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How Delivery Services are Changing the Game for Self-Storage Companies
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the evolution of all types of industries. As a storage company, what can we learn from this e-commerce experience in order to add value to the services we offer our consumers?

Changing consumer needs

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the evolution of all types of industries. The proliferation of services such as Uber, AirBnb and Amazon means customers are demanding more options, delivered directly to their door and available at a moment’s notice. Companies from a variety of industries are using this to their advantage and the storage industry in no exception. 

Technology is making consumers’ lives easier by giving them access to products and services at the touch of a button from wherever they are. They have beautiful and intuitive interfaces from which to browse the stuff they buy and much more of this experience is now being handled on mobile.

As a storage company, what can we learn from this e-commerce experience in order to add value to the services we offer our consumers? After all, consumers don’t need to leave their home or office to get the things that they buy anymore, so why should that be any different for the stuff they already own?

A door-to-door service isn’t enough

On-demand services fall perfectly into what today's consumer desires and increasingly requires from service providers. The key to getting this all right is delivery. Not only delivery of the physical product but also delivery of the whole customer experience. Providing a door-to-door service isn’t enough to set a company apart from others out there. Companies are expected to fulfil orders at a moment’s notice while providing exceptional customer service at a fair price. Yet customers still expect more.

The importance of an intuitive customer interface

The rapid growth of the valet (aka on-demand or full-service) storage model has brought with it the ability for customers to get a window into what they store. They can now peruse the things they own and store in the same way that they browse an online e-commerce site for things to buy. This is an invaluable benefit to the customer. And the easier it becomes for them to manage the process and itemise the things they own, the more likely they are to store things away, whether as an on-demand customer or a traditional self-storage customer.

Use technology to optimise your operations

But the changes in technology are creating equally and sometimes even more significant benefits for the companies serving this new kind of consumer. Technology is enabling us to optimise operations, pool resources, outsource more effectively and engage customers in innovative and often less labour-intensive ways. With the emergence of service offerings from the likes of Postmates in the US and GOGOVAN or Lalamove in Asia, outsourcing of logistics operations has become easy and affordable while allowing companies to stay asset light.

Staying ahead of the curve

Companies that can manage to bring all these operational and customer-facing aspects together will be able to stay ahead of the curve. This doesn't need to be limited to providing only valet storage services but rather bringing the offering into the overall self-storage business to add further value to existing traditional storage customers too. It can extend also to businesses looking to store inventory or documents or a wine connoisseur looking to store his collection of priceless whites and reds.  Companies that can get this right, while still focusing heavily on customer service and operational excellence, will be in a position to attract new types of customers while further leveraging existing real-estate.