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Small Space, Big Dreams: How Self-Storage Unlocks Extra Space Potential For SMEs

Over the past decade, e-commerce has become an indispensable part of retail. When physical stores temporarily closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, people shifted to online shopping, resulting in a massive acceleration for the e-commerce market.

Malaysia has been no exception to this phenomenon. In fact, the country’s e-commerce industry is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, and it is projected to reach RM78.43 billion by 2027. While this surge of demand from online shoppers signalled the perfect business opportunity for many, quite a few entrepreneurs who jumped into running their e-commerce businesses from home started running into a problem — a distinct lack of space.

Getting some shelf control – self-storage versus warehouse

For many years, warehousing has been the go-to solution for business inventory, as these large buildings are commonly available for rent and are designed for industrial storage. However, self-storage spaces have since unboxed new business storage options.

While warehouses are the primary choice for larger logistic needs, they demand complex management for businesses to operate them efficiently. From labour demands to substantial lease commitments, warehousing can prove to be overwhelming for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups.

In contrast, self-storage has become more popular over the years, giving businesses a more flexible and cost-effective solution to their inventory needs. These facilities often offer feasible lease terms ranging from monthly to annual contracts depending on the business’ varying storage needs.

Furthermore, self-storage facilities are also equipped with 24/7 security to ensure the safety of stored items without additional labour or security costs.

How self-storage can stow away shipping woes and more

Managing a growing e-commerce business is full of challenges. However, self-storage facilities like Extra Space Asia can play a vital role in alleviating said challenges and supporting SMEs to navigate the dynamic online retail landscape. Naturally, self-storage facilities provide a practical solution for e-commerce businesses grappling with inventory management. Smaller companies tend to face the dilemma of maintaining sufficient storage space, especially during peak seasons or fluctuations in demand.

With self-storage facilities, businesses can select from many storage space sizes that suit their current inventory levels – adapting accordingly without needing extensive and costly commitments. In addition, one of the primary advantages of self-storage is its ability to address the cost-effective inventory needs of e-commerce businesses. This is particularly beneficial for small enterprises with budget constraints as self-storage allows them to pay only for the required space, serving as a more economical alternative to traditional warehousing. For growing businesses, self-storage facilities also allow them to expand their space in tandem with increasing operations.

As an online business, traversing the ever-growing digital advancements is imperative. However, digitalising inventory and other operations involves an entire process that may come with additional costs or manpower. In regards to security concerns, it is paramount for e-commerce businesses to protect valuable inventory from unwanted losses. As previously mentioned, self-storage facilities provide robust security measures, including 24/7 surveillance cameras, access controls with unique pin
codes, and secure locks.

This monitored environment makes business owners confident that their products remain secure, whether for short-term needs or as part of a contingency storage strategy. There is a lot for small businesses and budding entrepreneurs to unpack in navigating the ever-changing e-commerce market.

Self-storage facilities like Extra Space Asia have grown to provide practical and secure storage solutions, supporting SMEs in their quests to expand and flourish. Ultimately, it’s clear that self-storage has proven to contribute to the resilience and success of Malaysia’s online retail landscape.

Extra Space Asia Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Kenneth Worsdale

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