Will the self-storage market be disrupted by new on-demand storage solutions?
We all know the traditional self-storage warehouses in which you can store stuff that you don’t need on a daily basis or during a certain period of the year. Storing your stuff often is very time consuming and sometimes even expensive, e.g. requiring you to rent a van, trailer wagon or to buy moving boxes and other shipping supplies. According to Rocket Internet startup SpaceWays from London, this traditional self-storage is not fit for urban areas. Their ‘new, easy, convenient, safe and affordable way’ to store all our stuff is an on-demand storage solution that means customers no longer need to haul stuff back and forth to a self-storage facility.
The business model is based on a monthly subscription for which in return SpaceWays picks up, stores and returns boxes or bulky items in just a few clicks via their website. If a customer orders a pick-up, first some boxes will be dropped off to your door so you can pack the things you don’t have room for. Once you’re ready, the company will collect your boxes (or bulky items e.g. bicycles that don’t fit in the boxes) and bring them to their warehouse. When you want your stuff back you can easily view your online inventory page and select which boxes and articles you want to have returned within a promised 24 hours.
The service offered by SpaceWays seems to perfectly fit a generation with a ‘hassled urban life’ in which flexibility, efficiency and convenience are highly valued. However, personally I’m still not completely convinced of the (potential) success of the offered solution. I see the advantages of never having the hassle of having to drive somewhere and access a self-storage unit again. Yet, I wonder if it wouldn’t be too much of a threshold for people to put their stuff into the hands of others that are supposed to take good care of it and safely bring it to (or return it from) a warehouse. Some might argue that this wouldn’t be a problem since people usually don’t store their most valuable items in a storage box. However, since people do want them to be stored (instead of e.g. throwing away) it means the stuff does matter to them.
What do you think? Would you use on-demand storage services without worrying about how your stuff is being taken care of? And do you see a disruptive potential?