Rob Woolley, Commercial Director at online technology store, BOX

PCR March issue Q&A with Rob Woolley, Commercial Director at BOX

Rob Woolley, Commercial Director at online technology store, BOX talks to Michelle Winny at PCR about its exponential business growth, spurring its move to bigger trading premises and what we can expect to see as this year’s top tech and gaming trends.

BOX, a UK e-tailer of tech products, with over 1 million customers and a 96% customer retention rate is a fast paced tech savvy company, with plans to continue transforming the buying experience. Here’s what Rob Woolley had to say.

How has business been these past 12 months?
We have seen growth across all categories for Box with sales increasing from £65m to £100m for financial year ending 31st October.

What have been major growth markets for BOX?
Laptops, TV’s, PC & Console Gaming and Components, 3D Print and Cube Custom Gaming PC’s.

Tell us more about the company’s move to its new 119,000 square foot premises?
Our new premises in Tamworth will provide us with seven times the warehousing space compared with our existing building. The significantly larger footprint will facilitate greater automation within the warehouse, as well as equipping us with seven goods in and seven goods out bays, providing us with the ability to ship up to 10,000 customer orders per day. The building will also provide larger open plan offices and meeting rooms, as well as greater parking for employees, visitors and customers. We will also be opening a large customer collection point allowing local customers to view the latest and greatest tech on display and collect the same day! Display IT, Buy IT, Collect IT.

What has driven this growth for the company?
Over the last 3 years we have invested heavily within our product team, now comprising of a team of 16. By working closely with vendors to offer customers a great selection of tech online at competitive prices, we have increased our product offering from 10,000 SKU’s to over 20,000 and have diversified into new areas like appliances, power tools, phone accessories and consumables as well as setting up a new B2B division called Ingress. Further investment has been seen within our marketing team, who’ve developed our marketing strategy, adding new acquisition techniques and improving existing mechanics to increase our traffic and order volumes.

How is Box looking to achieve a more sustainable business practice?
We’re always looking to improve on our green credentials and work in new, more sustainable ways. Our new offices and warehouse come fitted with PV solar panels that provide power to the building as well as to the twenty on-site electric vehicle charging points that are free to use. Having achieved a BREEAM excellent rating for best practice in environmental performance, the new premises has been built with low carbon products, fitting into our ethos at Box and one of the main reasons why we chose to relocate here.

How is the company looking to achieve diversity and inclusion amongst its workforce?
Box strives to place inclusion at the heart of all we do. We aim to increase staff awareness of discrimination through ongoing diversity and inclusion training for all employees. We provide managers with unconscious bias training to ensure all conversations and decisions are conducted within a framework of fairness, respect and dignity, ensuring employees are open to the perspectives of others. We ensure that our policies and practices are objective, justifiable and transparent and free from bias to ensure an inclusive workplace. We also monitor our equal opportunities metrics through the collection and analysis of the company’s data to ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment because of age, disability, ethnicity, or other characteristics.

How are you looking to drive business forward?
We are focusing on the B2B market with our website and sales team, while continuing the increased investment in online marketing activities and branding for which we believe will help to increase market share on already strong existing categories.

What do you predict for the gaming and esports market over the next 12 months?
We expect the esports market to continue its strong growth, especially in emerging markets and audiences through greater diversity being promoted within the industry and within the organisations themselves. As investment continues to pour in and with celebrity and historic sports franchising getting involved with esports, the market looks set to continue to be big business.

What’s currently hot in the world of gaming?
Despite their release in late 2020, the Sony PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X continue to be in high demand. Further to this, high-end RTX 30 series graphics cards remain a hot seller, as gamers look for the latest and greatest ways to enjoy their favourite games. HDMI 2.1 Monitors continue to be in short supply, whereas the gaming TV market is rapidly growing with many brands we’re talking to earmarking this as a growth area for 2022.

 What advances in gaming components are you seeing?
There’s no doubt that 2022 will be a great year for the world of PC gaming, with new advances in technology from some of the world’s most notable brands, such as NVIDIA and AMD. The start of the year alone has presented gamers with increased graphical options at affordable prices and with greater availability compared with the higher end cards seen in 2021. AMD’s RX 6600 cards provide immersive 1080p gaming, while NVIDIA’s budget-friendly GeForce RTX 3050 graphics cards feature impressive ray-tracing and essential DLSS thanks to new support for 1080p as a native resolution. With DDR5 RAM now a reality for PC users, it’s exciting to see new opportunities on the horizon come together for next-gen computer systems to keep up with the ever-increasing rigorous demands of gaming and user experience.

 How does BOX plan to grow its market presence?
While increasing our product offering and maintaining a competitive edge on pricing have been strong factors in our growth and will continue to be so. We’re inherently aware that investment within our brand is vitally important on our journey. Reaching potential customers in new and exciting ways, cultivating a community feel with events like the annual Box Hunt will ensure that we do so on a large scale, providing us with a differentiator and personality against competitors. Embracing traditional media will also play a big part in our growth strategy, due to the awareness and trust it generates.

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