Price may not be everything, but for many people, it can be the deciding factor in choosing one self-storage facility over another.
Understanding where your facility sits relative to the pricing offered by its competitors is a crucial component in building and running a successful business.
So, what’s the best way to track down exactly what your competitors are offering and at what price they’re selling it?
In today’s technology climate, it’s never been easier to gather information on competitors, and you can do it yourself easily, quickly, and covertly. To help, we’ve compiled six of the best ways to gain competitive pricing in the self-storage industry. Best of all, most only require time and access to the internet.
1. Do Some Web Stalking.
Since most people research options online before deciding on a self-storage facility, standard pricing for most facilities is likely to be found quickly and easily by merely visiting the websites of your competitors.
Most allow for unlimited searches based on different sizes and amenities, so it’s easy to build up a comprehensive database of pricing by configuration. Just make sure to adjust your location information if you’re looking for regional or local pricing as it may vary by market.
2. Be Social.
Local Facebook pages can provide a wealth of information about a competitor’s business, especially when it comes to promotional pricing and short-term offers.
Search and follow these pages to stay up-to-date on the latest activities of your competitors.
Tip: make sure you “follow” from a personal Facebook account to avoid blowing your cover as a competitor.
3. Monitor aggregator sites.
The same online services that help consumers comparison-shop between self-storage options can also help you with your competitive pricing research.
Since these sites aggregate pricing and product information from a large number of self-storage facilities, searching for information here is a great way to get maximum information with minimal effort.
Just remember that the information on aggregator sites may be less current than the information on competitor sites, and competitor sites may offer deeper promotional discounts and special offers not found on aggregator sites.
4. Pick up the phone.
Calling for information may seem a little old school given the near-endless amount of information available online, but simply dialing up your competitors and pretending to be a customer can give you very accurate pricing information as well as insight into customer service, inventory availability, and overall business health.
Remember to speak as a customer would speak. Using industry-specific language or asking for prices on every size and space configuration is likely to tip your hand.
Think about what you’re shopping for ahead of time, and keep it simple to avoid raising suspicion.
5. Secret shop.
Have a little extra time? If so, nothing beats an actual trip to your competitor’s store.
Aside from getting information on pricing, take some time to evaluate the facility itself as well. Is staff readily available to assist you? Are the grounds well maintained? Ask questions and give the sales staff ample time to talk.
You’d be amazed at what a front-line sales rep will often divulge about the overall health of the business when they’re just having a casual chat with a prospective customer. Ask as well about their competitors (you) to hear what they may be telling customers about your business.
6. Use a monitoring service.
While a monitoring service typically comes with a fee, it can be a valuable resource if you don’t have the time or resources to track down information on your own.
Tactics like secret shopping may not be possible if you’re dealing with a multi-location or multi-city business. Monitoring services like STR and Union Realtime do the legwork for you by researching and compiling competitive data into easily accessible reports.
Beyond pricing, many services also offer additional competitive information like revenue and market share. When evaluating services, make sure to find out how often data is updated and what methods are used to obtain it.
No matter what tactic you use to obtain competitive pricing, it’s important to remember that it’s likely to change frequently.
Periodic reviews are necessary to stay current. Set a reminder at least once per quarter to do a refresh of your competitive pricing information and make sure to watch the media and the mailbox for newly-launched promotional offers.
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