6 Myths About Buying and Selling Packing Boxes at Your Self-Storage Facility

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Sure, major retailers may sell cheaper boxes, but you offer something they can’t: convenience and packing expertise. Buying from you saves renters time. You can advise them on what they'll need and how much to meet their needs. Have doubts about the value of convenience? Consider this: Convenience stores sell many of the same products as Walmart, yet they still do very well. Why? Because convenience has value.

So don’t feel you have to buy cheap boxes to sell cheaply. You set your rental rates on what the market will bear, don’t you? Do the same with boxes. You’ll be surprised how much profit you’ve been leaving on the table.

Selling Myth No. 2: Anyone Can Sell Boxes

Correction: Anyone can ring up box sales. Selling boxes is another matter. “Selling” means engaging the customer and making helpful suggestions. Most people have little idea what they’ll need to pack their belongings. A well-trained staff is one that can suggest a proper mix of box sizes, tape, bubblewrap and more. Proactive selling, you’ll find, will not only increase your average sale, it will improve customer relations.

To really sell boxes, provide training literature to each staff member. If you don’t have training materials of your own, your supplier should be able and happy to supply them for free. After all, if you sell more, they sell more.

Selling Myth No. 3: Mass Displays Sell Boxes

You’ve seen them—stacks upon towering stacks of flat boxes filling the floor at self-storage offices. The rationale is “it helps sell bundles.” But does it really? Where does that leave businesses that lack the square footage to devote to such displays? If a facility has the excess space to serve as display floor and warehouse, fine. But here are some other approaches that might do well, too.

Make a pyramid of assembled large, medium and small box samples. On each box, tape a simple sign explaining the purpose each serves and its price: "Small box for books, dishes and other heavy items: $ X.” You can even add “10 percent off bundles of 20.” This will guide your customers to buy what they need and promote bundle sales without the mass displays.

Demonstrate product usage to educate your customers and staff. Want to sell dish kits? Load a small box with a divider/bubble kit filled with dollar-store glasses or dishes. Cut a diagonal window slot so customers can see inside the packed box. To sell wardrobes, display one with garage-sale clothes hanging inside. Wrap the drawers of a used cabinet shut with shrink wrap and customers will see its usefulness.

Finally, display signs listing the mix of box sizes and tape it might take to pack a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and more. For more demonstration ideas that help your displays do the cross-selling and upselling for you, talk to your retail-products supplier.

Don’t buy into the misconceptions about buying and selling boxes. Keep your inventory low, sell quality boxes and educate your customers. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be sure to increase your facility’s box sales.

Rob Kaminski is vice president of Supply Side USA, a national distributor of packaging, moving and storage supplies for more than 50 years. He has helped self-storage owners improve their retail sales for more than 25 years. He has written numerous articles on the topic and speaks at industry tradeshows. For more information, call 800.305.6110; e-mail sales@supplysideusa.com; visit www.supplysideusa.com .

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