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01/29/2020

7 Things the Self Storage Industry Can Learn About User Experience From Postmates

In 2011, Postmates changed the food delivery game by creating a service that made it possible for consumers to get whatever, wherever, 24-hours a day. Since then, the app has spread to 2,940 cities and counting. In 2019, Postmates filed for an initial public offering. The reason for the service’s success? No, it’s not all of those 3 a.m. chicken nugget cravings. It’s UX, aka user experience.

Whether it’s ordering pizza, attending a goat yoga class or exploring a museum designed to be Instagrammed, millennial consumers value UX. In fact, 78 percent of millennial consumers reported that they’d rather spend money on an experience than a product.

The self storage industry has begun to capitalize on the millennial desire for UX with sleeker stores and better technology, but automated access control, online rentals and brightly-colored offices are just the beginning. Here are 7 lessons the self storage industry can learn about UX from Postmates.

 

Get Intuitive

Open up the Postmates app on your phone and you’ll see that it already knows where you are and what restaurants are nearby. Whether it’s ordering a burrito or renting a storage unit, the digital user experience must be intuitive. When a customer visits your website, they should be served with an inventory of available storage units near them, and they should be able to understand exactly how to rent one.

 

Communication Matters

After you hit the button that says “Postmate It,” your order is confirmed by email and text message. You’re then able to track the order as it makes its way to you. If there’s an issue with your order, 24/7 customer support is available. UX is all about communicative customer service—not just great customer service. By using a call center, your self storage business can be available when your office is closed. By offering customers the option to opt-in for text messaging, you can better ensure that tenants pay rent. And of course, by responding to phone calls and emails in a prompt and friendly manner, you can show UX-driven consumers that you’re there to help.

 

Keep It Simple

Want curly fries? There’s a picture of curly fries on Postmates. All you have to do is tap it, and it’ll be at your home shortly. Improve your UX by having an online presence that’s simple and filled with visual aids like size guide videos and high-resolution photos of your facility.

 

Be Charitable

Millennials want to support companies that give back to charity. Postmates does this by occasionally donating delivery fees to charities like Meals on Wheels and City Harvest. They also recently partnered with Chance the Rapper to raise money for the youth of Chicago—a charitable move that had the added cache of tying in pop culture. The lesson here? Be charitable and be outspoken about it. Whether you collect toys for less fortunate kids, partner with an innovative nonprofit like Charity Storage or donate a portion of profits to a local charity, find a way to give back, and let your customers know on social media or with a blog post.

 

An Identical Experience on Mobile or Desktop

If you hold the Postmates app up side-by-side with the website on your computer, you’ll find that they’re identical. The seamless user experience allows the consumer to order food on a laptop or on a smartphone without having to stop to figure out either one. Your storage facility’s website should offer the same experience regardless of platform, and it must be optimized for mobile so that it’s readable, fast and easy to navigate.

 

24-Hour Availability

Taco Bell at 1 a.m. may sound like a dubious culinary decision, but Postmates doesn’t judge; it just delivers. A self storage business should deliver the same experience—minus the Fire Sauce—by offering smart automation that makes it possible to rent a storage unit and access it even if the office is closed. 

 

Full Integration 

In 2014, Postmates launched an open API that gave retail vendors, small business owners, and even healthcare providers access to a delivery fleet of over 6,000 drivers.

“The Postmates API allows any developer to integrate fast and scalable local, on-demand delivery into their products, websites and apps," Postmates explained in a blog post.

By offering everyone from florists to denim designers the chance to integrate with this technology, Postmates delivered consumers a better UX and increased profits. We’ve spoken at length about how APIs can benefit self storage operators, but APIs can also benefit customers by providing them with the ability to share content to social media, see online reviews, view online inventory and so much more. Take a lesson from Postmates and embrace the open API.

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