BoxLunch builds a shopping mall presence with built-in charity
Plenty of stores run holiday efforts promoting charitable causes, but one brick-and-mortar retailer has charitable giving built into its business model and brand identity year-round. For every $10 a customer spends at BoxLunch, the retailer donates a portion of the money to providing meals at a local food bank affiliated with the nationwide charity, Feeding America.
A subsidiary of Hot Topic, BoxLunch sells pop culture-related gifts, apparel and collectibles, much of which is branded property. The company’s website indicates that it has donated more than 11 million meals since its launch in 2015. It promotes its charitable mission with the tagline “Get Some, Give Back” and an accompanying hashtag for social media.
Also unusual about BoxLunch is its brick-and-mortar expansion, which the chain appears to have pursued almost exclusively in shopping malls. Reports indicate that BoxLunch is approaching 100 locations.
The expanding concept comes at a time when shopping malls have fallen on such tough times that sources like CNNMoney have described them as “rotting away,” predicting that a quarter of U.S. malls will close within five years. Some, however, have expressed hope that new models of retail could bring foot traffic back.
BoxLunch’s charitable business model may or may not be a significant enough draw to set it apart from other successful retailers selling pop culture-related items, like ThinkGeek, but social responsibility is pertinent to its Millennial customer base.
And the fact that BoxLunch donates money to Feeding America-affiliated food banks in the communities where each store resides adds an element of localization for the national brand.
Among retailers, Warby Parker, which donates a pair of prescription glasses to someone in need for each pair purchased, is probably best known for incorporating charity into its business model.
- The Company Store donates a comforter to a homeless child each time one is purchased;
- Better World Books donates a book to someone in need for every book purchased;
- Firehouse Subs donates a portion of sales to fund lifesaving equipment for first responders.
- BoxLunch opens at Castleton Square Mall, helps Hoosiers with hunger relief – Fox 59
- New UP Mall store ‘BoxLunch’ helps feed the hungry – WNDU
- Did you hit up Hot Topic as a teen? Then you might be keen on BoxLunch, coming soon to Battlefield Mall. – News Leader
- Boxlunch Gives – BoxLunch
- BoxLunch Company Info – BoxLunch
- America’s malls are rotting away – CNNMoney
- A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should more brick-and-mortar retailers consider building charity into their business model and brand identity as BoxLunch has? What are the dos and don’ts of incorporating cause marketing into a retail business model?