Feature, V2I6

The Bright Future of Sheds

Each of us is working to grow the shed market.

As a marketer of shed building products, I visit successful shed builders across the country. I’ve seen the shed market continue to grow and know it’s due, in large part, to the hard work of shed builders, with your creative designs, strong customer service, and, most importantly, quality-built sheds.

So it should come as no surprise that I’m optimistic about the future of sheds. I’d like to share some reasons why.

Rising Popularity of Design

Many consumers are looking for quality sheds that shed builders provide.

Not too many years ago, a lot of consumers settled for sheds that suffered from degradation, fade, rust, and wear over time. These sheds were inexpensive but not long lasting. Many were also plain.

TV, radio, digital, and print media feature an increasing amount of home-improvement content. This, in turn, has better- educated consumers about quality vs. “cheap” home-improvement products and inventive ways quality products can meet their needs.

But beyond the quality products themselves, the strong designs that incorporate these products have turned consumers’ heads and made them say, “Wow!” Sheds are no exception, and it’s your inventiveness that has helped bring this about.

Not only that, but consumers are seeing that sheds can be a complement to their home’s design. That’s a big change from years ago. Continuing to introduce innovative shed designs that can match homeowners’ homes should only make sheds more popular.

Booms in outdoor activities continue.

Self-Storage Growth

With the accelerated accumulation of goods, people need places to store their stuff. ut an ongoing use of a self-storage unit can be expensive. This is a huge marketing opportunity for shed dealers. You can give consumers backyard access to their stored stuff nd enable them to avoid perpetual self-storage rental payments.

Some items that wind up in self-storage units are seasonal, such as Christmas and Hanukkah decorations, plastic toys, garden furniture, and the like. If these items are stored in a room in the home, they may be cluttering the room to the point where it’s only used for storage. It’s lost living space. Because many self-storage units are on high-traffic streets, they have a lot of day-to-day visibility with consumers, so they may be more top of mind than sheds as a storage solution.

But a shed is a one-time investment that in relatively short order can offset the ongoing rental cost of a self-storage unit. We need to bring this to the consumer’s attention repetitively, so you might consider this point in your marketing, if you’ve not already done so.

Larger Homes but Smaller Lots

The square footage of newly built homes has steadily risen for decades, but a more recent trend has revealed that these homes are being built on smaller tracts of land. Consumers need optimum organization for ideal utilization of their outdoor space—and a backyard storage shed may be just the answer.

How often do garages—even those built for three vehicles—instead become habitats for consumer goods that crowd out cars? Family vehicles compete for space in a garage that’s probably already stuffed to the brim.

As I mentioned earlier, consumers need reminding that shed designs can match virtually any home’s architecture. Quality sheds can be built very near a house and beautifully complement the home’s design—unlike some cheap sheds that may be an eyesore and need to be concealed somewhere in the backyard.

So use the power of suggestion with homeowners to express that minimal land can work to a shed’s advantage.

Growing Trends

The booms in outdoor activity, home improvement, and gardening continue. These otherwise divergent activities have something in common: Storage sheds can be a solution for each.

For example, when people access the great outdoors—from national and state parks to our nation’s waterways—they often bike, kayak, camp, play sports, and use all kinds of equipment.

Home improvement typically equates to all types of tools needed for many different types of projects.

Gardening and lawn care—from planters and pots, wheelbarrows, yard tools, and mowers to bags of mulch and much more—can require a wide range of items for successful growing.

These growing consumer trends can be a real boom for shed solutions.

Functionality

Consumers are looking for, and are excited about, creative ways to increase their functional living space. Whether it’s for work, play, or refuge, sheds are also a cost-effective option for these and many other needs.

For example, instead of renting office space, a writer can adapt a shed into a backyard writer’s studio. That saves the costs of leasing and commuting and offers a secluded getaway for creative thinking.

Sheds also offer a gathering space beyond the inner boundaries of the home. “He sheds” and “she sheds” have gotten a lot of publicity lately, being designed and decorated as entertainment spaces. A shed can be an entertainment spot on its own or in conjunction with an outdoor patio or deck.

Help the consumer visualize how he or she can have a shed professionally wired for electricity and equipped with plumbing. Add décor and comfy furniture to the vision, and now you’re selling not just a shed, but also a backyard getaway.

Warranties

Consumers seek quality and longevity in a shed—well-built sheds offer this. You stand behind your craftsmanship and the choices of the materials you use to build sheds.

Telling potential customers about the warranties of the products you use is another selling tool for you. This gives the consumer even more confidence that he or she is making the right decision in buying a shed from you. Your hard-earned reputation depends, of course, on happy customers.

Using products that come with attractive warranties can give you more confidence, too.

Product Performance

Consumers want sheds that contribute to strong curb appeal. Products used in sheds need to perform the way a home’s siding performs—looking good year after year, resisting degradation. Using the appeal of a shed product’s aesthetics and durability is a great selling tool to potential customers.

Internet

Consumers typically start their storage solution searches on the web. The web can give you access to consumers everywhere, broadening your sales distribution reach.

So ask yourself some questions. Does your website shine? Is it easy to navigate? Have you redesigned it in the last five years to keep it fresh? Do you regularly add content to it so that search engines can see that it’s updated often, to enhance your online visibility? How do you drive consumer traffic to your website? Do you feature current photography on your site?

Give thoughtful consideration to these questions. If your website needs work, it’s better to address it sooner rather than later. If you put it off, ou risk losing business to your competitors.

Growth of DIY

Historically, you’ve built sheds for do-it-for-me consumers—those who not only see the value that a shed builder offers, but who also may be driven to buy instead of build. However, a growing number of consumers see themselves as do-it-yourselfers.

Instead of seeing this as a challenge, look at it as a sales opportunity. Why? Many consumers would prefer shed kits instead of building a shed from scratch. You may offer better materials than those offered at a retail store, and a kit can eliminate the configuring necessary to build a quality shed.

If your website features kits that you’ll ship, you’re doing e-commerce virtually anywhere in the world. Now your sales are no longer constricted by geography. What a wonderful way to benefit your bottom line.

While many of you have been in business for decades and some of you less than that, we all share excitement about the growth of sheds.

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