways to Promote Self Storage as an Ecommerce Hub

Using a self storage facility as an ecommerce hub isn’t going to cross every entrepreneur's mind, so if you want to bring in this type of business, you’ll want to market to them (check out our 12 self storage marketing ideas for some ways to get the message out there). Along with notifying them that you’re open for ecommerce business, you’ll want to highlight why your facility is the ideal solution. Here are a few selling points that may be applicable to your business.

1. Save Space and Money

Most ecommerce startups and even some established ones can’t afford to rent warehouse or office space. So, they wind up storing their goods in their garage, attic, basement, or wherever they can find space. Of course, that can become quite an inconvenience. Let ecommerce businesses know that they can reclaim that space by storing their products in your self storage facility for a fraction of the cost of office or warehouse space. Perhaps even better? Self storage will typically cost them much less than warehouse or office space, saving on utilities, taxes, and so on (these are covered by your facility, not tenants, although you may want to require them to get insurance). 

2. Greater Flexibility

Ecommerce is a volatile business; sales can spike one minute and drop off the next. For ecommerce business owners, self storage provides the flexibility they need. If you allow tenants to rent month-to-month and provide just a month’s notice before move-out, you’re way ahead of warehouses and office space leases which may require much more notice. Of course, many won’t move out, they may just need to make a size adjustment. For example, if sales are spiking and inventory is depleting, they can downgrade to a smaller unit; if sales are slow and inventory is increasing, they can upgrade to a larger unit.

3. Ability to Receive Packages

Some ecommerce businesses may receive a lot of shipments, whether it’s raw materials or returns. As a service, you may offer to accept deliveries on their behalf, storing them in the main office until they can collect them or gaining the tenant’s permission for delivery drivers to put the items in their storage unit (using an extra key or their access code). Note that by accepting ecommerce storage deliveries, you’re taking on additional liability. If you charge a fee, your duty of care is ordinary; if you do not charge a fee, your liability is limited to gross negligence only. So, carefully consider whether or not the liability outweighs the income from the fee (and whether not accepting shipments will cost you potentially good tenants).

4. Packing Supplies Readily Available

Ecommerce businesses do a lot of shipping; so, they’re going to need a lot of shipping supplies! If your self storage facility offers ancillary self storage products (boxes, tapes, bubble wrap, and so on) this can be a big benefit to ecommerce businesses. They can wrap and pack right on site, using a storage unit as a workshop! We’ve got a whole post on self storage retail items to consider selling from your facility.

5. Enhanced Security

Security is important for any business, and self storage facilities have that in spades! While warehouses and office spaces can always be broken into, with a self storage unit, only the ecommerce business owner will have access. This, along with other safety features such as lighting, camera monitoring, and motion sensors, provide an even greater sense of security for these business owners. Another security feature being installed at many self storage facilities is Bluetooth electronic lock and access control systems. Automation like the Nokē Smart Entry system locks units from the inside, so thieves have virtually no way to break in.

6. Climate-Controlled Storage 

Garages, basements, and attics aren’t ideal places for storing a lot of items; they can become too hot or too cold, or too damp, dry, or humid. All of these conditions can lead to damage of paper goods, electronics, wines, and so on. If you offer climate controlled storage units, this is a great way for ecommerce businesses to store and protect their items from varying temperature conditions (as well as conditions that can attract unwanted pests).

7. Convenient Access

Ecommerce businesses may need to get to items quickly any time a sale goes through. Since your storage facility is essentially their fulfillment center, they’ll need 24/7 access. If you allow this, you’re more likely to attract ecommerce business owners (if you have automation technology, it won’t be a headache for you, and you can even charge a small monthly fee for the convenience of anytime access to boost your bottom line).

Grow Your Business By Bringing in Ecommerce Business!

We hear it a lot: “Can you run a business from a storage unit?” Typically no, but if that business is an ecommerce business, why not? It’s up to you as the facility owner. Remember, ecommerce businesses aren’t setting up permanent shop in their unit – they’re treating it more like a fulfillment center. So, if you’re looking to attract new lines of business, promote your self storage facility as the inventory storage solution for ecommerce! Learn more about our co-op and how our network can help you by downloading the ebook below.

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