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Podcast: Boxed CEO Chieh Huang ‘invigorated and recharged’ for growth

Now public, bulk-products e-tailer drives e-commerce and technology businesses


Online bulk-products retailer Boxed Inc., which went public in December, is taking a two-pronged approach to growth, covering both retail and technology.

New York-based Boxed provides warehouse club-style shopping — including groceries, pantry items, household staples, HBA, office supplies, and organic and green products — through its website and mobile app. Consumers and businesses can buy club-sized packages with free two-day delivery in the continental U.S. on purchases of over $49, without the membership fees of traditional warehouse clubs. Members of the BoxedUp loyalty program get free shipping for a $19.98 order minimum.

Russell RedmanChieh_Huang-Boxed-FMI_Midwinter_keynote_1.jpg

'We now have two sides of the house: One is the e-commerce business, and one is the software business,' said Boxed CEO Chieh Huang during the SN Off the Shelf podcast.

The company also offers Boxed Express, an on-demand delivery service for perishables, and in late 2021, entered the rapid grocery delivery arena via its first acquisition: New York City e-grocer MaxDelivery.

“Boxed was private for almost nine years. So now, as we go public in a great way, I’m invigorated and recharged because I’m learning something new every single day now,” Boxed CEO Chieh Huang told Supermarket News in a podcast interview at the recent FMI Midwinter Conference in Orlando, Fla. “For the growth prospects of the company, it’s really impactful. As of our last earnings call at the end of last year, we had $105 million in cash. So being able to invest in growth, not only on the e-commerce side but also on the software side, I think is the biggest impact of the IPO."

As part of its plan to go public, Boxed has launched a new income stream by licensing its end-to-end e-commerce platform as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. The technology includes customer-facing front-end and back-end operational software plus homegrown automation robotics for fulfillment. In reporting fiscal 2021 results in mid-March, Boxed said it tallied $20.3 million in software and services revenue — an income source not present in 2020.

“We now have two sides of the house: One is the e-commerce business, and one is the software business,” Huang said. “One thing that we’re really excited about is the B2B growth prospects,” he added. “Most people don’t know, but 25% of our business was B2B pre-COVID. And that just almost went away as COVID hit the United States. So seeing that bounce back is something that we’re really looking forward to.”

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