CASE STUDY: STAPLES PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS
Leveraging AI To Automate Customer Reccomendations
Staples Promotional Products (a division of Staples, Inc.) specializes in the customization and distribution of promotional products for businesses. Trusted by some of the world's most recognized brands, they deliver customized merchandise that helps promote their clients’ businesses and engage with their customers. Brands of all sizes rely on their team of experts to not only produce branded products, but also provide guidance on the best promotional products marketing strategies tailored to their company attributes (industry, demographics, etc.). With an ever-growing catalog of thousands of product options, ensuring that each client's unique product requirements are met efficiently is a complex task.
Integrity Inspired Solutions, a trusted partner of Staples Promo, has been contributing to Staples Promo’s innovative technology solutions for handling their ever-expanding catalog and providing a premium customized experience for their clients. This case study unpacks one of the collaborative projects Integrity and Staples Promo accomplished by leveraging machine learning to further enhance the product recommendation process.
Staples Promo prides itself in their ability to go above and beyond to partner with their clients and provide strategies and solutions designed specifically for their clients’ brands. In order to provide this level of service, merchandisers within Staples Promo manually put together client product recommendations, sifting through tens of thousands of options in the product catalog and referencing manually managed spreadsheets of vertical-specific product lists to produce the best product recommendations.
Not only was this process cumbersome and inefficient, but it also extended client-onboarding time, delaying the opportunity for clients to start submitting orders.
To address this bottleneck, Staples Promo originally had in mind the idea of an internal interface for merchandisers to manage the categorization of products rather than using manual spreadsheets to help make client catalog recommendations. However, Integrity recognized another approach and recommended further improving the efficiency of this process through AI.
Using machine learning, Integrity built Staples Promo a tool that would use their existing vertical product recommendation data and product attributes (product name, description, keywords, item class, etc.) to predict verticals for new products entering the catalog and automatically assign them to those verticals.
This AI tool has streamlined the product recommendation process of Staples Promo’s merchandisers. No longer do they have to manually sort through the business’ massive catalog or cross-reference outdated spreadsheets to make informed recommendations for clients. They can quickly and easily view vertical-specific suggestions and add those to their client recommendations.
The creation of the tool has also eliminated the need to manually update spreadsheets containing vertical-specific product recommendations that merchandisers previously used. Because the AI tool analyzes and learns from patterns in data (e.g. specific types of shirts performing well in specific verticals), it automatically updates the vertical recommendations when new products are offered by Staples Promo.
The collaboration between Staples Promotional Products and Integrity Inspired Solutions has not only streamlined the product recommendation process but has also ushered in a new era of efficiency and responsiveness.
With the implementation of AI and machine learning, the cumbersome and time-consuming manual tasks have been replaced by a sophisticated tool that provides quick and accurate vertical-specific recommendations. This innovation not only benefits the internal workflow of Staples Promo but also enhances their ability to serve clients promptly and effectively.
As a trusted partner, Integrity has demonstrated how cutting-edge technology can revolutionize the promotional products industry, marking a significant milestone in their journey together. The future looks promising as this partnership continues to explore new horizons in the ever-evolving landscape of promotional products.