Very soon, you won’t even need to know what everyday items are running low – Boxed.com has it covered for you.
The ecommerce discount seller of bulk consumer goods – think an online Costco – has create a new artificial intelligence-based tool called Smart StockUp that can predict when someone is running low on detergent or paper towels, making it easier for them to reorder. Initially tested with 25% of the company’s customers last week, it has now been rolled out to the entire base.
It’s going to get even easier than that: Boxed’s Concierge service can automatically order and fulfill items in bulk by knowing when they’re nearly depleted, without the buyer lifting a finger. For now, Concierge is just a pilot to select B2B customers., but Boxed plans to roll it out to consumers; no timeline is given. The company’s CEO, Chieh Huang, admitted to CNBC that fulfilling B2C orders via Concierge will be a bit trickier.
While Smart StockUp is similar to Amazon’s Dash stick-up buttons which allow consumers to instantly reorder popular brands like Tide, Pampers or Bounty, even Amazon hasn’t totally automated the process a la Concierge.
“Autonomous shopping is the future, and the ecommerce industry is certainly shifting in a new direction as retailers discover new ways to predict and personalize what customers want to order,” said Will Fong, Chief Technology Officer of Boxed.
With SmartStockUp, regular customers at Boxed.com see recommendations such as “need these now” and “need these soon,” using algorithmic calculations based on order history, allowing them to tap and add them to their cart.
Asked if the broader market is ready for autonomous ordering a la Concierge, Fong said Boxed.com believes that day has arrived.
“We understand that some customers may be fine figuring out when they need to buy more snacks and toilet paper, but we do think that many shoppers will embrace Smart StockUp and Concierge as an ultra-convenient way to shop,” he said.
While SmartStockUp orders get standard handling through the back end at Boxed’s fulfillment centers, Concierge orders are treated a bit differently, Fong said. For instance, software notifies warehouse associates to place stickers on certain products to identify them as Concierge items.
Founded in 2013, Boxed has millions of registered customers in the U.S., with $100 million in 2016 revenue. The average order size is approximately $100, and orders average 10 items. B2C makes up about 80% of the company’s revenue.