Consumers expect many of their daily transactions to be automated or incorporate technology of some kind.
From the increasing use of online banking to the ubiquity of ATMs and movie rental kiosks, technology has become commonplace throughout society.
The self storage industry is not immune.
Self storage kiosks and marketing websites are increasingly common in the self storage industry.
If you don’t already use one or both, now is the time to decide which is better for your facility.
Although self storage kiosks are a good way to automate your facility, your facility website can offer many of the same benefits but without the large upfront cost. (For example, StoragePug websites can provide features such as Online Rentals, Online Bill Pay, Online Lease Signing and Autopay).
So how do you decide whether a self storage kiosk, a marketing website or both is the best fit for your self storage facility?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Websites are accessible from anywhere in the world.
Kiosks can only be accessed at your property.
In addition, many younger customers choose self storage facilities based solely on whether they can manage their account online.
As long as your kiosk is located outside your facility gates, both websites and kiosks offer customers access to their features 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
However, if your kiosk is located within your facility gates, its accessibility is limited to your gate hours.
Kiosks also require your customers to be at your property, whereas a functional marketing website can be accessed from anywhere.
Syncs with Property Management Software
Both websites and kiosks can sync with your property management software.
Rent Units and Sign Leases
Both websites and kiosks allow customers to rent units and sign leases.
The biggest draw back of a kiosk is that the customer is required to be on the property to rent a unit.
One of our clients, American Secure Storage, has rented 30 units from it’s website in just 8 months!
An effective website will turn your web traffic into paying tenants!
Convert Leads into Leases
While both kiosks and websites provide customers with the opportunity to sign leases, websites are available anywhere whereas customers must be at your property to use a kiosk.
This means you’ll convert more leads into signed leases with a website than with a kiosk.
Both kiosks and websites allow customers to pay their bills.
However, a customer must be at your property to access a kiosk.
One advantage that kiosks have over websites is that they can accept cash payments.
A website with a payment portal gives your customers the ability to configure AutoPay, schedule a move-out, view past payments, print out there lease and more.
All from the convenience of their smartphone!
Kiosks can be configured to dispense locks whereas websites cannot.
Experts recommend that renters should only be given access to a unit for the first time when a manager is present.
Reduce Staffing Costs
Both kiosks and websites can help reduce your staffing needs and free up your manager’s time by giving customers the ability to pay bills, rent units, and sign leases.
Both websites and kiosks can be configured to offer live chat options for customers.
Assist with Marketing
Although kiosks can be marketed as a feature of your facility, websites help market your business by increasing your ranking on Google searches and coordinating with your social media campaigns.
Everyone uses Google!
A good website can get you noticed. Ranking on the top of what your potential audience is searching for will bring real life people to your website!
If you offer online rentals then you can convert them into a tenant, without requiring they come on to your property.
Set-Up and Maintenance Expenses
Although both have start-up costs, websites are ultimately much cheaper to set-up and maintain in the long run.
Depending on its features, kiosks can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000.
In addition, you’ll need to factor in installation costs, training, maintenance, and service costs. Placement of kiosks can also be expensive.
If you want to place your kiosk outside your office or gates, you might want to consider a separate building for it—both to protect your investment and your customers.
After all, no one wants to use a kiosk in the rain.
In an ideal world, the best solution would be to have both a functional marketing website and a kiosk for your facility.
However, storage owners are faced with real-world concerns and budgets.
A modern website is extremely important for any business looking to succeed in the twenty-first-century marketplace and self-storage facilities are no different.
If you can only afford to have one, a functional website can do almost everything a kiosk can (and a few things they can’t) but at a much more affordable cost.
To find out about the features of a StoragePug website, click here.
About the Author:
Jennifer Pfliegler is a freelance writer for StoragePug. She has been writing and editing for over 15 years.