What were the key ways you differentiated yourself from other online retailers in the market?
Our approach was two-fold: first, building a great team, and second, building a unique, mobile-first experience for the traditional wholesale model. The best thing about Boxed is the people. You’re not going to find a better team. I say that as it relates to this question because from good people comes a great product. Be it our two-day shipping, our seamless app, or our beloved private label, the people behind all of it are truly wonderful, and my confidence in every single member of my staff, from our newly hired president to every warehouse worker, makes me believe we’ve set ourselves apart. On the business model, we opened up a new market of shoppers to the wholesale experience who previously could not get to a Costco or a Sam’s Club. We migrated the traditional warehouse club to a mobile commerce platform, and by doing so, we now provide huge savings in time and money as well as offering a convenient platform for folks who don’t have the time or means to shop at traditional membership clubs.
How have the changing behaviours of consumers helped the rise of Boxed?
The biggest thing we’ve seen has been the rise of e-commerce combined with smartphones. That growth gave us an opportunity to do grocery differently by taking the entire bulk shopping model online with a mobile app and a website. We were one of the first companies to modernise wholesale shopping and make it more convenient, and that has helped us not only expand, but also establish loyalty with folks who have been with us from the very beginning. Across the industry, consumers are showing deeper interest in private label brands, where these brands are driving loyalty for shoppers. Once tossed aside as ‘generic’, private labels have grown to produce 22% of sales (up 11% from last year) for big merchandise stores like Walmart and Target. Our private label, Prince & Spring, has also excelled tremendously, and is now a beloved cornerstone of the Boxed brand and accounts for 15% of our sales. Not only that, but 50% of our repeat customers buy at least one Prince & Spring product each time they shop through Boxed. Our goal moving forward is to keep identifying needs and trends that our customers are experiencing and implement solutions to keep them coming back.
Last year Boxed has partnered with Lidl to pilot a home delivery service - will partnering with 'bricks & mortar' retailers be a key business strategy for Boxed?
Our partnership with Lidl has been a great way for us to leverage our technical expertise to support brick & mortar grocery innovation. These days, retailers are always looking to reach younger audiences online, and Boxed has the technology to support that growth. Lidl’s grocery delivery pilot programme was a new challenge for our team, and we’re definitely open to supporting future partnerships with more brick-&-mortar retailers.