UL: Please tell me about your company, Calcumate.
Calcumate is a 3D storage calculator and size guide for self-storage and moving companies. It effectively helps their customers see how much space they will need based on the items they want to put into storage. It works as a third-party plug-in widget that lives on the company’s website. The operator can adjust it to their needs and branding – Very straightforward and user-friendly.
We came up with the idea during my time working as the Marketing Manager for an Australian storage company called Taxibox. An awful lot of our budget was going towards paid clicks and getting people to our website. We wanted to convert more of that traffic. We found that people have a global miscalculation of how much space they need based on their items. No one can quite picture all their items stacked inside a unit, it’s natural. So, we came up with the storage calculator and put it on our website. We immediately saw a massive improvement in online performance. Naturally, we thought, let’s see if anyone outside of East Australia would be interested in this. It just really snowballed from there, and we’ve been growing strongly for the last three years.
UL: Can you share with us your recent wins and implementations?
At first, we used the calculator purely to show the customers coming to the website a recommended unit size: Based on what you want to store, you need a 10 by 10 or 10 by 15 self-storage unit. But what we also found is that the storage operators themselves were interested in seeing the information and seeing the list of items from the customer. In response, we developed a lead form, allowing the customer on the website to input their email address and phone number. Then we send that across to the storage operator, along with the list items and the calculator’s recommendation. In short, the operator has a very hot lead in the purchasing stage, with all the relevant information coming straight to their inbox. I got an email just earlier in the week from a customer of ours that said that they booked in a $2,000 job straight off the back of getting on the computer and calling them within 10 minutes. We see that a calculator on the website is really converting the cash for them without much of the legwork involved.
UL: What industries (vertical markets) can benefit the most from the use of Calcumate?
We built with the Self-Storage market in mind. That’s where the majority of our clients are. But we also have the ability to use the calculator for mobile storage, when people are delivering storage units out to the customer’s address and container storage. Recently we targeted the moving, or the removalist industry, as well. So instead of showing the customer how much space they need, it can show them what size truck will be involved and how big of a job it’s going to be to move their stuff for A to B.
UL: Do you see differences in the use of Calcumate between major regions, Asia, America, and Europe?
Absolutely. For one, because of the language. We have the calculator running in over a dozen languages now. Luckily, because it’s a very visual tool, it does not rely on text too much. But I think the key difference has been with the actual items. Every time a customer signs up, they’ll be able to fine-tune and customize the items in the calculator. It’s quite interesting to see the variation between an Asian storage operator and one in the US in terms of what they see as the key items for their customers. We’ve got Mahjong tables for customers in Hong Kong, and in Europe we’ve got ski gear and winter equipment. While in the US, there was a need for big fridges & gun cabinets. The calculator showed us the wide variety of how self-storage is commonly used in those areas.
UL: What key benefits can self-storage operators expect from implementing Calcumate in the operations?
Speaking from experience with Taxibox – we saw a dramatic performance change for the online side of things: a 24% increase in our online bookings immediately. The calculator addresses a knowledge barrier that customers need to feel comfortable to convert. So straight off the bat that was fantastic to see. We also saw a massive influx in the number of leads who were also getting through. One of the additional benefits we hadn’t quite factored in when we put the calculator onto the website was that the sales team members were also using this calculator. Because the tool is easy to use, they could immediately tell the customer what they need and close the sale quicker – saving time. I’d say those are the key benefits.
In terms of implementation, the way it works is: As a storage operator, you would first sign up to the Calcumate platform. You can then build your calculator to your own specifications: unit sizing, company branding and color scheme, item selection, and other customization options. When you are happy with how it looks, you copy and paste a short code snippet onto your website, and that’s it. The calculator is up and running, simple as that.
UL: Are you primarily targeting smaller, medium-sized, or enterprise-level customers?
This is a very hot topic for us at the moment because we’re just about to switch the pricing system. Previously we have been allowing customers to sign up for pricing tiers based on the number of facilities they have and the number of storage locations they have. However, we recently launched a free tier, a basic version of the calculator, which can be added to the storage operator’s website in a couple of minutes – A no frills, no fees, out-of-the box solution for them. Since we launched that one, we have moved towards a feature set process. We’ve made Calcumate available for everyone, whether they’re small, medium, or enterprise-level businesses. Our goal is to have different product suites or feature lists that suit their demands based on where they are in terms of business growth and stage.
UL: What are your plans for the future in terms of development and applications?
At the moment, we’re predominately looking at continually improving the platform and making it as customizable as possible. We are starting to see growth, and there are many requests for new features or more items. We started Calcumate with around 30 items, and we have over 120 now. Being flexible and dynamic is key for us. That’s predominately for the self-storage industry. I also foresee interest from like-minded industries: Shipping, logistics, courier services – anyone looking to optimize the way they are stacking and maintaining inventory. Expanding into those is a long-term goal for us. At the moment, we are seeing a lot of interest from the moving industry, so optimizing for them is a priority. It is a whole new scope of work to ensure that the calculator works and provides the results they need.
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