Technology Trends in the Self Storage Industry
At first glance, warehouse-type buildings filled with cubicles that are crowded with people’s possessions don’t bring technology-based systems to mind. As far as some owners are concerned, a successful self-storage facility’s needs are basic: perimeter fencing, good locks on the storage units, and secure electronic access. Add an onsite manager to the mix and you’re good to go.
Not so fast. A large number of today’s self-storage owners and operators may disagree with this take on technology in the self-storage industry. As with most successful industries, self-storage is constantly evolving and has to stay on top of new trends to remain competitive.
To be at the top of their game, a successful self-storage business has to embrace technology. Technology-based equipment and operating systems save time and money, allowing for a wider range of customer relationship and management options.
With this in mind, if owners and operators want to stay ahead of the competition, they should examine some of the current technology trends in the self-storage industry. As a piece of their investment strategy, Pinnacle Storage Properties understands the importance of adding key technology upgrades to their properties.
Top Technology Trends in the Self Storage Industry
Bluetooth electronic lock and access control systems allow access to a self-storage facility, as well as a storage unit, from a smartphone or any mobile device. Additionally, most of them monitor heat or motion inside a storage space and report directly to the tenant. Another unique feature of these systems is digital key sharing. A tenant can use the app on their phone to give temporary unit access to a family member or friend. This digital key can easily be removed at any time. As a further deterrent to illicit activity, an activity log keeps track of exactly when the unit was accessed during key sharing.
“As Millennials are starting to become a larger percentage of those using self-storage, they want to interact with operators using technology, specifically smartphones, and apps or responsive mobile websites,” Terry Bagley, Vice President of Business Development for Janus International Group, told Inside Self Storage. “They expect to be able to accomplish most, if not all, of the rental and ongoing interaction via their smartphones.”
The self storage facility is responsible to make sure that customers have no difficulty monitoring their units from their phones. Customer data should always be up to date, regardless of when they need access. Self storage access control systems enable businesses to dispatch contractors to find and correct technical errors in real-time. This decreases the workload for owners and staff.
The most important feature of a self storage property is security; that’s what your customers are paying for. Biometrics technology, which is used by the Department of Homeland Security, provides secure access that is almost impossible to breach. It uses facial-recognition technology that measures voice patterns, retinas, and fingerprints. A self storage facility, for example, could implement access by fingerprint scanner. The newest fingerprint readers provide a computer-controlled security mechanism for units and customers that can store thousands of profile pages. This operating system can be used in an existing facility. For details, check Dermalog.
Self-serve kiosks put the “self” in self-storage. Tenants can use them at any time, reducing the staff workload and saving your business time and money. The software that kiosks use is integrated with property management systems to store and report all customer actions in databases. This enables managers to efficiently keep track of all tenant interactions. Companies are finding that kiosks are excellent selling tools. Customers love the convenience of being able to take care of routine issues quickly and easily.
A prospect’s research-to-lease process can take anywhere from a month to less than a day. Renting a storage unit online is a convenient, time-saving alternative that most prospective customers not only appreciate but expect. They can select their unit, sign the lease and rent self storage online without calling or visiting your office. All the paperwork can be completed in advance from the convenience of a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Use an online rental platform to capitalize on people’s needs, and it will pay off in an increase to your bottom line.
Self Storage Management Software
Self storage management software is not new. Operators have been using it for years; but, now, cloud-based software provides operators updated data in every area of their business. Customer and financial databases can be accessed safely and reliably, merging data and saving time and money. Storage units can be managed from anywhere by integrating cloud services.
Technology advancements will continue to play a major role in the self-storage industry. From self-serve kiosks to mobile apps, prospective customers are going to demand the convenience that technology brings to the self-storage experience. If you want to keep your customers happy and your company ahead of the curve, add technology-based systems to your business toolkit.