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Staples is a global retailer and a leading provider of business solutions with its digital operation ranking No. 5 in the Internet Retailer 500. Staples boasts multiple websites across North America, including the consumer- and SMB-facing and its business-to-business property


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Staples isn’t the sort of retailer to sit still while the industry around it shifts wildly.

With Amazon growing and other retailers threatening industry dominance, Staples decided to act fast and forcefully. The company increased the number of stock-keeping units (SKUs) on its websites to 2 million — a 10-fold increase — and charted a course to become a business-to-business, one-stop shop for small, midsized and large-scale enterprises, including commercial and government.

The idea was to move beyond its category killer status to provide a much broader inventory of products that businesses need — everything from copy paper and toner to power tools and medical scrubs.

The bold move added another level of complexity to an online operation that was already running six different versions of search- engine software on its 20 websites, including those catering to business accounts. Each aging, on-premise search engine required local management and maintenance. The staggering number of new SKUs meant that onsite search and content team members had to prioritize their optimizing efforts on the most common search terms and were unable to optimize the vast majority of terms that comprised the long-tail of the distribution.

The Staples team was intently focused on where retail and eCommerce were going, but as they embraced the future, they were hampered by their legacy site search technology.

The biggest thing was that our business had evolved such that we had all these different sites using different versions of enterprise search software,” said Doug Gribbel, Senior Manager of Global eCommerce Search. “As product managers, we were constantly struggling, trying to update things and increase performance and we were constantly hindered by the legacy systems.


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With Bloomreach, we definitely get the sense that we are tackling more bigger picture problems.

Doug Gribbel, Senior Manager, Global eCommerce at Staples

An old-school system that required manual tuning and optimizing had no place in the new Staples. Doing that job right, at scale, would no doubt require a dramatic expansion of the workforce. The company needed a way to automate some of the work involved in surfacing the relevant products that Staples’ customers were searching for. Its legacy system didn’t take into account consumer behavior on the Staples sites or the wider web.

The company needed a way to automate some of the work involved in surfacing the relevant products that Staples’ customers were searching for. Its legacy system didn’t take into account consumer behavior on the Staples sites or the wider web.



Staples set about finding a data-driven answer that provided personalization and relevance at scale. In a three-way, headto-head- to-head test, across their various sites, it pitted Bloomreach Search and Merchandising (brSM) against its legacy system and another competitor. The Staples team compared revenue per visit (RPV) and conversion rates and the answer was clear.

brSM delivered more than a revenue boost. Bloomreach’s algorithms enabled Staples to successfully manage the tremendous increase in product listings on its sites without additional manual effort.

With a deep understanding of natural language, brSM understands how customers search and combines that with contextual behavioral data to make sure the right products are seen in the right oder for the right person. With brSM, the amount of manual rule writing required was dramatically reduced.

Being freed from the time-consuming rule writing has allowed the Staples team to focus on higher-level problems and more creative solutions.

We definitely get the sense that we are tackling more bigger-picture problems, like how do we drive product discovery and expose users to new categories, new products, new services,” said Gribbel. “We’re less focused on the day-to-day manual effort. It also helps us provide a better career path for the folks on our team that have traditionally been doing this really manual work.

Staples' Favourite Features



Bloomreach Search is the industry-leading, AI-powered site search to drive revenue. Exceptional search, browse & product discovery, where every search query is optimized for revenue and AI/ML-automated personalization is applied to reduce costs and workload.


Content Management

Edit and preview content without leaving the page with preview that includes text, visuals and products inserted on the page. Launch, manage and customize campaign specific landing pages and microsites at top speed without depending on IT.



Personalize how you rank products for each visitor. Bloomreach can understand user preferences on a one-to-one basis and reorders products based on user preferences.



Bloomreach's AI-powered technology works in tandem with merchandisers to help them be more data-driven and impactful. Quickly learn which products are under-performing, personalize how products are displayed by segment, and boost, bury or lock-in-place products to tell a visual story.