With the new year nearly upon us, it’s time to pour through the sales data from the ISS Store to see which products resonated with you in 2015. Similar to last year, product sales during the last 12 months reflect the heavy development and investment activity that continues to propel the self-storage industry. As you peruse the Top 10 hottest sellers of 2015, the list will give you some insight as to the types of information and topics your colleagues and competitors are consuming.
Each year during the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, we video the vast majority of concurrent education sessions and offer them in DVD and on-demand video format. While purchases of on-demand video continue to increase, DVDs are the clear winner with customers, as DVD products from the most recent expo topped our sales list for the first time.
This year, we offered a record 45 individual education sessions, 10 bundled packages that mirror the concurrent tracks held during the event, two expanded packages for self-storage owners and managers, and the Total Self-Storage Solutions 2015: Education 45-Pack, which includes all of the expo’s standard education content at a significant discount. The Total Self-Storage Solutions package was the top seller among all DVD products, followed by the Owner Essentials 2015: Education 12-Pack, which encompasses the 12 sessions included in the Ownership, Staffing and Risk Management tracks.
Cushman & Wakefield’s (C&W) quarterly MSA reports fell from the top spot this year, but continue to garner robust sales from operators, developers and investors. Their broad-based appeal stems from the insight that can be gained by examining performance data from local markets. Released each quarter, reports are available for each of the top 50 U.S. MSAs and contain information regarding income, expenses, occupancy, supply, rental rates and concessions within a specific MSA.
Our annual fall release of the ISS Top-Operators List, which ranks by square-footage the Top 100 operators in self-storage, continues to resonate with investors, developers, owners and suppliers. Similar to the 2014 package, the 2015 Top-Operators List product includes an Excel spreadsheet featuring data on the Top 100, a PDF report examining movement within the rankings, and a full presentation of the list in an easy-to-read format. We added value to the 2015 product by including for the first time additional data on owned vs. managed self-storage facilities for each company, with breakouts for number of facilities, units and square footage for each.
Another indicator of heavy interest in self-storage development projects is the heavy volume of sales on customized Snapshot Reports. Prepared on demand by C&W, this report type contains information regarding income, occupancy, supply, rental rates and concessions for a specific three-mile trade area within any of the top 50 U.S. MSAs.
The annual Guidebook Series continues to be very popular, offering critical information and tips on self-storage ownership, facility management, marketing, building, investing, and ancillary products and services. We reduced the 2015 series to three thematic editions but expanded the Ownership and Facility-Management Guidebooks to include articles previously featured in editions that focused on add-on profit centers, marketing and technology.
We recently released the 2016 Guidebook Series, which for the first time includes digital or softcover publications available individually or in a discounted package. Built similarly to the 2015 series, the new release includes three thematic publications focused on critical aspects of self-storage ownership, management and building/investment.
6. Your Self-Storage: Planning, Site Selection, Design, Build (by Marc Goodin)
7. Creating Wealth Through Self-Storage (by Mark Helm)
Top-sellers 6 and 7 continue the development theme and are the store’s top two book titles. Marc Goodin’s digital book comes in at No. 6 overall for the second consecutive year. It contains 150 ideas geared to ensure designing and planning success for self-storage projects.
Not far behind, “Creating Wealth” was a new product for the store in 2015. Written by real estate agent and self-storage investor Mark Helm, the book is available in a softcover version and downloadable PDF, and provides tips on how to find desirable self-storage properties, analyze risk and compete against well-funded investors. The book works as a companion to Storage World Analyzer, a cloud-based, financial-analysis software designed by Helm to help self-storage operators and investors evaluate potential real estate acquisitions or development projects. The book includes information on how Helm uses the Analyzer software to enhance his buying analysis.
9. Self-Storage Expense Report 2014 (C&W)
Nos. 8 and 9 on the list are both C&W reports in their second year of production. The Market Conditions Report examines the supply and demand conditions in the top 50 U.S. MSAs to determine whether they are under supplied, at equilibrium or over supplied. It is a terrific tool for anyone considering a self-storage development or expansion project as well as those looking to acquire existing facilities.
Geared for operators as well as those looking to invest or develop self-storage, the Expense Report provides a sample of real costs per square foot for fixed and variable operating expenses and presents the data nationally, by region and subdivision.
Rounding out the Top 10, “Crush Your Competition” is the second book on the list written by civil engineer and self-storage owner Marc Goodin. Available in a softcover version as well as PDF format, the book explains how to optimize simple marketing tactics and ideas with minimal cost for maximum earnings. It contains tools for new startups that have more energy than money and was also written for established businesses looking for fresh ideas.
Released just a month ago, the Self-Storage Maintenance Package nearly cracked the Top 10 in unit sales for the year. Designed for facility managers, the package includes detailed, customizable monthly calendars for 2016, which outline tasks by day, week and season. It also includes a 41-page digital booklet with expert advice on industry-related maintenance. It’s a tool to help facility managers stay on top of the many maintenance tasks that must be performed throughout the year.
Contents are available through a downloadable zip file, which includes 12 individual calendars in PDF and Microsoft Word formats. The customizable Word templates allow managers to alter the calendars to fit their particular maintenance schedule and needs.
We’re constantly looking to develop new educational products for the store that will help operators run their businesses more effectively and profitably. If there’s a type of product you’d like to see added to the ISS Store or a business topic you’d like to see addressed within our content offerings, please let us know in the comment section below.
For all of us at ISS, I wish you a healthy, exciting and prosperous New Year.