In January 2023, Apple announced the launch of its local listings platform, Apple Business Connect, which is actually a re-launch of the older "Apple Maps Connect" platform launched in October 2014.
Apple Business Connect is a free tool that allows businesses to manage and customize their information across Apple apps, similar to Google Business Profile (GBP), which is primarily used to populate information on Google Search and Maps. Initially, the platform offered a basic listing feature on Apple Maps, but it has since become more feature-rich and useful for businesses.
This new version of the Apple product has significant impact for the self storage industry. Anecdotally, storage facility owner-operators will point to Google Search and Maps as the primary source of online leads and new customers. With a more robust platform, and the proliferation of iPhones which natively use Apple Maps, self storage facilities using Apple Business Connect can expect to see a more balanced diversification of traffic from the tools and sites people use to find local services.
Apple Business Connect offers a variety of features that can help self storage businesses streamline their operations, increase efficiency and boost customer satisfaction, depending on other platforms and integrations the storage facility is using. We'd expect to see integrations coming from storage management software platforms, including:
Online reservations: Customers could book storage units online, without having to visit the facility in person. This allows them to reserve a unit at any time, from anywhere, making the process more convenient for them.
Digital payments: Customers can make payments online, eliminating the need for cash or checks. This not only makes the process more convenient for customers, but it also helps businesses reduce the risk of fraud and errors.
Real-time notifications: Businesses can send real-time notifications to customers, reminding them of upcoming payments, reservations, gate hours and other important information. This helps keep customers informed and ensures they don't miss any important deadlines.
Advanced analytics: Businesses can use advanced analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, such as which units are most popular, when customers are most active and more. This allows businesses to make informed decisions and optimize their operations.
Additionally, Apple has introduced Apple Showcase Posting, where businesses can add ephemeral promotions and announcements to their Apple Maps listings called Showcases (currently only supported for locations in the United States).
The following guide to Apple Business Connect Showcase specifications can be a helpful reference for any business with a local service area using Apple Business Connect, storage facilities included.
|Maximum 38 characters
|Title of the Showcase
|Maximum 58 characters
|Content of the Showcase
|Photo to be displayed alongside the Showcase.
|see table below
|Call-To-Action displayed in conjunction with the Showcase.
|Because Showcases require manual approval by Apple, the start date must be scheduled at least 3 days from the date of creating the post.
|Date and time when the Showcase should be posted.
|Maximum 30 days after start date
|Date and time when the Showcase should expire.
The following Calls-to-Action are available, and may tie in to the metadata associated with the Location (for instance, Call Now would reference the phone number already associated with the business).
|When tapped, allows user to get directions to the location.
|Share This Place
|When tapped, allows user to share an Apple Maps link to the location.
|When tapped, allows user to rate the location.
|When tapped, allows user to message a location.
|Add to Guide
|When tapped, allows user to add a location to a guide.
|When tapped, allows user to call the primary phone number of the location.
|When tapped, leads user to the primary website of the location.
|Save as Contact
|When tapped, allows user to add the location as a new contact.
|Add to Favorites
|When tapped, allows user to add a location to their favorite locations.
|When tapped, allows user to submit a photo of the location to Apple Maps.
Our Local SEO service integrates with Apple Business Connect for self storage owner/operators. When you're ready for location management help with a team that is focused on your success, get in touch!