Today's online shoppers usually have a one-track agenda when clicking around on a business’s website: How much will this cost? Shoppers may take note of features, photos, videos and the services provided, but before they do, they want to see how much they’re going to pay. Therefore, in self-storage sales, where the traditional goal has been get someone to visit the facility and rent a unit, is it advantageous to list prices online? A spirited discussion on this topic has ensued at Self-Storage Talk, the industry's largest online community.
In the thread "Prices on Your Website," member rcopper broached the topic by saying he not only supports posting prices online, he also supports facilities allowing customers to make reservations and apply for rentals online.
Member and moderator MusicCity Gal, a self-storage facility manager, provided this opposing viewpoint: "We have done it both ways. The problem that made us take our pricing down was rental increases. We did not want our current tenants to see their rates going up (even though they were small increments) and then see us offering lower rates on our website.
"Anyone who calls get rates from me. But I like the 'call to action' aspect that has customers call for rates. This gives me the opportunity to speak with the customer, identify their needs, build a rapport, explain our features and benefits and recommend accordingly. Plus, I have found that at least 50 percent of customers have no clue what size they truly need."
Member Sandra shares a similar point: "Many will look for the lowest prices without the knowledge they need to store their belongings. I want the opportunity to talk to them about our features and prices myself. I wonder how many potentials might be lost to price that we are unaware of when or if posting prices on line is being done. I can see the advantages and disadvantages, but I prefer not posting (prices) online."
On the other side of the issue are members AirportSuperStorage and SMSSId. AirportSuperStorage, also a facility manager, writes, "I know for me personally, if rates aren't online, I won't give (the business) the time of day. That translates into our rates being posted online. While there is the potential of two or three upset customers (hasn't happened yet), I think we would lose many more than that for not having prices posted."
SMSSId, a self-storage owner, agrees: "It's honest to let people know up front what the basic cost will be for a unit. When I'm on the Web looking for something and can’t find what I’m looking for, I just click through to another site."
Those who want to share their perspective on online pricing can log on to Self-Storage Talk and post a response to "Prices on Your Website." Only registered members can post, but registration is free, easy and can be done at http://www.selfstoragetalk.com/register.php.
Live and growing since January 2008, Self-Storage Talk is the official forum of Inside Self-Storage, a dynamic services company that provides publications, events and educational resources for the self-storage industry. In addition to about 4,150 registered members, SST has approximately 4,150 discussion threads and 36,670 posts in 23 different topical sub-forums.