Will the ‘SmartStockUp’ program drive replenishment sales for Boxed?
Consumers buy staple products in bulk to avoid running out, but it still invariably happens. E-tailer Boxed, whose business model is often said to resemble an e-commerce take on wholesale clubs like Costco, is trying a new method to remind customers to replenish.
Boxed has piloted a new program called SmartStockUp with about a quarter of its user base and is now expanding it to all its B2C customers, according to TechCrunch. SmartStockUp uses information it has about customer habits, such as purchase data, along with broader restocking trends to anticipate when customers will need to replenish a particular item. Boxed then displays a “Need this Now” or “Need this Soon” recommendation when the customer visits the website.
The restock shipments appear to come with added “discovery” items for users to try out, according to TechCrunch. The addition of these items may represent an attempt by Boxed to replace impulse purchases that are lost in the automation of the shopping process.
The sweet spot for replenishment for Boxed could very well be the SmartStockUp notifications, which makes sure that customers always know what they need, while giving them hands-on control over the process to avoid over-ordering.
The e-tailer is also taking further steps into automated replenishment with the test of a service called Boxed Concierge, which automatically ships products to the company’s B2B customers without asking for approval. Chieh Huang, Boxed co-founder and CEO, told CNBC that it has not seen business customers returning products even if they did not place an order. He foresees a day when artificial intelligence and machine learning will make it possible that individual consumers won’t need to press a button to get products restocked either.
- Boxed is trying to predict when you’ll run out of snacks and toilet paper – TechCrunch
- Amazon takes the next step in CPG auto replenishment – RetailWire
- No clicks required: Artificial-intelligence is changing how we shop, Boxed CEO says – CNBC
- Are consumers ready to use automated purchasing tech on a wide scale? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will SmartStockUp result in greater sales for Boxed than when leaving it to customers to decide when to restock? What potential challenges do you see in trying to anticipate customers’ needs? Do you foresee a time when consumers will be shipped products without placing orders?