In 2021, Bigbox, an Argentina-based gift platform, sold 500,000 experiences in the Spanish-speaking countries where it operates: Mexico, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and Spain, besides, of course, Argentina.
In December 2019, the 11-years-old company had plans to open 50 brick-and-mortar stores in the region (it had 16 at the time), but the pandemic hit and in-person sales at Bigbox simply dropped to zero. “This reality forced us to focus on the digital and corporate channels, which, luckily, had phenomenal growth, thus compensating for the drop in the retail channel,” Gastón Parisier, founder and CEO of Bigbox, told LABS.
The company works with experiences in five thematic categories: gastronomy, well-being, stays, adventure and mix – welcome and birthday experiences are among the most popular gifts within the platform. “We created more than 500 experiences to be enjoyed at home. Delivery options, language courses, music, programming; we even had spa packs at home. Companies needed to be close to their employees despite isolation and sought these types of options to motivate their workers. Before the pandemic, 80% of Bigbox’s customers were end consumers looking to give experiences to their friends and family; 20% were corporate clients. A year later, corporate sales grew 120% and today the clientele is split 70-30%,” Parisier said.
Bigbox grew its corporate client base for the third consecutive year, reaching over 3,000 companies (800 in Mexico), and little by little it advances in its digital transformation, eyeing the whole customer journey.
“The pandemic has definitely accelerated the need for companies of all sizes to retain their teams. Bigbox understood that need and sought to be a solution for them. At the beginning, we created a category of experiences that could be enjoyed from home. We also adapted this technology and implemented a SaaS solution to measure the happiness of the actions that are carried out. Companies have found several advantages in investing in experiences for their employees and during 2021 we confirm that this is a trend that is here to stay,” said Parisier.
When asked about Bigbox’s revenue, Parisier told LABS that the platform increased its sales by more than 60% last year, without disclosing exactly how much did the company earned in 2021. As of November, however, the company told El Economista and El País that it gained about $20 million in 2021.
It was also in 2021 that Bigbox landed in Europe, launching its operations in Spain with an investment of €1.5 million. “The goal is to close 2022 with a portfolio of 300 major clients in Spain, including large banking, energy or telecommunications companies, and for the Spanish market to account for 15% of the 750,000 experiences that we sell next year,” said Parisier.
In 2021, more than 200 partners, especially hotel networks and restaurants, joined Bigbox experiences. In Mexico, partners such as Carajillo, Estoril, La Leche, Antifine dining, La Chilanguita, Aitana, Hotel Geneve, Clandestino Hotel and Barrita de Mar stand out.
“The goal is to close 2022 with a portfolio of 300 major clients in Spain, including large banking, energy or telecommunications companies, and for the Spanish market to account for 15% of the 750,000 experiences that we want to sell around the world next year,” Parisier said. “We will continue with the regional expansion, although our greatest challenge is the roll-out of software that we are developing for our partners and clients. Our greatest challenge is transforming a company with a commercial DNA into a technological one.”
Bigbox has 160 employees in Latin America and will likely hire more professionals throughout the year to keep up with its expansion plans.