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Improving Your Retail Savvy: Self-Storage Manager Experiences Lead to Suggestions on Product Sales

Rob Kaminski Comments

A recent thread on Self-Storage Talk, the self-storage industry’s largest online community, sparked an interesting discussion among facility managers about retail-product sales. While their experiences vary—which box sizes are top sellers, for example—everyone seems to have some items on their shelves collecting dust. This article draws on forum members’ experiences, opinions and attitudes to offer up suggestions on improving your facility’s retail store. 

Suggestion Becomes Reality

Participants on the forum couldn’t seem to agree on the most popular box size. Small, medium, even extra-large sizes had their advocates. While some managers claim to know which size sells best, the reality is they may be influencing that outcome.

Why would small boxes sell better in one location than in another? Are community preferences really that different? One manager said that after a price reduction, extra-large boxes “flew out the door.” Could a lower price pump up sales of bigger boxes? It could happen. Or maybe sales are being unconsciously steered.

Price-reduction signage can guide customers to buy certain box sizes. Even a manager expressing a personal preference can do it. In fact, you might be the reason folks buy the sizes that sell best! But if you can impact sales without thinking, why not do it consciously? Try asking customers what they’re packing. Teach them the “smaller boxes for heavy stuff, bigger boxes for lighter” rule, and you’ll sell more boxes in more sizes. Your customers will be happier and so will you.

Displaying Only Best-Sellers Results in No-Sellers

Some items sell slowly. Others don’t sell at all. Managers know this and often want to clear out the “dogs.” That makes sense. But it was encouraging that no forum participants wrote about just keeping the best sellers. That was a mindset encountered years ago. The idea was to buy and display only the best-selling retail items. In practice, average sales would nosedive.

Why? Try to imagine if your supermarket only stocked the top-selling cereal, canned soup, soda, and so on. Would all those empty shelves generate more sales or less? American shoppers like choices. That’s why every soup, cereal and soap company adds line extensions to its product display even though two or three items account for most of their sales volume.

Self-storage operators are also asking their suppliers to design their displays for free. Why not? After all, the more they sell, the more the supplier sells.

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