Boxed.com is another example of the diversity of this market that has seen double-digit growth in recent years. That is good news if you’re considering a grocery delivery service. It’ll put the consumer in the driver’s seat as the companies tweak their business model. This one takes a different approach in that it considers the perishable and non-perishable markets separately.
What Is Boxed.com, and How Does It Work?
The fresh food segment of Boxed.com has a limited reach in the New York City, Boston and some areas in New Jersey. This approach takes advantage of the greater population density in these areas to cut their overhead and provide a good product. The other part focuses on bulk purchases that emphasize cost-savings for the buyer, not unlike wholesale club.
Its business model in the former resembles Peapod whereas the latter is similar to Jet.com. Freshness matters when it comes to produce and meat. A quick turnaround on orders benefits both the consumer and the retailer. Boxed.com cuts its cost with non-perishable items with delivery times of one to three days from one of four distribution centers across the country.
What Makes Boxed.com Unique
Boxed.com has a strong feel-good message when it speaks of loving its product and customers. This theme is evident all through the website and apps. It’s definitely something that can resonate with buyers looking for an online retailer who cares about their brand and consumers. It helps to give it an edge from the impersonal feel of buying off a website.
Saving is also a recurring approach whether it’s from choosing bulk shopping or ordering for a business. The latter is interesting considering its own start out of one of the founder’s garage. It also emphasizes its convenience over wholesale clubs and supermarkets. You can buy anywhere, anytime.
The business also has other perks that make it worth a look. You can get your choice of free samples with every order. The selection isn’t large, but it certainly adds to the value that a new user may find with a grocery delivery service.
We considered pricing from several perspectives including:
Like some services, Boxed.com doesn’t charge membership fees like some e-commerce sites. That puts it in the dealmaker category off the bat. That’s not the case with several major players. Dues include:
Delivery costs include a variety of options and minimum requirements. They can add up if you don’t meet certain thresholds. Pay attention when you look at the terms and conditions to avoid any nasty surprises. Bear in mind that paying a membership fee isn’t a guarantee that you won’t pay for shipping. Here’s a rundown of the basics.
There are other costs associated with some retailers. For example, Jet.com will charge a flat $4.95 fee for items requiring a cold pack. Peapod tacks on a fuel surcharge. Others may up the cost of deliveries during peak traffic or express shipments. That’s where Boxed.com succeeds. It’s an upfront $49 minimum for free shipping or a $6.99 fee for orders less than that amount.
Let’s face it. You can expect that prices will be a bit more to pay for the convenience of shopping at home. Some grocery delivery service businesses are subsidiaries of larger, big box retailers such as Shipt (Target Corporation) and Jet.com (Walmart). The economies of scale work in their favor. Others form partnerships with local stores to keep costs in check such as Instacart.
Our advice is to estimate your typical costs before committing to a trial or membership. Price, of course, is one of the main deciding factors when choosing a service. Boxed.com delivers within two business days of your order with all shipping out within one.
An interesting feature of Boxed is called Boxed Express and the name serves this service quite well. Boxed Express specializes in delivering perishable products, like produce and frozen goods. Your orders will be personally handpicked and delivered by an experienced and friendly Boxed Shopper. This service is easy to use! Simply fill your cart, schedule a delivery and Boxed will handle the rest.
All you have to do is enter your zip code on Boxed Express (or their app) to find out if your area can avail of this service.
Boxed.com has the advantage of being able to make its own name in the online market without the baggage of being a subsidiary. A retailer’s reputation can affect the success of an offshoot business. They don’t have that issue as a private company. And they’ve gone the extra mile to make a positive contribution to the community at large that may sway your opinion.
One of its more successive ventures is its Rethink Pink campaign. A silent form of sexism has captured the notice of politicians and media outlets. Frankly, comparable women’s products cost more than those for men. Think shampoo, razors and the like. This initiative did away with these pricing differences. Boxed.com also will not charge a luxury tax on feminine hygiene products.
The company has also been instrumental in getting everyday essential products delivered to women’s shelters in the New York City area. But the good intentions don’t stop there. Boxed.com also will pay for the college tuition for the children of the business’ full-time employees and up to $20,000 toward wedding expenses.
How It Compares
The fact that there isn’t a membership fee is huge as far as we are concerned. Many other sites we reviewed required you to set up an account with your credit card information even for a trial run. You won’t have that issue with Boxed.com. The only thing you need to do is to provide your zip code to get started.
We feel that it says a lot about the company and what it thinks of its services to follow this model. It’s a definite plus for this grocery delivery service. We prefer one that doesn’t lock you into a commitment even if it offers a money back guarantee.
While its minimum of $49 is higher than most, it doesn’t seem unreasonable given its selection of bulk items. Stocking up on paper goods will get you in the ballpark easily. And its charge of $6.99 for smaller orders isn’t bad either. We appreciate knowing what we’ll pay without any hidden charges thrown into the mix.
Remember that you are buying in bulk. That means better savings but also more product including produce. That can be a dealbreaker for smaller households that can’t go through 5 ½ pounds of apples in one go. Some fresh foods like meat have a limited selection too.
But they aren’t the only service that offers only larger purchases on these products. We’ve seen it across the board with most other online retailers, especially those without a local partnership. That raises a concern about spoilage. The area where Boxed.com will do best is with stock-up shopping on staples and non-perishables. That makes sense to keep its costs down.
What We Think
Boxed.com ticks off a lot of boxes when it comes to choosing a grocery delivery service. The cost-savings are evident when buying in quantity. You have the convenience of shopping online while cutting down on your food bill. They ship to the 48 contiguous states, so practically anyone can take advantage of it.
If buying fresh foods is your goal, you’re out of luck if you don’t live in one of its services areas. We have to admit that the opportunity to get your order when you want it is very attractive no matter how you slice it. But you’ll likely be disappointed if you are always on the lookout for new things to try. The company has a way to go before we’d consider it full-service.
However, its actions with corporate social responsibility resonated with us. It certainly would offer some motivation to try out the service at least once to support their good intentions. The company scored a lot of points with us for taking measures like the Rethink Pink campaign that affect their bottom line.
Overall, Boxed.com has a lot to offer if you’re looking for the wholesale club experience without the membership fees. The navigation on the website is intuitive with information easy to find. We appreciated the per item cost details as compared to retail. Knowing the product values was important too.
Like Shipt, the company hires personal shoppers to fulfill its orders. One of the common complaints with these types of services is damaged or inferior goods. This option can help them get a handle on quality control and improve the consumer experience. Bruised produce is one of our pet peeves. This model is a step in the right direction.
Coupons and Deals
The best thing about Boxed.com is that you can start shopping right away. The menu bar has links to take you to the new items and the products on sale to start saving. Prices varied from 10 to over 50 percent markdowns. And that’s on top of the discounted retail cost. A random check of items revealed that their figures were accurate.
New customers can get free shipping on their first order as long as it is at least $19.99. The company also offers 1-percent cash rewards on your purchases. That’s certainly an incentive to keep you coming back again. In addition to food, the site also sells items such as kitchen utensils, tools and even fresh flowers.
Boxed.com offers another perk to its customers that may interest you. It has its own online hotel booking site for reservations at substantial discounts. Taken as a whole, the service is a hidden gem that may help you save time and money. We always like to patronize a business that supports the community.