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No clicks required: Artificial-intelligence is changing how we shop, Boxed CEO says

  • Boxed brings in more than $100 million in annual revenue.
  • About 80 percent of shoppers with the bulk-items retailer fall between the ages of 25 and 44.
  • The company is learning to determine when customers are going to run out of items, and when they will want more.
  • Building on machine learning, Boxed is beginning to ship orders to homes, without asking first.

A day where shoppers don't even have to think about what they need to purchase — let alone push a button — is quickly approaching, Chieh Huang, Boxed co-founder and CEO, said Tuesday on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"The machine learning algorithm is getting better and better" in being used in e-commerce, he said.

Boxed, started in 2013, is a bulk-items e-retailer currently working on rolling out new features that are primarily being tested in a business-to-business capacity, for now. The website has more than 1,400 SKUs, ranging from Pepsi products to paper towels to General Mills' Cheerios. And everything is sold in bulk, at a discount.

Similar to Amazon's Dash Button, Boxed is working on its own, easy reorder system. The company has been playing with artificial intelligence to take the idea to the next level — where no "push of a button" is required, Huang said.

Amazon's Dash Button, with one click, will send Prime Members their favorite, most-used products — ranging from Pampers diapers and Bounce detergent, to Gatorade and Cheez-Its.

Boxed is learning to determine when customers are going to run out of items, and when they will want more. A pilot test called Boxed Concierge automatically fulfills shoppers' items in bulk, shipping them without even asking for approval on the receiving end.

It seems like a risk, but Huang said Boxed hasn't received any returns or complaints, thus far. It's easier shipping items automatically in a business-to-business relationship, he said, but business-to-consumer becomes tricky and still requires a little bit of interaction.

"You tell us 'snooze,' you don't like the item, you don't like the price ... we learn more about you," he said.

Boxed brings in more than $100 million in annual revenue, and about 80 percent of its shoppers fall between the ages of 25 and 44.

Should Boxed's pilot test prove successful, it threatens to encroach on brick-and-mortar wholesale retailers' businesses. Huang said he envisions a world where people don't need to visit warehouse clubs anymore.