As you continue to push yourself to be the self storage professional, you always want to try to stay ahead of the curve. It’s imperative knows what your customers need before they know that they do. As an extra measure, you want to be sure we continue to supply quality products to all of your loyal customers. Do you find yourself asking, almost on a daily basis, what brings quality? Let’s focus on locks for this discussion to better understand a key need in the self storage industry.
There are four main factors of any lock: security, price point, durability, and ease-of-use. From a customer’s standpoint, they will most likely take one (if not all) of these factors into thought before purchasing a lock for their unit. Whether the purpose of their unit is to store the overwhelming amount of junk that has accumulated over the years or family heirlooms that have been passed down through the generations, the customer is purchasing a unit from you for one reason: they aren’t throwing their belongings away. Now the two examples I stated previously could be one of thousands of reasons as to why they’re storing, but regardless, they need to know and feel comfortable that their belongings are safely locked away. Depending on the area and vulnerability, you may want to suggest a certain type of lock to a customer. For example, a unit that is not gated off and not video monitored might call for a disc padlock. The lock will offer protection against bolt cutters and not protrude much from the unit. However, a well-patrolled unit with a surrounding gate may only warrant a normal lock. It will ultimately come down to knowing your area and knowing your clientele.
Money is such a funny concept; pieces of paper that have a guaranteed value backed by our government. However, this is a huge factor when a customer enters your facility to purchase a lock. The customer should know that they are going to get exactly what for which they pay. This is why it is important a variety of locks at different price points. By offering several options, you don’t handcuff your customer into something with which they’re not comfortable. This will help you not lose sales to surrounding facilities or national chain stores. It is in my opinion that by offering several similar items at different price points, it portrays you (and your store) as a professional in the industry. This factor may not be known to customers as they browse your selection of locks, but before they pick up the lock and take it to check-out, they will certainly take a glimpse at the price sticker.If you have turned on a television in the past 15 years, you have definitely seen a commercial for a new or used truck. It doesn’t matter the brand, the message is always similar: “This truck can drive through anything and haul a huge amount of weight.” I don’t think the comparison to locks is exact, but I see the purchasing power of knowing what you buy is going to hold up for an extended period of time. Durability in a lock is directly related to the manufacturing. The components that make up the exterior of the lock and how they are affected by the environment is another implicit factor in purchasing a lock. Your customer is buying a lock, hopefully, for the first time for an individual unit. They have every intention on this being the lone lock they ever need for that unit. Offering locks that are corrosion resistant may not be key selling point, but it will help keep your customers happy and therefore increase the chance of a good referral. For example, if you know your area gets an unusual amount of rainfall as compared to other locations around the country, then you may spring for a lock that is stainless steel rather than brass. This is another factor that will come down to you as a business owner knowing your area and the type of facility that you own.
Lastly, the most general purchasing factor is ease-of-use. This is a very generalized factor because it can apply to several people. The first, obviously is your customer. If your customer is going to struggle to use the lock, they’re going to get frustrated with the lock and therefore with your facility. They will come back into the retail area and ask for assistance applying the lock they just purchased. It is then a crucial moment in the relationship with that customer. If they can feel comfortable opening, closing and using the lock, it will make every visit to your facility a much more relaxed and enjoyable one than otherwise. This is why it is critical to know the products you sell and to be able to pass along this information. This factor also applies to you as an owner. If you don’t understand what you sell, how it works and how to sell it, your retail sales won’t be as high as they could be. It is your responsibility to educate yourself and your staff to best serve your customers and provide a good experience into your facility.
By understanding your customers need and desires in their quest to find the perfect lock for their unit, you can now get ahead of the game. By having exactly what your customer is looking for at a desirable price you can create repeat and exponential customers. Security, price-point, durability and ease-of-use may not all have equal value in the customers mind at the time of purchase, but they are certainly present and accounted for. Stay ahead of the curve and outfit your facility with quality products to maximize your retail revenue.