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 2019. Product sales during the last 12 months may reflect a shift from the heavy development and investment activity during the last couple of years toward operational concerns and strategies as well as property valuation. As you peruse the Top 10 hottest sellers of 2019, the list will give you some insight as to the types of information and topics your colleagues and competitors are consuming.
1. ISS World Expo 2019 DVDs
Since 2014, we have video recorded every concurrent education session offered during the Inside Self-Storage World Expo and offered them in DVD and on-demand video format. While purchases of on-demand video continue to increase, DVDs are still the clear winner with customers, as DVD products from the most recent expo topped our sales list for the fifth consecutive year.
This year, we offered 42 individual education sessions and nine bundled packages that mirror the concurrent tracks held during the event. Two expanded discount packages designed specifically for operators and developers/investors, respectively, are available in addition to the Total Self-Storage Solutions 2019 Education DVD Package, which includes all of the expo’s standard education content at a significant discount. The Total Self-Storage Solutions package continues to be the top seller among all DVD products.
2. ISS 2019 Guidebook Series
The annual Guidebook Series has steadily increased in popularity since we first introduced the article anthologies in 2011. Available in digital and softcover formats, the Guidebooks offer critical information and tips on self-storage ownership, facility management, marketing, building, investing, technology, add-on products and services, and so much more.
We recently released the 2020 Guidebook Series, which consolidates management and ownership topics into a robust Facility-Operation Guidebook in addition to the very popular Building/Investing Guidebook, designed for those who want to establish or expand an operation. Both thematic Guidebooks are the largest we’ve released. As always, the series package offers a nice discount vs. buying both books individually.
3. ISS Top-Operators Lists
Our annual fall release of the ISS Top-Operators Lists, which ranks by square-footage the top 100 facility owners and top 50 third-party management companies, continues to resonate with investors, developers, owners and suppliers. Similar to previous packages, the 2019 Top-Operators Lists offers data on square footage owned and/or managed, number of facilities, number of units, and operating names and locations. Presented in Excel format, the lists also include contact information for key personnel and insight to companies’ expansion plans. It also includes a PDF report examining movement within the rankings and a full presentation of the list in an easy-to-read format. For the third consecutive year, ISS presents separate rankings for owned and managed square feet to reduce the potential for square-footage redundancy that can occur when using only total square-footage figures for all companies in a single ranking.
4. Self-Storage Mastery DVD Series
Released toward the end of 2018, our Self-Storage Mastery DVD 5-Packs have proven quite popular. With a nod to the “greatest hits” concept, the DVDs are thematically packaged to offer some of the best content from recent ISS World Expos and bundled together at a discounted price. Our initial series includes four DVD sets, each offering five education sessions focused on a specific aspect to self-storage management and ownership. Sets are available for Career Development, Revenue Management, Sales and Service, and Staffing. Look for our second mastery series DVD release in early 2020!
5. Crush Your Competition
“Crush Your Competition: 101 Self Storage Marketing Tips for the Fastest Way to Huge Profits,” written by civil engineer and self-storage owner Marc Goodin, has remained our bestselling book title for several years running. 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.
6. ISS World Expo 2019 On-Demand Video
Though expo education DVDs continue to be our No. 1 seller, on-demand video purchases have steadily increased. We’re well aware that some consumers consider discs an antiquated platform. Video-streaming services have exploded in popularity to deliver a cornucopia of television and movie choices on demand. Convenience is king. Every ISS World Expo education session video recorded since 2012 is available individually within the ISS Store platform. The videos are available to view from within an embedded viewer in your “My On-Demand Library” immediately upon purchase. They travel with you and are viewable on any connected device as long as you have an Internet connection.
Though our e-commerce platform has limitations on being able to bundle on-demand video in packages, we’re exploring some options that we hope will increase the convenience of our on-demand video offerings. This is a product area that will continue to receive increased attention going forward.
7. Self-Storage Maintenance Package 2019: Monthly Task Calendars and Guide
Another annual release, the Self-Storage Maintenance Package is designed specifically for facility managers and includes detailed, customizable monthly calendars outlining tasks by day, week and season, with items color-coded based on frequency. Each page features a handy daily checklist. Now available, the 2020 package also includes a 70-page digital book of expert maintenance advice.
Package contents are available through a downloadable zip file, which includes 12 individual calendars in PDF and Microsoft Word formats. The customizable Word templates allow users to accommodate their particular schedule and needs. A no-fuss, PDF calendar is also included for those who wish to print the entire year without having to access individual files.
8. What’s It Worth?
Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or simply maintain your self-storage property, understanding the factors that determine real estate and business value is an important part of your investment. In “What's It Worth? Making, Managing, and Measuring Value: Self-Storage Facility,” authors Michelle Gigowski and Timothy Moffit apply valuation theory to help owners and investors understand how value within the asset class can be made, managed and measured.
The authors have experience as educators, analysts, appraisers and turnaround consultants, which enables them to help readers connect the dots between valuation theory and practice. Topics covered in the book include facility financial statements, external and internal value drivers and destroyers, valuation creation and facility-turnaround tips, 10 reasons to buy self-storage, valuation approaches and models, and more.
9. Creating Wealth Through Self-Storage
“Creating Wealth Through Self-Storage” is another book in our library that continues to sell extremely well. 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 analyses.
10. Self-Storage Key of Knowledge: The Complete Facility-Operation Kit
Whether you’re a self-storage owner or manager, your understanding of the myriad aspects connected to facility operation has a direct correlation to the success and sustainability of the business. To help owners and managers improve facility operation, Bob Copper, owner of consulting firm Self Storage 101, created three USB Keys of Knowledge, which are chock full of video presentations, articles, workbooks and PowerPoint presentations.
The bestselling of the three packages is The Complete Facility-Operation Kit, which contains a comprehensive set of written and recorded training materials on self-storage auditing, collections, customer service, marketing, revenue management, sales and more. This product offers the best value of the three drives and contains almost all the material on the Manager-Training and Ownership kits, in addition to several operational resources. Some content is duplicated between the three offerings. To see a detailed breakout of key contents and choose the best fit for your individual needs, please view this side-by-side comparison chart.
As always, we’re constantly looking to develop new educational products 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. For all of us at ISS, I wish you a healthy, exciting and prosperous New Year.