What was once a store to go into and purchase office supplies is no longer the case. At least not in Austin, Texas. Office Depot has rolled out BizBox at their Austin location. BizBox is an all-inclusive platform that provides accounting, email marketing and CRM, payroll and HR, search marketing, asset management, social marketing, legal services, and so much more for new entrepreneurs.
Black Enterprise caught up with Chief Retail Officer Kevin Moffitt, and Chief Customer Officer Jerri DeVard at their preview opening to find out why the company decided to take this direction.
“BizBox is a concept that our CEO Gerry Smith initially came up with when he joined the company, which was can we create an all-in-one business services platform that would help an entrepreneur to take their dreams, their vision for what they want to build and make it happen in a really easy, seamless way,” said Chief Retail Officer Kevin Moffitt.
“We wanted to bring that to life where, not only in the online space but connected into an omnichannel experience, you have a physical location to interact with an adviser or expert in your area and even connect the community in a single space,” Moffitt continued. “We’re really excited not only for the one-to-one connection that we can have with a small business owner but to help them create a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Small business owners need so much more than the products that we offer.”
“What’s interesting is that we have customers who are shopping with us in-store and online,” stated Chief Customer Officer Jerri DeVard. “We say we want feet and fingers. A lot of our customers do shop online and will come into a store but it’s about expanding what people know Office Depot for. People know that they can come to us for particular products, but we want to be known for delivering services.”
“We have about 30 million customers that we track online now and what happens is before we were not having a conversation with them about all of their needs. It was very much a transactional conversation,” said DeVard. “What we’re now doing is having conversations about why do they need those products, what are they looking for, and there are so many people that have a business that don’t think about it. We’re really trying to get them to think about their businesses more seriously.”
Andrea Gold, the founder of the Animal Department, recently signed up for the service, saying she knew what the challenges were going into starting a new company because she’d done it before. “I had a small business of my own a couple years ago that I did everything for. I have shed tears over Google Ad words.” Gold hopes that this service will make the back office of the business much easier this time around.
BizBox is currently available online and in the Austin area. Office Depot hopes to scale to more stores moving forward.