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Drive Your Self-Storage Operation by Exploiting Data and Technology

By Scott Evans Comments
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Pink Self Storage has seen rapid growth in our first year of business with four new facility openings in the United Kingdom and month-over-month, double-digit revenue growth. One of the keys to our early success is a digital strategy that relies heavily on technology and data to drive growth. Our three key areas of focus are marketing, digital technologies and data.

Marketing

Every pound spent on marketing is tracked using digital platforms such as Google Ad Words and Facebook Ads with a key metric being cost per acquisition (CPA). Our ongoing work is fine-tuning this metric to acquire the most customers for the lowest amount of spend. With the price of storage being one of the highest factors in moving the needle to convert a customer, we have built an algorithm that adjusts the price based on occupancy, CPA, type of customer, location and other factors.

The algorithm has many self-learning parts that are working to lower the CPA, while raising the cost per square foot. In addition, we’re addressing other factors that affect the CPA through digital technologies.

Digital Technologies

Our digital strategy stretches across hardware and software and has a direct impact on our CPA. From day one, the goal has been to make the user experience as streamlined as possible. When a customer signs up he receives a text message with a pin code that will allow him to open the unit. In terms of hardware, we use license-plate recognition cameras which open the gates automatically when tenants approach. In addition, a virtual-office concept is also in the works, in which all our sites will be unmanned with a central base controlled with closed-circuit television and intercom. Both the website and hardware will work in conjunction with each other to deliver a highly automated procedure that provides tenants with a great user experience online as well as onsite.

Data Learning

With a data scientist within our ranks, we also continuously use data to drive the business forward. We examine customer data to better understand the audiences we need to target in the top end of our marketing funnel. We also know which types of tenants stay the longest and feed this data directly into our self-learning algorithm. We are constantly A-B testing different theories that all make the core algorithm convert customers at a lower CPA.

The Future

In addition to fortifying our use of technology and data, our ambitious plans in 2017 include deploying a new concept for container self-storage. The idea is to have a circular building with containers stacked 25 floors high. This would all be controlled by a central elevator, meaning all storage would be accessed on the ground floor. Though this will require outside investment, we have been in contact with HENN GmbH, the architectural firm that designed the two Autostadt towers in Wolfsburg, Germany. The 20-story Autostadt towers each hold 400 vehicles, which are stored and transported for delivery.

We’re looking to build in urban areas where building up is the only option but still allow customers to have drive-through access.

By exploiting technology, putting data to use and steering clear of conventional thinking, we believe we’re forging a new path to success.

Scott Evans is managing director of Pink Self Storage, which operates one facility in England and three in Wales. Scott is a past recipient of Wales Young Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2008, he founded Wallpaperink, which sells wall murals worldwide. For more information, call 07976.510.237; e-mail scott@wallpaperink.co.uk.

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