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News Briefs

  • 5/21/2024

    Tech Startup Debuts Low-Code Integration System


    Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology company Topsort has launched a low-code integration system. 

    Low code is a software development approach that requires minimal need for coding and less time when creating digital solutions, enterprise applications and other use cases. 

    Topsort’s solution enables marketplaces to integrate its retail media infrastructure with “just a few lines of code” in as little as one hour, versus the 3-6 months the process has traditionally taken, Topsort said in a media release.

    “The low-code integration represents a paradigm shift, demolishing barriers that previously discouraged many businesses from establishing retail media platforms,” the company said. By simplifying and accelerating the integration process, Topsort enables retailers “of all sizes” to develop and scale their retail media offerings for a “cookieless, bidless and keywordless advertising landscape.”

    Topsort retail media infrastructure includes:

    • Auction integration: Topsort's AI auto-bidding algorithm selects ads to display by evaluating real-time bids.
    • Self-service and admin platforms: Tracks key metrics such as clicks, impressions and purchases, providing insights into ad performance and user engagement.
    • Real-time reporting: All campaign data is accessible in real-time within comprehensive reporting dashboards.

    Topsort said a key factor in making this integration possible was its “adaptable proxy solution,” which acts as a middleman (aka proxy) between a marketplace's search or filtering results and the origin server. The solution merges relevant auction data into the results while maintaining performance and compatibility with various tech stacks.

    “We always hear that retail media is a ‘not if, but when’ priority amongst the retailers and marketplaces we talk to, partially due to the large startup cost and resources,” Francisco Larrain, chief technology officer and co-founder of Topsort, said in the release. “Faced with integration timelines that can take three months or longer, the time, expense and resource burden has been impossible for a lot of companies to take on, especially when they are in the early days of their retail media evolution and just want to see results fast.”

    Topsort is a 3-year-old “AI-first” retail media platform that helps retailers and marketplaces, such as Poshmark, Unilever, Coca-Cola, L'Oreal, General Mills and Phillips develop ad networks in a cookie-less world. 

  • 5/7/2024

    Ironmark Grows Marketing Solutions Through Acquisitions


    Ironmark, a full-service marketing and communications firm, acquired two companies – Deliver Media and L&D Mail Masters – to bolster its marketing services portfolio.

    • Based in Tampa, Florida, Deliver Media uses first-party data and predictive analytics powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to launch multi-channel marketing campaigns.
    • Based in New Albany, Indiana, L&D Mail Masters is a direct mail firm that offers direct marketing solutions, from campaign design to implementation, in a privacy compliant SOC 2 HIPAA-certified environment.

    “These acquisitions significantly broaden Ironmark’s geographic reach, providing companies and brands with the innovations and technology they need to help them continue to grow their businesses,” Jeff Ostenso, CEO, Ironmark, said in a media release.

    This move expands Ironmark’s direct marketing solutions to include services powered by predictive analytics and target modeling, making it easier for its clients to find and engage more customers.

    Founded in 2013, Deliver Media helps its partners, such as franchises like Domino’s Pizza, leverage customer data and predictive analytics to better understand how to interact with customers and foster deep relationships that lead to repeat business. 

    L&D Mail Masters was founded in 1986 by longtime CEO Diane Fischer. The firm’s privacy compliant direct marketing solutions are used in a range of industries, including insurance, financial services and healthcare. 

    “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Ironmark,” added Jill Peden, vice president, sales and marketing, L&D Mail Masters. “Under Jeff Ostenso’s leadership, Ironmark has become a marketing powerhouse with first-class services in digital and physical asset creation and management. Ironmark can now take the data Deliver uncovers and marry it with the physical output that L&D can accomplish in a secure environment.”

    All employees from both companies will be incorporated into the Ironmark team in Florida and Indiana. Deliver Media CEO Sean Johnson retains his role as CEO and is also appointed chief strategy officer for Ironmark. Peden joins Ironmark as vice president of sales and marketing. Both appointments have gone into effect.

    These are the latest in a series of acquisitions, all designed to expand Ironmark’s suite of offerings (16 over the course of 20 years, with 12 of the 16 owners still with the company) as Ironmark continues to evolve and expand in reach and capabilities. 

  • 5/7/2024

    Klarna Adds Programmatic Advertising Offering

    programmatic advertising

    Independent ad technology company PubMatic has partnered with Klarna, an AI-powered global payments network and shopping assistant, to scale programmatic access to Klarna’s native advertising inventory via PubMatic’s Convert, a unified self-service ad platform. 

    The partnership will allow advertisers to reach and engage with Klarna’s “high-intent” global audience of 150 million shoppers directly at the point of purchase, according to a media release. 

    Klarna claims a shopper community of 37 million consumers in the U.S. and 550,000 retailer partners representing over 2.5 million transactions per day, per the release. The company’s programmatic advertising offering joins its suite of media solutions that encompass affiliate, search and influencer marketing. 

    The integration with PubMatic provides Klarna with “scaled access” to demand via whichever demand-side platform (DSP) a buyer is working with on both a self-serve and managed service basis. 

    The integration will initially be available in the U.S., with European markets to follow “quickly thereafter.”

    “Our aim is to offer consumers a relevant, personalized and smooth shopping experience, while being a growth partner to retailers,” David Sandstrom, chief marketing officer at Klarna, said in the release. “By partnering with PubMatic, we are excited to leverage the power of programmatic advertising to connect brands with the world’s most engaged shoppers at scale and create efficiencies in their media buys.”

