Boxed, an Online Wholesaler, Can Now Predict When You'll Need Toilet Paper

Don't you hate it when you realize that you're down to one last roll of toilet paper or paper towels? If you buy in bulk, you need to find the time to get to Costco or BJs. Or if you're an online wholesale shopper, you might need to reorder on Boxed. Either way, running out of anything is incredibly inconvenient — especially if you have kids.

Now Boxed is trying a new feature with about a quarter of its customers to make life just a tad more convenient. With SmartStockup, Boxed will track a user's purchase history, as well as other, broader, informative data, and predict when a customer might be ready to purchase an item, like napkins, toilet paper or snacks.

According to TechCrunch,

In other words, if you’re a repeat visitor at Boxed, you should start seeing recommendations for “Need These Now” and “Need These Soon” products. If Boxed guessed correctly and you do want to buy them, you can just tap or click to add them to your cart.

“Another way you can think about it is if you had a virtual shopper assistant,” [Co-founder and CTO William Fong] said. He acknowledged that some customers might be perfectly fine on their own figuring out when they need to buy more toilet paper, but he predicted that others will embrace it as “this ultra-convenient way to shop” that “really unlocks time savings.”

Customers will also have the option of completing a simple survey that can help the company make these recommendations, but it's not necessary for the service to operate.

The predictions get smarter over time, as Boxed collects more data about the user, but Fong said you could start to see SmartStockup recommendations as early as the second time you visit Boxed.

He also described the feature as “the first baby step towards autonomous shopping,” where a Boxed concierge product can take care of your shopping for you, no user action required.

Boxed is also very slowly rolling out a program that automatically ships key items to its customers, thereby taking the need for ordering completely out of the equation. But such a service is only being tested on businesses at the moment, so it will be a while before toilet paper magically shows up at your door every couple of weeks. But when that does happen, won't life just be grand?