Fill The Shelves!
Self-Storage Retail Tips
By Glen McBurnie
There’s an adage in retail that offers some straightforward advice: “Fill the shelves and it will sell!” Obviously, storage and moving supplies are a natural fit for self-storage companies, so many facilities have a large selection of supplies to help their customers with their storage and moving needs. And the larger the selection, the more likely your customers will remember that you have it all.
If you are selling self-storage supplies, you need to make sure that the shelves are filled. A store with limited selection and low stock sends the wrong message for all types of retail stores. When walking into a store that has little inventory or selection, the customer’s first thought is “This is not the place to buy.”
Therefore, when stocking your store, think about the types of products your customers will need to pack and store their goods. While boxes are a given, many self-storage facilities have limited space for retail. For this reason, it is essential to pick and provide the top sellers.
To start, have some sample boxes constructed so customers can see the actual box size. If your retail space won’t accommodate sample or display boxes, be creative and use video or photography to demonstrate what each box size can hold. Dish and glass cell kits should be displayed opened and inserted into a 1.5 cube box. Taking the extra time to merchandise your boxes will ensure your customers get the right boxes every time.
Next, what materials will they need to wrap or protect the items that will be going into the boxes? Depending on those items, you can offer an array of packing material, including newsprint, tissue paper, foam, peanuts, and bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is also very effective in protecting items that are not being packed in boxes, such as indoor and outdoor furniture.
To secure those boxes, and larger items wrapped in bubble wrap, they’ll need tape and a tape dispenser. Again, if space is a limiting factor, pick the top sellers and offer different sizes and lengths.
You can also help customers understand where and how to use stretch wrap. Create a sign that identifies three uses for stretch wrap. As an example, it:
- Holds moving blankets in place,
- Holds dresser drawers in place without damaging the finish, and
- Holds loose items together.
Mattress bags of all sizes are a definite must have. No customer wants to store their mattress for any length of time unprotected. To display your range of mattress covers, use a wall in your retail store that is visible by the customer. This can even be located behind your cash register. This concept also works for locks, markers, labels, and box cutters.
In the past, numerous items were difficult for customers to bring home in a car due to their size. However, items like Protect n’ Pack Wardrobe and TV boxes are now available folded and strapped, which makes it easy to take them home in almost any size car.
Protect n’ Pack wardrobe box folded and strapped with the metal hanger bar. It easily fits into almost any sized car.
The products in the photographs are all available from distributors that cover Newfoundland to British Columbia.
And don’t forget about locks! When offering locks, always have two or more to choose from in the same category, such as “good, better, best” options, and two types of locks, such as laminate and disc locks.
Marketing Your Retail
When you have a large selection and lots of inventory, your customers will be great marketers for your company. People love to tell their friends and family about places to shop that exceed their expectations. Lots of signs outside your store would be a great investment as well.
Many self-storage companies first meet their customers when they come into the store to buy supplies. If you become the spot for supplies, many of your retail customers will turn into renters.
G M Packaging has helped self-storage companies stock their stores for over 20 years. We represent Chateau Products, which has the largest selection of locks and self-storage supplies in North America and a proven track record for over 25 years.
Although having a good selection and plenty of inventory are critical to your success, it doesn’t hurt to offer specials to entice your customers. Here are a few suggestions:
- Spend over $25 and get a box or roll of tape for free
- Buy 10 or more boxes and get 10 percent off
- Buy three mattress covers get one free
- A free item with a unit rental or moving truck rental
- A free box cutter with any specialty box purchase
- A free roll of tape with any tape dispenser purchase
Finally, a little act of kindness, such as a free bottle of water, goes a long way. Other than a smile, there are few things that cost so little to make a customer very happy.
The Five Keys To Successful Selling
- Great selection
- Lots of stock
- Big signs outside your store
- A website listing all your products and prices
- Well-trained staff that’s knowledgeable on how to sell your supplies
The end result is more customers, happy customers, and profit to your bottom line!
Glen McBurnie G M Packaging Ltd.