Boxed Wholesale has come full circle. The company applied the wholesale-club bulk sales strategy to its consumer audience when it started in 2013, and last year it began targeting a more traditional bulk-buying public: businesses.
Boxed started out selling bulk quantities of consumer groceries and household products online to younger buyers whose families shopped at warehouse clubs. The company’s focus now includes B2B e-commerce and about 25% of its sales come from businesses and 50% of all new business is B2B, says Neel Madhvani, head of sales.
Madhvani declined to disclose 2017 sales figures, but Boxed said it generated more than $100 million in revenue in 2016 in an interview with B2BecNews’ sister publication Internet Retailer. And in a May interview, Will Fong, chief technology officer, said B2B sales accounted for 20%, or about $20 million, of Boxed revenue.
The company now targets the companies that employ those millennials–roughly those age 23-41–with an expanded array of products. “We’re just completing adding things businesses benefit from: snack boxes to share, wine and fruits,” Madhvani says. “Our breakroom supplies have expanded.”
The company’s B2B portal, Boxed.com/business, offers individual and curated groups of products for customers in multiple categories, including corporations, education, small business, healthcare, and hotels and hospitality. Its customers range from large (Delta Airlines, Snapchat) to small, such as Industrious, a New York-based company that offers businesses co-working spaces and workspace services, Madhvani says. These are companies “looking to treat their employees better” than companies more focused on profits, he adds.
Many of the new breakroom products are geared to “millennial tastes” such as organic, non-GMO and gluten-free foods. Boxed groups these products with both the employee and the office manager in mind. “The snack box offering is about empathy toward the customer,” Madhvani says. “Office managers have a hundred things to do and no one takes care of them.” Boxed neatly organizes 150 snacks, such as protein bars and dried fruits, in a box, making the office manager look good by providing healthy munchies in individual packages, he adds.
Recent features added to the B2B portal include group ordering. It enables authorized employees to add select products to a pending order from Boxed via an emailed link to the office manager’s shopping cart. It also offers an automatic replenishment service based on a company’s previous ordering frequency.
Boxed analyzes customer shopping habits, and that enables the company to offer products businesses really want, Madhvani says. That in turn helps the company’s average order value run well over $250, he says. Boxed charges no membership fees and offers B2B customers free shipping for orders over $49.
Boxed connects with business buyers through paid search marketing, but also pulls organic traffic in through its blogs, Madhvani says. One such blog in early February described how organizers of former President George W. Bush’s Warrior 100K bicycle event discovered Boxed through an ad on Instagram. The annual event attracts wounded armed forces veterans. Boxed worked with organizers to get food and beverages delivered for the two-day event in October 2017.
Boxed is independently owned but was at the center of multiple reports in January that it was mulling acquisition offers from Amazon.com Inc. and Kroger.
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April Berthene and Katie Evans contributed to this article.