Every two years, the Self Storage Association of Australasia (SSAA) conducts a Demand Study – the most comprehensive research completed into what drives people to use self storage in Australia and New Zealand. The study group for this year’s Demand Study was the largest ever, with a 17% increase in the number of users surveyed and more sites surveyed than previous years.
While I’ll get to my main point in a moment, I just wanted to highlight some of these figures from this most recent Demand Study…
- 39.9% of self storage customers had stored at the same facility before (an increase from 20.4% in 2008).
- 67.7% of existing customers earn close to or above the Australian Adult Ordinary Time Earnings level $64,683 per annum.
- 87.2% of self storage customers indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their self storage facility.
As you can see, the Demand Study has some real gems; and we’re just at the tip of the iceberg here. It’s jam packed full of hundreds of useful statistics and snippets of information.
Being the “web guy” here at StorMan, there were particular statistics that were of great interest to me. For example, did you know that more than 43% of potential storers would use either one or more of the following online tools…?
- Pay their ongoing account online (48.8%)
- Book (reserve) a unit and pay a deposit online (43.2%)
- Book (reserve) a unit online (44.8%)
The SSAA also asked potential storer respondents to indicate what functions they would like to see on a self storage facility’s website. Some of the results include…
- List of units available & prices (86.4%)
- Ability to pay their account online (64.4%)
- Ability to see their account status online (62.5%)
- Ability to book (reserve) a unit & pay a deposit online (59%)
Existing storers were also asked what their preferred functions on a website would be. Some of the results include…
- List of units available & prices (74.8%)
- Ability to pay their account online (54.1%)
- Ability to see their account status online (53.2%)
- Ability to book (reserve) a unit & pay a deposit online (42.7%)
Out of 8 selected major self storage operator websites only 3 of them provided actual unit size & pricing data for specific facilities. Sadly, many self storage websites don’t offer any of these features… yet, using StorMan (linked to your website), your customers can perform each & every of the above functions on your website.
One last nugget of data for you; respondents were asked if accurate online price lists of units assist in the decision to rent a self storage space? The results for existing & potential storers is as follows…
- Significant assistance (57.6% for potential customers vs. 59.4% for existing customers)
- Moderate assistance (34.1% for potential customers vs. 33.6% for existing customers)
- No assistance (8.2% for potential customers vs. 7.0% for existing customers)
As you can see, there is only a minor difference in opinion between potential customers & existing customers. While the figures on this page are just a tiny sample of those available in the 2010 SSAA Demand Study, they paint an important picture of today’s self storage customer; a person that is becoming more internet-savvy and is demanding more online tools to help them make an informed choice about their self storage purchase.
What does this mean for me?
So if, as a Storman customer, you’re reading this wondering what you can do to appeal to today’s self storage customer, you need not worry too much. StorMan already has modules that allow customers to view their account status online or to pay a storage invoice.
Furthermore, we also have an online reservations module – allowing potential storers to reserve a unit online with optional payment of the deposit using a secure credit-card booking system & optional display of pricing information… you can even run internet-only specials (like the airlines do)… all of which can be customised and configured to your heart’s content. Lastly, we are also developing modules to allow online merchandise sales.
Best of all, everything I mentioned here is integrated with your copy of StorMan. As such, customers are securely interacting with data in real time to ensure online payments are receipted automatically (preventing human error & saving you time) and online reservations only show units that are currently available to prevent disappointment come move in.
One last thing…
While I’ve only had a chance to read about one-tenth of this year’s Demand Study, it’s kept me glued to the pages for hours. We have copies of all Demand Studies on file here at StorMan HQ and you’d be amazed how many times we refer to them during the year – even the old copies!
Any discerning operator that wants to get a proper look at today’s changing self storage industry
should buy needs to buy this book (scroll down for purchasing information). It will likely revolutionise the way you run your self storage facility & promote your business online.
Storman wishes to thank the SSAA for allowing us to reprint some of their statistical data here.