Manned Or Unmanned Site – Automation benefits everyone!

By Stora on

Whether you’re a self storage startup, an established enterprise, running a single unmanned facility, or multiple facilities with onsite staff, Stora has a range of impressive features that work across all facility types.

We’ll be honest. It came to our attention lately that a handful of you thought Stora was for unmanned sites. As evident in our transparent, product development Roadmap, we take every request and piece of feedback seriously, so we’re here to dispel this misconception.

Automation doesn’t mean it’s time to get rid of staff

Love it or loathe it, when deployed correctly, technology makes our lives easier.

Just take a look at the accountancy world, for example. Accounting software that automates a range of processes are now widely used the world over. This is in contrast to the traditional keeping of physical books from a bygone era.

Businesses of every type utilize Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) to automate tracking, follow-up of leads, and customer issues.

Self storage technology is no different. Automation is an opportunity to put your staff to better use!

Stora was designed to answer frustrations met by our CEO on opening his first self storage facility, not least of which was time consuming administration that he knew could be done faster and more efficiently through automation. This freed up his time to concentrate on other more important activities like marketing his business, and looking after outside interests (like developing Stora itself). If you haven’t already read Gavin’s story and the background to Stora, we thoroughly recommend it!

The definition of automation is important here. Technological or ‘IT automation’ is the process of creating software and systems to replace repeatable processes and reduce manual intervention. Stora’s automations remove the need for manual administration and in-person interventions.

How does Stora differ across manned and unmanned sites?

Let’s dive right in with the difference between these two self-storage business models and how Stora benefits both.

Unmanned sites

Stora - unmanned self storage facility

Unmanned sites typically rely on their online store as their primary sales channel. Stora includes an SEO-optimized website and a facility to create promotional rates and discount codes that can be added to social media campaigns and email newsletters.

In the unmanned model, customers are funneled into online transactions with little to no ‘offline’ customer touch points. Stora facilitates this by making it easy for them to book and pay on your website, and submit documentation (made possible through our Stora Identity product) from the comfort of their homes.

They then often utilize a smart entry system like Nokē or BearBox to enable customers to gain access to their unit via mobile app or pin code, never dealing with facility personnel face-to-face. Stora includes the ability to integrate with a range of smart entry systems to make this possible, with even more coming soon.

Learn more about smart entry systems for self storage here.

Manned sites

Stora manned facility

Modern, manned self storage facilities tend to be more hybrid in their approach. Like unmanned sites, manned facilities can integrate a smart entry system too, but they can absolutely use a manned reception and padlocked units instead and still get many benefits from Stora.

They can utilize the Stora online storefront to increase their rentals and automate payments. Have check-in details provided up front, and move-in instructions delivered automatically.

That frees up on-site staff to focus on developing a healthy customer relationship, helping them to move-in successfully and become a happy customer. And when they aren’t helping customers, they’re freed up to increase sales via other channels, perform online marketing tasks, and handle facility maintenance.

Regardless of your approach, Stora has an optimized customer reservations and move-in experience. Case in point, our customer base includes a range of facilities that have staff on site, as well as some who don’t.

Stora is designed to make life easier

When you use Stora you will experience a range of benefits not possible without automation. You’ll be making your business more efficient, giving your team ample opportunity to upskill other more valuable business operations. That could mean finally having the time and resources to open that second, third, or fourth site. All that extra resource availability adds up to a more successful, profitable self storage enterprise. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Further, self storage automation made possible through online bookings and payments is the direction the industry is headed. Stora believes early adopters are going to establish and grow the billion dollar self storage chains of the future by making customers’ lives easier. Empowering customers to do what they need to do themselves results in more rentals for operators with less effort, and more time to focus on growth.

How do the automated aspects of Stora benefit your business?

Online rentals

Let your website visitors reserve storage right there and then. Or don’t. It’s completely up to you whether or not you have pricing on your website. Research shows that you should have pricing on your website but we understand not every self storage operator wants to remove the quotation process, so we’ve made it possible to do both.

Recurring payments

Auto-collect card payments for storage and insurance so you won’t have to spend valuable time chasing fees.

Stora Identity – automated ID checks

By letting your tenants instantly verify their identities on desktop or mobile devices with GDPR-compliant Stora Identity, you save time on in-person checks and reduce the risk of ‘bad actors’ moving in. Stora ID uses government databases to verify the identification, removing the onus of responsibility from your staff.

Learn more about how Stora Identity works here.

Smart Entry integrations for automated move in and move out

Integrate with smart entry systems like Nokē and Bearbox and empower your customers to access their unit and belongings whenever suits them best. In the age where everyone has a smart phone and we’re all concerned with social distancing, this is a customer service that listens to the market and the current environment. Learn more here.

Online check-in

Save time by having your tenants check-in online prior to move in. Automatically collect IDs and contract signatures.

Recommended Reading

Stora Case Study: GB Storage Uses Stora To Reach 50% Occupancy In Month Four

How did we do? Myth dispelled? Ready to leverage Stora and automate time consuming tasks?

Stora helps the next generation of self storage businesses market and sell their services online. Learn more about how it works or schedule a demo today.

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Stora is self storage sales and management software for modern operators who want to run their businesses with as little admin and as much profit as possible. Our platform offers automated web sales, facility management + marketing all in one.

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