Tech in Action: Boxed adds tech to buying in bulk

Using AR and a chatbot to make wholesale ordering more convenient.


Online bulk retailer Boxed is bringing a trio of new features to its customers to make ordering from the site more practical and convenient.

The first is the addition of augmented reality to its iOS app. Users will be able to see exactly how large the box of a product will be and judge whether they have the space to store it before buying. The feature makes use of Apple’s ARKit, which more accurately determines relative size and space.

The company told Business Insider that the feature can currently be used with 30 products, and may expand to others based on customer demand.

The second new feature is “Bulky,” the site’s Facebook Messenger bot. In addition to answering customer questions about an order status or helping them reorder items, it will use machine learning to learn when a user may be running low on a product and suggest they re-order. The bot is integrated with Smart StockUp, an AI-powered order suggestion feature Boxed launched earlier this year.

The new tech-focused features were revealed alongside a new group-ordering feature that allows multiple to users to collaboratively build a shopping cart and use Venmo to split the cost. All three are planned for launch early next year.

“We have to remind ourselves a lot that the innovation has to be practical and useful for our customers while serving the mission of the company, which is helping our customer stay stocked up,” Will Fong, Boxed’s CTO and co-founder, told Business Insider. “There’s so many ways that shopping can be improved.”