In honour of International Women’s Day, we asked some of our female team members about the future of self-storage, the role of technology in the industry and what to look out for next. Here are some of their interesting and insightful responses.
Norita - Sales - Working tirelessly to help customers find space in their lives
Can you tell us how Singaporeans’ storage needs have changed in the last few years?
Over the last 2 years, I have seen a huge increase in self-storage. The huge events that happened have driven a real need for creating space in our homes. People are now working from home in multi-generational households and children have been doing home-based learning.
Also, the lack of manpower has caused delays in housing construction and renovations. This is the primary reason for customers taking longer storage terms from the start or extending their storage.
Have there been any interesting trends that you have seen?
The majority of enquiries are from homeowners, but there are also a lot of SME business owners looking for a more cost-effective way to store their inventory and lower their overheads. They have changed their retail models, favouring e-commerce and giving up their shop/office leases while customers are still wary of going out.
What do you think is next for self-storage?
In my opinion, an online marketplace is the next leap for self-storage; this will be the game-changer for the sector. The challenge is to find the best solutions to make the entire process of booking a storage space seamless & effortless, and that’s what we’re working on at Space Next Door.
Haidah - Operations - Meticulously making sure that each facility is up to Space Next Door standards
How is technology playing a part in self-storage?
In self-storage, technology plays an equally big role as the other components such as location and materials. Technology not only makes accessing storage easier, but it is an added security and peace of mind. Storage space players know that the facilities that have the best optimisation of the business lead the game.
Our customers can manage their self-storage space from a mobile app, checking on their billing and payment arrangements or even book additional space. Convenient. But there are always customers that prefer to interact with actual people, so we have customer service and tech teams that they can speak to through instant chat on the app.
It is a competitive advantage to the storage space players when they continue to upgrade the tech for that edge while maintaining the human touch so that it doesn't feel too robotic.
Can you tell me about some of the sophisticated technology that you use for SND storage units?
One of the technologies that I get to use once the units are completed is Matteport. I 3D scan the complete sites and input details onto the scans, which will be on our website for our customers to view if they couldn’t make a site visit. It gives our customers the flexibility to explore our facilities in the comfort of their own homes.
How do you keep up with the evolving technology?
I'm a tech dummy, but I will occasionally chat with my suppliers or contractors on what is the trend for storage space installation after which I will read up online on what is out there.
Wee - Creative - Brings the fun to self-storage
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Creatively, I see inspiration everywhere, in museums, magazines, and art galleries. But graphic design is always evolving, and to incorporate new techniques and ideas I always go to Pinterest, Google, and YouTube. The great thing about the internet is that we can share ideas and learn from each other.
Why is self-storage an interesting industry from a creative point of view?
When people think of self-storage, they think of it as very flat and dry. But combining tech with the storage industry, we think big and bold, and for a designer that's really exciting to be a part of. Plus we’re an international company and our team is made up of locals and expats so I can draw many influences from that. There are so many ways to communicate online and offline, and it’s been a lot of fun creating artwork for so many mediums including social media and bus stops!
Does Space Next Door’s use of technology in the self-storage industry make an impact on your creative direction?
Space Next Door still has an entrepreneurial, start-up vibe, and that shows in how we push the boundaries visually; we think big and bold, and this is expressed in our artwork. We want to show customers that we are here to shake up the self-storage industry and that we think differently.
Alice - UX - Online experience maker
Can you tell us about any changes in the self-storage industry that you’ve noticed?
Self-storage is a relatively new concept, it wasn’t very common in Asia but with the property landscape changing a lot during the few years consumers are in need of utilising spaces more efficiently than ever before.
What is the role of technology in the self-storage industry?
We're using technology to bring solutions to our customers, and that's the future of self-storage. With the internet services more accessible than ever before, and my job is to make customers’ online journey an intuitive, reliable, and enjoyable experience. Currently, the self-storage online offering is not user-friendly, so we are using technology to anticipate consumer behaviour and give them everything they need at their fingertips.
What’s next for the online world of self-storage?
Aggregate websites such as ours are going to be a big player. With all the facilities available, they save time and money for the customer by combining all the information out there and bringing the best deals. We are also looking at offering more end-to-end services as the consumer demand grows for more comprehensive self-storage solutions. Finally, there will be a big drive in technology for example we are extending the features available on our app to make it more sophisticated and convenient for our customers.