From businesses to consumers, everyone is facing a space crunch these days. There is a lot of stuff that might not be needed everyday but is still important enough to keep. The question is where do we keep it? StoreMore.in provides a safe, technology-enabled and flexible warehousing solution for businesses and consumers alike.
Who is the team behind StoreMore and how did the idea come to be?
Nitin Dhawan and Pooja Kothari co-founded StoreMore.
In 2010, they started Star Records, a documents management business, along with Amit Wilson. While Amit and Nitin ran the company, Pooja was an investor.
StoreMore was born as a vertical of that business in 2013 and was launched as a separate company in 2014.
The idea for StoreMore came from the clients of Star Records, who were using our services for storage of business files and documents. They started asking if they could store their household goods and furniture as well.
The space crunch problem that you are solving is an interesting one – what solutions were the target consumers using till now & why do you think those solutions were inefficient?
The idea of storage is not new to India. We have traditionally used a friend’s empty flat, or our parent’s garage, or even our balconies for storage of things that aren’t used regularly. However, those solutions have become rare because of the space crunch in everyone’s lives.
Leaving goods in a vacant flat in a building that’s far from the city isn’t safe.
Parents don’t have garages any longer. And our balconies now need to make way for gardens.
As far as businesses are concerned, the only option available was to rent a basement or room in nearby areas. The StoreMore proposition is far more efficient: you can choose space in a location closest to your area of interest, be assured of the safety and security of your goods, and get them back whenever you need them. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about having to manage any of this yourself. Your time is free to do the stuff that you need to do to build your business.
Who are your typical users? And what has their feedback been?
StoreMore sells space on a monthly rental basis. So customers pay us every month just as they pay house rent. Our customers love the flexibility we have added to an “old-fashioned” business like warehousing—no security deposits, no lock-in periods. Just pay for as long as you use the space that you need.
Our typical users fall in three categories:
SMEs – which need space to store marketing material, business records, etc.
Importers – who need space to store container-load of material till such time as it is sold off
E-commerce Sellers – sellers from other cities can supply to NCR without any headaches of storage and delivery.
Consumers – Life events, such as relocation to another city, death of a parent, birth of a child, marriage, etc.
Consumers – Who lack space at home and think of StoreMore as an extra storeroom or cupboard on rent; and store their less-used items, such as woollens, heaters, etc.
The feedback from our customers has been unequivocally favourable and is evident in the fact that some of them have paid us three years in advance for storage of goods that they are emotionally connected with.
How do you address the concerns about safety, handling & transportation that your users would have?
There are four primary concerns about the safety of goods:
Our facilities come equipped with fire-prevention devices. Some have self-deploying mechanisms; others have smoke detectors, but all have fire extinguishers.
Theft: CCTV cameras on entry/ exit that monitor movement of goods inside and out of storage areas; controlled access into storage area—both ensure that the chances of things being stolen are minimal, if not non-existent.
Moreover, every item/box that is put into storage is provided a unique barcode to ensure that its movement can be tracked at all times.
Pests & Rodents: All our facilities have frequent pest-control services to ensure no damages due to rats, termites or pests.
Accidental Damages: StoreMore packing teams are trained to handle heavy objects and minimise chances of damages due to poor handling of items. Further, in the rare case that something is damaged during transit, we ensure that we repair it to the best possible level.
How has the growth been since launch and what are the future plans?
We have 10 facilities in our network across multiple locations in NCR, which puts nearly 1 lakh sq ft of space under our management. Our customers can choose space in any one of these facilities to store their goods. At any point in time, we have about 200-250 customers whose stuff is in storage with us but the number of people who have ever used us will be higher.
StoreMore wants to build the largest network of facilities and become the leading provider of storage services to households and businesses in India. We want to change the warehousing industry in this country by democratizing it and taking it to SMEs and households.
Thus far, warehousing has been the privilege of big corporates who rent out lakhs of square feet of space. If someone wants to store a few cartons of books, or inventory, or extra clothes, they have to rent a room somewhere close by and use it for storage. Even that is an option available only to businesses. Households just don’t have an option.
With StoreMore’s on-demand model, there is no fixed cost of warehousing for anyone. It does not matter if you want 10 sq ft of space, or 1,000 sq ft. There is no lock-in period, no security deposit, and no minimum term for usage.
What is your one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Build a business because you cannot imagine doing anything else. Don’t do this for money.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION : Our technology platform is the first of its kind in the country. It allows customers to browse facilities at multiple locations, see their pictures, find information about the basic amenities offered, and book space in it. What’s even better, they can log in and get detailed description of the inventory of stored goods to re-call anything they want and get it re-delivered to any address they want—their own, or a friend’s. I believe this depth of information and online access is not being offered by anyone else at least in Asia.
(Think of us as a MakeMyTrip for warehousing. The way you book hotel rooms for your destination of choice and desired length of stay, you can similarly book space in a facility of your choice for as long as you need. That’s how easy we want to make it for customers to extend their space at home or office.)