Launched in 2013, Boxed sells everyday essentials online — in bulk form only and at a discount. The e-retailer carries some 1,500 SKUs across such categories as beauty, grocery, household, and more. With warehouses in Union (New Jersey), Dallas, Las Vegas, and Atlanta, Boxed fulfills and ships orders to customers’ doorsteps within two days or less. And unlike the warehouse club retailers it has been compared to, Boxed does not require a membership fee. And most of its orders qualify for free shipping.
The model is paying off: The company has surpassed $100 million in sales. To keep revenues growing — and keep on top of customers’ needs — Boxed is now launching new machine learning-based tools that automatically replenish goods before customers run out.
Boxed’s co-founder and CTO William Fong shared his thoughts about the initiative — and expectations — with Chain Store Age.
CSA: How can machine learning benefit the retail industry?
WF: We think machine learning is a way to solve problems. It can help retailers understand customer behavior and shopping patterns at a deeper level, and then help them make more accurate recommendations based on clicking patterns. We took this to the next level, and used machine learning to drive a new level of personalization for our shoppers.
CSA: How did you make this decision?
WF: We were trying to think of solutions that would help us in the long-term. We tried to imagine how our customers might want to engage with Boxed five or 10 years from now. The more we thought about it, we said, “what if the best solution supported a way for shoppers not to engage with…