We’ve all heard the three most important words in real estate are “location, location, location.” It is the main reason most businesses are successful or unsuccessful. You can’t emphasize it enough by saying it only once. Perspective business owners and developers use demographics, market statistics and drive-bys, among other things, to hopefully get it right.
The same three words hold wisdom for self-storage owners designing a sales office. Believe it or not, where you situate displays and counter space will inevitably influence your income flow and sales.
Everyone who walks into your office has a need:
- To rent a unit
- To inquire about storage options
- To pay monthly rental fees
Focused on one or more of these immediate needs, they may not even be thinking about other storage-related essentials, such as locks, boxes, truck rentals, etc. Take it from me, an old retailer: These are the best customers to have because their needs are many (and I love addressing customers’ needs!).
The last thing a busy person wants to do is run around town to buy a lock, look for boxes or rent a truck. If they see your front office has all those things, they’ll buy them on the spot. Are you starting to see how location, location, location can affect your sales?
If you visit a grocery store, the eggs and milk can be found in the dairy section toward the back of the store. In drug stores, the prescriptions are filled in the pharmacy, also located in the back. Why? Could it be store owners want the customer to see all they sell when they’re on their way to find their most basic needs? Of course.
Can self-storage owners learn from this lesson when designing their retail areas? You bet.
What and Where
Just as “location, location, location” is repeated three times, a self-storage retail office should have three displays to present customers with all their purchasing options.
The first location is for the largest storage-item display, which should be directly in front or to the side as the customer enters. Their eyes should immediately spot bright, neatly displayed items all priced and dusted, tempting them to come over and check out the great selection. It should be a brilliant display so it’s etched in their memories for future needs as well.
The second location is at the cash register, where they’ll find a small counter rack displaying locks. Remember how magazines, candy and small necessities are always found at the checkout counters of drug and grocery stores? Huge profits are made from those items. Good signage offering a lock special, insurance or truck rental should also be clearly within their field of vision. Signage can save a lot of time explaining and reminding customers of things in a busy office.
The third location is as they leave the office and by the door. Here’s the place for last-minute reminders. This is where I like providing signage that mentions a free month rent is given to any tenant who earns our business another referral. It’s also a good spot for things like “Buy three boxes, get one free” signage or maybe any upcoming specials and promotions.
Don’t forget to add a sign to thank tenants and customers for their business. Think of it as your last chance to get their attention or show them your appreciation. A good tenant is a great person to have and a terrible one to lose.
All customers who enter your office do so because of an immediate need, but make sure they are well aware of the essentials that might not have crossed their minds. Your retail center has the potential to provide a steady income to supplement self-storage rentals. Realize that potential with a focus on one word, times three: location.
Bob Ryan has been an owner/retailer for 25 years and in the self-storage industry for the last seven. He can be reached at 336.420.1779.