Supply Side

Elaine Foxwell Comments
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Cleveland, Ohio-based Supply Side provides packaging, shipping and moving retail products to self-storage facilities, parcel service centers and specialty retailers. In addition to retail products, the 30-year-old company offers tailored merchandising programs to meet the diverse needs of its customer base, and educates retailers and consumers on the distinct benefits of the its products and services.

Although Supply Side has been serving self-storage for 25 years, the industry has been its main focus for the last eight, says Robert Strenk, president. “We developed a unique program for the industry that is simple, effective and makes sense to the operator to help him make a profit from retail sales.” The merchandising programs and mover-center displays take the guesswork out of product selection and display layout, eliminating out-of-stock and overstock situations with displays in various sizes to suit any retail environment.

Plan for Retail Success

Supply Side provides a storage facility with an essential plan and retail products specific to the store’s demographics. The foundation of the program is the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of retail business should come from 20 percent of the products.

Individual retail sales program are designed for each specific facility. “From start to finish, we determine what type of products fit a store’s customer base,” says Amy Koehler, marketing manager. “We also provide support tools to the facility and different training programs to help the operator successfully sell the items.”

The company determines the size of the facility and the customer makeup such as commercial, residential, military, etc. Details of the site are obtained along with images. If the store does not have a digital camera, Supply Side will provide one. The facility’s information forms the basis for a blueprint of how the storage operator should set up his store. The product-locator guide is developed so even an employee unfamiliar with products in the moving and storage industry knows where to place the items on the plan-o-gram for maximum exposure.

Demonstrational photography and suggested product use are part of Supply Side’s packaging. These images on each package help the customer understand what the product is, how it’s used and complimentary items. In addition, the company does private labeling, allowing the storage facility to place its own brand on the merchandise.

Each program comes with retail operation manuals, product highlight sheets, consumer moving-tip brochures and more, making retail supply sales simple and easy for managers. The customized programs provide consistency of operations for single and multi-facility owners. “We put together simple but effective training programs to teach operators the features, advantages and benefits of the products that we supply,” Strenk says.

A facility’s retail inventory is maintained through a state-of-the-industry merchandising manual that includes re-order tags so it is easy to keep the plan-o-gram properly stocked. Supply Side’s new IT systems and newly launched website make reordering a snap for the customer. When a storage operator logs onto the company’s site, he sees only the items that have been determined in his original plan and does not have to wade through lists of items that don’t apply to his demographics.

Supply Side is aligned with the top vendors in the industry. “Quality sometimes gets overlooked in retail programs,” Strenk says. “We would hope an operator can expect, at a minimum, to make 50 percent gross profit from selling our products,” he says.

An Industry Ally

The effectiveness of the Supply Side program is seen in its before-and-after statistics. Stores that were selling retail products have seen retail sales go from the few hundred dollars a month up to $2,500 to $3,000 a month, says Koehler.

The company’s vision is to take a more professional approach to manage the retail part of the storage business. “We are there to help operators make management of the retail side of their business easy and profitable. Self-storage owners are very sophisticated, smart and successful business people,” Koehler adds. “Retail sales are part of that sophistication, not only promoting the best self-storage experience for the tenant, but creating a continual profit stream for the operator.”

Supply Side considers itself an ally of the storage industry. “We want to be proactive in becoming the experts in making a store’s retail program a success,” Strenk says. For more information, call 800.305.6110; visit www.supplysideusa.com.  

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