Digital Transformation in the Self-Storage Business

Guest Post by Alicia Marvin

Image: Credit: Unsplash

The self-storage business is a profitable one, so its steady growth over the years comes as no surprise. The industry has about 1.5 billion square feet of self-storage space nationwide, with 20% being new additions from the last decade. Currently, there are more self-storage locations in America than every Best Buy, Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart, McDonald's, and Subway combined. There are a variety of reasons why the self-storage industry is booming in spite of the pandemic. Generally it comes down to students moving campus, businesses closing, and families downsizing — all of which need the space to manage their extra belongings. Lifestyle changes aside, the self-storage industry is also thriving because of how many businesses are keeping up-to-date with digital trends. So, read on to find out how self-storage businesses are shifting to more digital operations: Automated Customer Service Self-service kiosks are becoming more commonplace in groceries and other business establishments. But in the self-storage industry, it brings on a whole new level of convenience to its customers. It allows for faster transactions through automated check-in and check-out stations, greatly reducing waiting times. Automation is also applicable to a self-storage business's digital customer service. Implementing AI chatbots ensures that customers are attended to even after hours. It effectively accounts for the low-value tasks, like answering basic questions and validating storage details. This allows employees to focus on more complex processes that automation can't handle. Smart Access Control Self-service stations are also accompanied by smart access control technology to keep storage facilities safe and secure. For this reason, self-storage businesses employ devices such as smart locks and smart security systems. They ensure that customers and on-site staff are granted access, while any unauthorized individuals are kept out. But of course, smart access control devices require careful configuration and maintenance. Thus, modern self-storage business owners hire competent IT professionals in their workforce, so that their on-site technologies remain up-to-date and efficient. Improved Cybersecurity Measures Given that so many business processes now take place in the digital space, self-storage businesses are also doubling down on their cybersecurity measures. This is especially important as storage cubicles could hold valuable items. Moreover, a self-storage facility that's run by smart technology could potentially be hacked by cybercriminals. Thus, cybersecurity is a necessity. It’s important to note that this digital trend applies not only to self-storage businesses, but to the business industry as a whole. Companies across all sectors collect and store sensitive data that need to be secured against cyber attacks. This has created a demand for professionals with cybersecurity training and why even online business administration degrees are covering the subject in-depth. Aspiring business professionals can now gain cybersecurity knowledge alongside the usual entrepreneurial courses, such as financial accounting, economics, business law, and statistics. This goes to show that cybersecurity has become a necessity to the modern business industry — and that includes the realm of self-storage. Digital Marketing With digitalization occurring both among businesses and consumers, it's clear that digital marketing is the way to go with lead generation. With the right digital marketing campaign, self-storage businesses can boost their brand's image and pull in more customers. However, the process isn't as simple as with traditional marketing campaigns. It is complex and multi-faceted, requiring companies to invest in SEO, social media, and email lists, which is no small feat. That's why plenty of businesses are choosing to hire a dedicated digital marketer to ensure that their campaign is executed efficiently. For self-storage businesses to remain up-to-date, they must upgrade their systems to incorporate digital technologies. This not only expedites business processes and transactions, it also keeps the company competitive.

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By Alicia Marvin