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Box eyes up growth in B2B sector

B2C IT e-tailer Box is targeting £200 million in the next four years, and gaining share within the SMB and public sector spaces is integral to its plan 

Established in 1996, Box was the brainchild of university student Mark Jordan, who spotted an opportunity to sell PCs to students, just 12 months later, he quit his course and started selling computer equipment from a shop in Birmingham. In 2006, the firm made the decision to create an online business and expand its offering, introducing a number of new categories. 

Rob Wooley
Rob Wooley

Today, Box has a staff of 130 people and its offering is comprehensive – from general computing products, printers, gaming, through to home appliances. In the past two years, turnover has more than doubled from £40 million to the £100 million it expects to achieve in the current financial year. Commercial Director Rob Woolley said Box has a four- year plan in place to hit the £200 million mark and is eyeing up the B2B print market place in particular, to support this growth trajectory. 

Print business 

Box already has an established print business, it offers printers from brands including Epson, Brother and Lexmark, holds stock at its 40,000 square foot warehouse in Birmingham and four other locations, and offers a next-day delivery service. “Our staff work in shifts seven days a week, so if an order is placed on a Sunday, we can deliver it on the Monday,” Woolley said. 

The plan now is to ramp up its presence in the B2B channel. “We have a new five-strong team on board tasked with selling IT related products into SMBs and public sector organisations, and we have appointed Khalil Hussain as Printer Consumables Category Manager. His role will be to lead our entry into the EOS market and build the category, which isin itself a massive opportunity,” Woolley explained. “As we build the B2B business, we will look to bring more brands on board, and we are also planning to launch some service-led products, as well as an online managed print service. All of which will support our goal to turnover £20 million in B2B sales in the next four years.” 

Khalil Hussain
Khalil Hussain

Building a new category 

Hussain joins Box from Printerland and has extensive experience in the consumables market. The company’s online EOS offering was limited, but Hussain has plans to expand it and build the category with a view to capturing a bigger chunk of what he describes as a huge market. “This year will see us focus on building the category, we are looking to achieve sales of £1 million next year and then hit £5 million in five years” he said. 

One of the first developments has been a partnership with Armor which sees Box selling its ESR range of remanufactured cartridges. The ESR range of cartridges are remanufactured to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards, offer OEM equivalent quality and have an extended page yield that is triple-tested and guaranteed to meet or exceed the OEM product. 

Hussain said: “The ESR product offers significant cost savings over the OEM equivalent, and has a clear advantage in terms of sustainability too. We will align the ESR consumable with the OEM product on the website, so customers can compare the prices etc. and make their own choice.” 

Box Warehouse2
Box Warehouse2

Box transacts with approximately 2,000 customers per day. “Once we have sold a printer, we will follow up on the after sales opportunity to supply consumables, we will also be targeting customers who have purchased from us in the past, there’s a real opportunity to upsell and capture more business,” he added. 

“Armor is a well-known and well respected compatible brand that provides a quality product that is environmentally- friendly and costs around half the price of the OEM equivalent,” Woolley said. 

“We are not pushing compatibles nor will we onboard lots of cheap brands, which deliver poor quality prints and can damage printers. We want Box to 

be a trusted supplier to SMBs and public sector organisations, we’re easy to do business with and with this new offering, what we are doing is offering customers a choice,” he concluded.