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Photobox streamlines content management with an API-first CMS

Photobox needed a solution that could support rich functionality yet be user-friendly and be quickly implemented.

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more features per sprint
reduction in page load time
hours saved on development hours
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PhotoBox manages a large, robust ecommerce site that hosts a consistently heavy flow of new content. The increased emphasis on future-proof solutions led PhotoBox to explore a new option to build and publish their content.

The challenge

Before Contentstack, PhotoBox managed content with an in-house, legacy CMS paired with an off-the-shelf solution. The result was an inefficient CMS that was diffcult to use and error-prone. Simple tasks like scheduling didn’t always work. There was no convenient way for PhotoBox to bring content to new channels due to monolithic applications that made structural changes a long and arduous process.

PhotoBox needed a solution they could quickly implement by the holiday rush. The ideal solution involved moving part of the site to a framework that was easier to manage on the technical side, as well as on the content production and editing side. They needed a CMS that enabled both technical and business teams to focus on their respective roles, code, and content. The new system needed to be intuitive, user-friendly, and feature a single platform that could deliver content to both mobile and web. It also needed to support the rich set of functionality maintained on its old CMS.

Our old CMS platforms were extremely frustrating. It took too much time to ship new products to the site. The in-house solution was unstable. The impact that poorly framed content could have on the site was immeasurable. We needed to have part of the site move to a framework that was far easier to manage from both a technical and content editing perspective.

Taher Khaliq | Director of E-commerce Platforms, Photobox

The solution

PhotoBox experimented with various CMSes before choosing Contentstack. The headless CMS solution has a smooth UI that simplifies content publishing the same content can be published to a website, an app or anything connected to the internet of things (IoT).

The headless approach has practical implications for e-commerce businesses like PhotoBox that need flexibility in a diverse and ever-changing digital world. Contentstack’s robust and capable of hosting complex features on the site and provides users with the right set of tools so even team members with limited experience using a CMS can avoid making mistakes and breaking the code.

Contentstack supports PhotoBox’s business and technical goals in the following ways:

  • The PhotoBox team compares the user experience and intuitive interface to Apple products, which enables business users to use the tool with no technical support.
  • Because the CMS is headless, developers have the freedom to code in any language, helping to deploy code faster and enabling the team to work on more new features.
  • Contentstack will scale and change with PhotoBox as their needs grow, and its engineering team becomes increasingly agile and forward-thinking.

With minimal technical support and the CMS’s intuitive UI, the PhotoBox team created their POC in a matter of days. The migration has boost customer retention and reduced page load times by 50%. Content managers and developers shifted focus to deliver more content instead of fixing problems like scheduling.

Flexibility is key for an online retail business like PhotoBox. Contentstack’s API-first CMS gives PhotoBox the freedom to add in any platform or integrate any tools they need in order to serve their customers. With the time saved, the team has started prioritizing testing, metrics, UI/UX, design, content and customer journeys instead. The move has also helped PhotoBox see an increase in agility, a key component in reaching its technical goal of continuous delivery (CD).

Right now our focus is on our web and mobile platforms, but the fact that Contentstack is a headless CMS means that if we wanted to break into TV or even IoT, we can scale up quickly and easily to deliver to those channels. We don’t have to worry because we already have a solution that doesn't need to be retrofitted to work for new platforms.

Darren Beukes | Software Architect, Photobox
  • Increased customer retention
  • Page load times reduced by 50%
  • Increased agility


PhotoBox is Europe’s leading e-commerce retailer of personalized photo gifts, offering a range of digital and print photo services to 30 million customers across 19 countries. Whether it's a big event or "just because," they turn their customers' favorite moments into thoughtful, unique gifts.


Retail & e-commerce

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