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Maximizing Self-Storage Retail Sales: Presentation, Pricing and Service


By Nancy Martin Wagner

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is head to my local farmers market. There’s something about seeing stacks, piles, rows, buckets and baskets of fresh and multi-colored vegetables, fruit, nuts, bread, plants and flowers that motivates me. I want to buy and make something with the tantalizing products.

Self-storage operators can apply a few simple ideas and rules from the time-honored tradition of the farmers market to their retail displays, selling techniques and customer-service skills. Clean, fresh, bright, shiny and new is how a self-storage retail area should always look so customers feel confident in their purchases.

When it comes to displaying your retail store, there are several important factors to consider including layout, quantities, signage and specials. Here are some tips that will attract customers’ attention.  


Displaying large quantities of your best-sellers is a great way to encourage customers to purchase them. “Multiple facings” is a grocer’s term for putting many of an item on display to make it hard to miss, like stacking apple juice at the end of an aisle. In the self-storage world, this could be stacks of boxes, bubble-wrap rolls, tape, packing peanuts, moving blankets or clean newsprint.

Small and medium boxes are always needed and popular, so make sure you have bundles of each size on display. However, some customers will think what you have on display is your total inventory and won’t ask for more. If you don’t have enough display space, tell every customer who walks in, “We have plenty of stock in the back.” This is also a great way to start communication, instead the obvious “May I help you?”

Use big, bright, simple signs. The most effective sign has very few words and is impossible to miss. Make sure everyone who drives by or calls your facility, or visits your website, gets the message every time that you sell boxes and moving supplies. When customers are ready to buy, they’ll remember you. That proven “We Sell Boxes” approach works!


Pricing should be visible and easy to understand so customers don’t have to ask. Be creative. Use a menu board, or print signs and clip them to a basket or to the top item. Price signs and labels should also be consistent throughout the store to ensure shopping is a breeze for customers.

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