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Bol boosts click-through rates with Contentstack

Bol, a top online retailer in the Netherlands and Belgium, needed to replace a CMS that could only manage content for its website channel and was difficult to maintain.

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Prior to partnering with Contentstack in May of 2022, bol was searching for a replacement for a CMS that was more than 10 years old and only serviced its website. Meanwhile, the bol app was an increasingly popular channel with growing content needs. 

The challenge

“The usage of our app has been growing over time, and it’s becoming an increasingly important channel,” said Lennart Billekens, IT architect for bol’s shopping domain. “So we definitely wanted something that could be easily used across the channels we have.”

Key criteria for a new CMS

Bol set out to search for a headless CMS to manage content for both its website and app. The company was also looking to create more agility for content production overall, since in their previous system, making changes to the website required using HTML, said Lennart Billekens, IT architect for bol’s shopping domain. The marketing team needed to be able to make content changes freely, with confidence that content and images would render correctly on both web and mobile channels. Additionally, the new CMS would need to integrate with the other services in bol's landscape.

Finally, it was important for bol to get the stamp of approval from its developers. “While we were selecting a new system, the developers’ happiness was also one of the things we scored the products on, and of course, we looked at how everything is documented and how easy it is to do something in the system,” Billekens said. Contentstack scored quite high in this area, he said.

We just wanted to use content across the channels, and for that headless is the way to go.

Lennart Billekens | IT Architect

The solution

Both developers and content editors at bol tested the various platforms the company was considering to gauge user experience and to see how well each worked when integrated with other systems.

A gradual rollout

The Contentstack implementation went smoothly in just a few short months. Bol’s tech team worked closely with a solutions architect from Contentstack, brainstorming solutions for functions such as multilingual content and localization and finding answers to questions about integration.

Contentstack provided the flexibility to roll out the implementation in phases that moved from simple to complex.

Creating stories in Contentstack

“Our focus is storytelling content,” Mathijssen said. "We have product content and content about promotions, and they all live in their own systems. But Contentstack, we use for storytelling content, and that’s content that has an image, it has copy, and it wants to tell a story in itself.

“Our legal pages are in Contentstack, but also the introduction of our campaign pages, so the visual copy goes into Contentstack and also storefront pages, pages in which you introduce a category by nice visuals, by highlighting trends, by highlighting specific products that need a human touch to be great,” he continued.

It’s important for bol to be able to pull products into these curated content pages -- and vice versa, show additional content on product pages -- so it was crucial that Contentstack was able to integrate with their own software. With Contentstack’s composable platform, bol can integrate the software they need to create seamless content and commerce experiences without worrying about compatibility.

Contentstack makes localization easy

Contentstack’s headless content delivery tops the list of bol's favorite features because it allows them to push content to both the website and app.

The way multilingual content and localization are managed is also very useful, Billekens said. “There’s a feature where you can use fallback languages and we serve the Dutch and Belgian market. …  I think it’s really easy for the content editors to create localized content and manage languages.”

Contentstack also makes it easier to work with images and it supports managed content types, which makes it easier to organize and manage content, whereas bol’s previous CMS required HTML coding. “I think the scaling of images and the fact that you can create an image that scales to different break points but also to different dimensions is very powerful,” Mathijssen said.

Contentstack has greatly reduced the amount of time bol spends creating and updating campaign pages. Before, editors had to manually update each page. “With the integration with Contentstack, we really managed to decrease the amount of time a content editor needs to update a page,” Mathijssen said.   

Enhancing customer experience

Contentstack has given bol the agility to deliver and change content quickly. “We give everyone the opportunity to fill fast, to create something, put it out in the open, check if it works and then improve it as you go along,” Mathijssen said. “So we do focus on having experiments running with the content, and we like Contentstack because it enables you to really go to production fast, and really change fast if you’d like to.”

The experiments have shown that the bol website performance has improved since working with Contentstack.

“What we see is that we have an uplift in our click-through rates of between 3 and 40%, so it might be a better design, but we also think that it’s the response times and the fact that it’s headless, so we control the design and that enables us to have a very much improved customer experience,” he said. 

It’s been a year now, almost I think since we signed the contract. And it’s been an extensive process in selecting a new partner. And you know, you talk a lot and you try out a lot of things, but in the end, it’s still a question how the actual implementation goes. I think from that perspective, we are happy with how it’s going.

Lennart Billekens | IT Architect

The results

  • Click-through rates increased by 3 to 40%
  • Increased accessibility from 87 to 94%
  • Improved performance from 91% to 92%


Bol is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the Netherlands and Belgium, a fully digital marketplace serving two different countries and content in several languages.


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