Renting units may be your bread and butter, but there’s something else you can do to drive revenue at your self storage facility: sell ancillary self storage products. A good rule of thumb is to devote 25% of your facility’s office space to management comfort, and 75% to merchandise. So, if you don’t have a self storage retail section in the main office, it may be time to consider creating one.
Already limited on office space? You might think about turning one of your rental units into a retail shop for self storage items, especially if you’re rarely at 100% capacity. Either way, the money you make per month in self storage retail sales could be worth more than the actual self storage rental fee of one unit.
10 Retail Self Storage Products to Offer
So, what products do self storage businesses offer? Anything someone renting a unit may need, plus items that could bring in people not renting a unit but needing storage or moving supplies. The top ten self storage items and supplies to offer include:
- Boxes (all sizes including wardrobe boxes)
- Packing materials (paper, bubble wrap, air cushions, foam wrap, foam peanuts)
- Tape (all types, including singles and packs with dispensers)
- Plastic mattress and furniture covers
- Tie-down material
- Utility knives
- Magic markers
- Dollies (for rent)
- Trucks (for rent)
5 Self Storage Product Retail Tips
Now, to sell self storage items like a retailer, you need to think like a retailer! So, here are five tips to make your self storage retail section a successful money-maker!
How should you price your ancillary self storage products? Many self storage owners use “keystone pricing,” a simple markup formula in which you simply double the wholesale cost you paid for a product. It’s not perfect: a commoditized item someone could easily buy anywhere, such as magic markers, may be priced too high using keystone pricing. On the other hand, specialty items like plastic mattress covers that can’t be found at Walgreens may be priced too low using the keystone formula. So, you’ll want to see how your items move. Another easy pricing method? Simply using the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). This is simply the price a manufacturer recommends retailers use when selling a product. You can find other pricing methods in this Shopify blog.
Bundling can be a great way to move ancillary self storage products. We’ve all seen this pricing strategy before – car/home/boat insurance, for example, or cable/internet/phone service – but it also works well at retail. With bundling, you’ll sell more than one product for a single price (e.g., selling various sizes of boxes together with bubble wrap and packing tape). This strategy creates a higher perceived value for a lower cost, which ultimately can lead to driving larger volume purchases.
“Would you like fries with that?” is probably the best example of cross-selling and one most of us are familiar with. While an old tactic, to be sure, it still works today. Using this same idea, have employees ask if customers would like some self storage boxes when they rent a unit. If it’s a customer simply buying boxes, have them ask if they’d like some packing tape with their purchase. According to data from Predictive Intent, 3% of customers will take a cross-sell when asked.
Aesthetics also play a role in retail effectiveness. Remember, the self storage facility office isn’t just a place for your manager to call home; it needs to act like a well-stocked showroom! So, attractively merchandise your self storage retail items to call attention to them, and get customers to purchase items they didn’t even think about beforehand.
First impressions count. As with any product or service, use signage to highlight your retail items (signs can easily be produced online or at a local shop with vinyl lettering on any number of inexpensive materials, such as brushed-aluminum laminate or polystyrene). Hang signs over merchandise to make messages clear and easy to understand. Whatever signage you produce, include your company logo, and always have prices clearly marked so as not to frustrate customers.
You can’t rely on people assuming you sell self storage supplies. So, you’ll need to promote your offerings as part of your self storage marketing strategy. A few ideas include:
- Mentioning your self storage retail program in social media campaigns and email blasts. Be sure to create special deals, for example, a “spring cleaning” sale in which you mark down slow-moving items.
- Provide local Realtors with discount coupons that they can give to clients who are going to be moving. Realtors always like to provide value to their clients, so by giving them a deal on moving supplies they look good and you make money.
- Use outdoor signage (or create a box display out front that can be taken down after hours) to let people know you’re in the retail business. This is especially important for people who may need packing and moving supplies but may think you’re simply a self storage facility.
Start Earning Retail Revenue!
Inside Self-Storage writes, “The sale of retail merchandise to your existing tenants and walk-in customers provides you with daily profit opportunities. This revenue stream not only provides additional earnings, but it also improves your facility’s value by increasing your net operating income (NOI).” So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn more money! Dedicate some of your unused office space to retail sales and follow these five tips to successfully make sales. Looking for more self storage marketing tips? Subscribe to the Storelocal blog today.