The Internet has transformed traditionally brick and mortar businesses into online sales giants. The new world of “bricks and clicks” has put customers in charge of when, how, and from whom they buy. And they are taking full advantage of it.
Between 2000 and 2013, retail revenue generated online has grown by 16.9%. Whereas total retail grew only 4.2%. As of September 2013, nearly nine in 10 Americans had made an online purchase (source: Pew Research).
But transactions aren’t just moving online. They are also moving to mobile phones. eMarketer expects that in 2015, mobile commerce will grow 32.3% to account for $76.4 billion in sales of products and services.
So how can Self Storage owners and operators take advantage of this trend and create happy customers in the process? Implement online leasing.
Here are three ways online leasing will delight your tenants:
1. They Can View Real-Time Inventory
When a prospective tenant makes a reservation online, they don’t always find that the unit they selected is available when they arrive on site. This is because not all units that are reserved are taken out of inventory in real-time. Online leasing, on the other hand, takes a unit out of inventory the moment it is leased. This provides an instant view of inventory on your website, allowing the prospective tenant to choose the unit they want, and move into that unit.
New tenants will expect that the unit they reserve will be the unit they move into. If you fail to meet these expectations by showing the wrong inventory, you may lose the lease and even risk a negative online review. Online leasing can consistently show the right inventory on your website and help you meet your new tenants’ expectations when they move-in.
2. They Can Quickly Secure Website-Only Pricing
The Internet has changed the way people shop for certain items. In particular, the ability to view pricing from competitors within a matter of minutes has made many consumers more likely to purchase products and services online. According to a study by Shopper Approved, 25% of consumers stated that they purchased online due to better pricing.
You may already be offering discounted website-only pricing for tenants who reserve a unit online. While this is important to increasing the percentage of website visitors that reserve a unit online, a percentage of those reservations will fail to become leases. By offering online leasing and an exclusive website-only price, you can expect to increase the percentage of website visitors that become leases.
3. They Can Lease and Move In at their Convenience
It’s no surprise that consumers buy online. It’s easy, fast, and gratification is instant. In a study of over 25,000 consumers, 24.7% reported that convenience motivated them to purchase online and 7.2% said that time savings was a factor (source: Shopper Approved).
Self Storage businesses, owners, and operators can use online leasing to create convenient customer experiences in two critical processes –
- Signing the lease at anytime, from anywhere: new tenants can sign their lease from a any smartphone, tablet, or desktop that has an internet connection
- Moving in at anytime: the online leasing process can instantly provide a gate code after the electronic signature is completed
Self Storage owners and operators have an immediate opportunity to move their leasing process online, before their competitors do. In doing so they can delight customers with transparent and real-time inventory and pricing, as well as the convenience of an online transaction. Because this simple user experience does the job of delighting new tenants, it will also begin to develop advocates and positive online reviews.