    “Our partnership with Klarna unlocks tremendous opportunities for advertisers seeking to drive high-performance campaigns at a time of disruption in the digital advertising ecosystem,” added Hashim Mian, vice president of commerce media at PubMatic. “Buyers now have the opportunity to engage active shoppers, particularly valuable Millennial and Gen Z audiences, directly at the coveted point of purchase.”

    PubMatic has been scaling its commerce media offering since the launch of its Convert platform in mid-2023. According to Magna Global, commerce media is expected to be a $158 billion market globally this year, and reach $220 billion by 2027. PubMatic is investing across commerce media technology, including sponsored listings, onsite display and video advertising and offsite audience extension.

  • 4/24/2024

    Ahold Delhaize to Open Tech Studio in Romania

    ahold delhaize

    Ahold Delhaize will open a new technology studio in Bucharest, Romania, called AD/01.

    The studio plans to hire around 250 employees in the coming years to work on innovations that will advance the customer experience across Ahold Delhaize’s European brands, including Albert Heijn, Etos, Delhaize, Alfa Beta and Mega Image. 

    The retail giant said in a statement that AD/01 will play a pivotal role in strengthening its digital, data and tech ecosystem and capabilities. The teams will focus on a range of areas, from web and app development to joining and initiating strategic projects in e-commerce, infrastructure, data, loyalty, core retail and beyond. 

    “As part of our tech ambitions, we focus on providing seamless digitally enabled experiences, whether in-store down the aisles, at the checkouts or behind the scenes,” Wouter Kolk, CEO Ahold Delhaize Europe and Indonesia, said in the statement. “With the evolving needs of our customers come new challenges, which is why we are creating AD/01. This tech studio will bring together sharp minds to develop innovations that serve people today and tomorrow and serve all our European brands. In doing so we are also investing in the Romanian market, where we already operate through our local brand Mega Image.” 

    AD/01 is currently onboarding the first of its new talent. The plan is to have around 250 employees within the next few years.

  • 4/23/2024

    DS Smith Partners With French Startup on Sustainable Packaging

    sustainable packaging

    Sustainable packaging provider DS Smith has partnered with Bioenzymatic Fuel Cells (BeFC), a French startup that develops fully recyclable smart tags.

    BeFC was created in 2020 with a goal to replace batteries with biofuel cells, according to a joint media release. Since then, BeFC has advanced its work in developing digital printed solutions that are recyclable.

    DS Smith’s involvement is part of the company’s $124 million (100 million pounds) research and development (R&D) and innovation investment, announced in 2021, to accelerate its circular economy strategy and offer packaging that has less impact on the environment over five years. 

    Together, DS Smith and BeFC will investigate smart packaging solutions made from recyclable paper to reduce waste, monitor quality and ensure supply chain efficiency during distribution and transportation, according to the release. More specifically, they’re focusing on:

    • Product tracking: Embedding a bespoke sensing platform and data protocols in digital solutions, allowing for real-time monitoring of products and enhancing the consumer experience and supply chain.
    • Reducing waste: Extending the shelf life of products and addressing waste by providing accurate information about freshness and expiration dates.
    • Efficient transportation: Enabling better load optimization, reducing operational costs and the carbon footprint associated with shipping.

    “Corrugated packaging together with smart tech has a huge potential to reduce waste across the supply chain, but we’re not quite where we need to be yet,” said Magnus Renman, group R&D director at DS Smith. “We need more smart solutions that tackle inefficiency, cost and, most importantly, carbon emissions. We’re excited to be addressing this challenge head-on with BeFC through innovative, circular solutions designed to slash losses and improve sustainability.”

    “The DS Smith x BeFC collaboration is a great example of combining shared expertise and resources to tackle inefficiencies and reduce waste and carbon emissions in supply chains whilst also understanding and validating compatibility with relevant recycling streams,” added Dr. Jules Hammond, CEO and co-founder, BeFC.

    In related news, in March, DS Smith launched a line of recyclable, reusable boxes for supermarkets that replaces plastic shopping bags, dubbed Carriers

  • 4/14/2024

    Celigo's TikTok Integration Automates Retailer Operations

    tiktok shop

    Celigo, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) for both IT and business users, has partnered with TikTok Shop to provide retailers with post-purchase experiences and enhanced automation and scalability on the social platform. 

    TikTok Shop enables brands and creators to showcase and sell products directly on TikTok through a suite of in-app shopping touchpoints, as well as manage things like shipping, fulfillment and point of purchase. The Celigo platform uses AI and prebuilt integrations to keep “mission-critical processes” running smoothly, per a media release from the company.

    Celigo said this integration, dubbed the TikTok Shop Connector by Celigo, will help retailers streamline their operations, enhance visibility and elevate the shopping experience. The solution is designed to keep data current and synced across various applications, including product data management, order management, fulfillment and accounting. 

    [ALSO READ: Brands Flock to TikTok Shop Amid Platform Headwinds]

    A recent independent study commissioned by Celigo found that a quarter of all consumers surveyed use TikTok to research products before they buy. With TikTok's massive reach and engagement, Celigo says retailers can tap into a vast audience of potential customers and convert them into loyal buyers.

    "Celigo is thrilled to join forces with TikTok Shop to address the growing social commerce landscape," Mark Simon, vice president of strategy at Celigo, said in the release. "This partnership will empower e-commerce businesses to integrate TikTok Shop across their tech stack for enhanced automation and scalability, ultimately empowering retailers to open a powerful new sales channel as well as provide a perfect shopper experience.”

    This collaboration also provides retailers with access to comprehensive insights. By leveraging automation, retailers can gain valuable intelligence about market trends, consumer behavior and product performance to inform decision-making, Celigo said.

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