In Startup Smart

When your business relies on giving a quote to a customer before they commit, the challenge of converting leads into actual sales can be stressful and time consuming.

That’s where video games come in for Ben Cohn and Jeremy Rosen, co-founders of mobile storage operator TaxiBox, who have aimed to amp up the sex appeal of the storage and removal industry by offering customers discounts for points scored on their old school “TaxiBlox” online game.

Once prospective clients request a quote they have access to the game, and if they can remember how to master the Tetris-style challenge and hit 30,000 points, they get $50 off a booking.

Co-founder Ben Cohn says the TaxiBox business, which has grown 50% year-on-year since its launch in 2011 and now turns over $10 million annually, has seen a 10% increase in sales since the game came online.

While creating the game caused some unexpected challenges, Cohn says this kind of project comes naturally to the company, because the team likes to have fun with its product.

“We do a variety of things that people don’t necessarily expect,” Cohn says.

“These ideas are just the way we see the world.”

In a sector like storage, brand recognition is key for growth.

“If you mention the word TaxiBox, people know it. Don’t underestimate the power of brand,” he says.

The game was worked on by a development team for several months and hit a hurdle when the name had to be revised at the last minute after it became apparent that the original title of the project didn’t look quite right when written in the 1980s video game font.

“The original title was “8-bit”, but when written in a retro font, it looked like ‘Sh-t’,” Cohn explains.

He couldn’t see the word initially, but after the issue was pointed out “when I showed it to three or four people”, the name was changed to “TaxiBlox”.

Cohn says that a lot of the company’s marketing ideas have sprung organically through the networks the founders have.

Another promotion is TaxiSox, where branded socks are placed in the mobile storage units that are delivered to customer’s homes for packing, and discounts are on offer if clients take photos of themselves wearing them.

“We decided to do that over an avocado smash brekkie,” Cohn says, keen to point out that despite recent controversy around the Australian brunch food, it can encourage creative ideas.

“It came up because a mate of mind is running a socks business,” he says.

The removal and storage sectors may not have always been the most exciting industries, but they have ridden the wave of a strong property market and the apartment construction boom, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.

A 2016 IBISWorld report on the removal industry in Australia pinned 2016 revenue at $2 billion.

It is, however, in a mature stage of its life cycle – a factor that could contribute to fierce competition for clients in the next five years.

For TaxiBox, this means a race to cement themselves as the market leader now.

How will they do it?

“Think outside the box,” Cohn says.

The company certainly has no shortage of those around for inspiration.

This article was originally published on SmartCompany.

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