S’pore Startup Boxaroo ‘Boxes’ Up Care Packs, Corporate Gifts For You

When the circuit breaker hit in April last year, many businesses were affected following forced shutdowns as part of government regulations aimed at curbing the Covid-19 virus.

However, it is a different story for Nikhil Charan and Robert Rajeswaran, who have both embarked on a new business venture amid a pandemic.

Called Boxaroo, it’s basically a one-stop-shop for all business swag and merchandising needs. It offers a wide range of products, clothing, office supplies, tech accessories, glasses and bags, as well as pre-designed boxes like a home work box, a new hire box, and a new employee box. customer appreciation.

“We help companies design, produce, customize and distribute products to their team members, customers and partners,” Nikhil explained.

While Boxaroo in its current form was set up during the Breaker, the duo were already independently consulting global clients on companies’ merchandising strategy before that.

Nikhil’s first entrepreneurial venture was a B2B marketplace, but he also worked and consulted for companies like Samsung, Singtel, and Uber.

During this time Robert started in banking in London. He saw an opportunity in EdTech, which led him to create and run GoCode – a coding platform for children in the UK – which then expanded to Qatar.

In their corporate roles, both have been on the side of buying corporate merchandise.

“Between us, we both had a decent understanding and network within manufacturing, sourcing and distribution in this space. We were already used to coordinating supply and logistics to and from multiple markets, ”said Robert.

An effective marketing tool for businesses

boxaroo
Image Credit: Boxaroo

Another major reason they have decided to venture into corporate merchandise is that they feel the industry is lagging behind.

The supplier model in the merchandising and promotional products industry in many parts of the world has remained unchanged over the past three decades, but the needs of customers and customers have changed dramatically.

Today’s customer values ​​quality, is knowledgeable, is heavily influenced by brand and good design, and wants a lot more than just printing logos on cool stuff.

– Nikhil Charan, co-founder of Boxaroo

He added that loot and merchandise are “great marketing tools” – but they only work if recipients find a use for them. In fact, statistics have proven that it works not only as a marketing tool, but also as a loyalty tool.

Therefore, they launched Boxaroo to address three main challenges consumers face: poor product quality, lack of price transparency, and the absolute annoyance of it all (boredom finding and negotiating with traditional suppliers). over the phone, lack of visibility and slow turnaround times).

In an effort to solve the problems of consumers, they decided to get rid of cheap and low-quality products and get high-quality products from both branded manufacturers (Nike, Adidas, Moleskine, Swell, etc.).

The duo have spent months validating their business idea, talking to businesses and people within those businesses who order corporate gifts and giveaways.

Swag isn’t just for employees. Some companies (especially B2B) spend a large portion of their marketing budget on loot because they have been proven to have a high level of brand recall and brand reputation.

But again, in order to work it has to be useful and the quality has to be top notch.

– Robert Rajeswaran, co-founder of Boxaroo

After validating their business idea with the first customers, they worked on simplifying the ordering process with a self-service platform.

boxaroo
Image Credit: Boxaroo

“Once customers place an order, a dedicated account manager works closely with them to have their orders produced,” he explained.

“Next, we have partnered with global warehousing and logistics partners to help our customers seamlessly store and ship goods around the world at the best possible rates.”

They don’t just stick logos on products

boxaroo
Image Credit: Boxaroo

From the start, the founders knew they wanted to set themselves apart by not taking a “one size fits all” approach, which made a huge difference.

“We weren’t going as a supplier. We approached this space as consultants who could have swag made, but also help brands achieve their goals with it, ”said Robert.

Nikhil said they didn’t want to just stick logos on products. They wanted to work with demanding brands and help them solve the problems they were facing in this space.

However, despite their enthusiasm, he admitted that they had a “slow start” at first.

“Welcoming new clients was not easy, but a great opportunity opened up when we started receiving calls from global organizations who wanted to send care packages to their teams during the lockdown,” Nikhil said. .

“We mobilized all our resources remotely to achieve this. I guess it all comes down to being able to solve real problems for customers. “

Although the response was slow at first, they quickly understood what customers were looking for and quickly adapted to meet their needs.

Having a solid understanding of the target audience within companies has helped us focus on the right people. Once we had the first ten customers on board it was a snowballing effect from there.

– Nikhil Charan, co-founder of Boxaroo

To date, their customer pool includes giants like Netflix, PayPal, Spotify, Coca Cola, Uber, and Amazon.

Automate the “complex space” of corporate merchandising

boxaroo founders
Boxaroo co-founders Nikhil Charan (left) and Robert Rajeswaran (right) / Image credit: Boxaroo

Nikhil observes that most companies have a common goal: to deliver the same result in a simpler way.

Since corporate merchandising is a “complex space” and there are endless options for creating unique products, they wanted to help solve this problem.

“In terms of facilitating this process, we are only at the beginning,” Nikhil said.

Currently, they are already creating tools and services that can potentially automate the whole process to make it simple, efficient and fast.

What is underway is the integration of their services into the HR, marketing and sales platforms. This means that very soon, businesses will be able to automate the entire process of shipping gifts to new team members, new customers, and new prospects.

“They wouldn’t need to lift a finger. Just set a few ground rules, and the right articles with the right brand will be sent to the intended recipients like clockwork. “

Overall, there is still a lot they can do to innovate more in terms of technology, logistics and product offering.

The founders of bootstrap startups have said they’re doing their best to change or reimagine a lot of the processes in this industry, so there’s a fair bit of trial and error.

“We focused on what we are looking for and creating what customers want. Once we are ready to grow the business, we will definitely look at the possibility of raising funds. “

“If we are fundraising, we want to do it for the right reasons at the right time,” Nikhil added.

Featured Image Credit: Boxaroo

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Jothi Venkat

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