News Briefs


Pricer Explores Sustainable Electronic Shelf Labels


Pricer, a Sweden-based technology company specialized in shelf automation and communication solutions, is exploring the next generation of electronic shelf labels (ESL), self-powered through light, in partnership with Epishine, a Swedish developer of printed organic solar cells.

The goal of this partnership is to find a solution that combines both the benefits of digitalization and the increased focus on sustainability, according to a media release from Pricer.

"We are convinced that Epishine is the perfect choice of partner for us, and together we aim at setting a new standard for sustainable retail,” Chris Chalkitis, chief digital officer at Pricer, said in the release. “With more than 30 million electronic shelf labels sold every year, Pricer realizes the positive impact that alternative energy sources will have on retailers' sustainability targets. As we see an increasing interest from leading retailers all over the world in in-store communications solutions, and thereby a rise in energy needs, we are continuously looking at alternative energy sources.”

Epishine's indoor solar cells are developed for indoor lighting, meaning they harvest energy from the available light indoors to power electronics like ESLs. “Smart retail” is a strategic avenue for a sustainable shift in powering small devices such as shelf labels, due to the number of batteries that can be eliminated as well as because of the light availability in stores, per the release.

"The trends of digitalization and sustainability within retail align very well with our ambition to support our customers in making sustainable self-powered electronics,” added Anna Bjorklou, CEO at Epishine.


Acosta Appoints EVP of In-Store Services for Walmart


Marketing agency Acosta has hired Don Byrd as executive vice president of in-store services for Walmart.

Byrd leads a newly formed team dedicated to elevating service and outcomes and enhancing talent acquisition and engagement in support of the company's business with the mass merchant, according to a news release.

Byrd’s resume includes 20 years of experience with CPG and mass retailers in sales, market research, business development, marketing strategy and retail category management.

Byrd recently worked at Information Resources Inc. (IRI), serving as principal/team leader of CPG and retail insights. In that role, he assisted Fortune 100/500 CPG companies across the U.S. leverage data and insights to drive growth at retail. Prior to IRI, Byrd held leadership roles at Crossmark and Premium Retail Services, an Acosta agency.

Acosta’s in-store services team was formed as part of the company’s sales agency to address crucial retail challenges across labor, technology and execution for clients and customers.

Byrd started in his new role in February, reporting to David Yenzer, president of Acosta's in-store services team.


Walgreens Seeks Diverse Suppliers for Summit

walgreens aisle

Walgreens will hold a Supplier Diversity Summit on March 28 during which qualifying vendors and businesses can pitch their retail offerings to the drugstore chain’s merchandising team.

The virtual event invites diverse vendors to share their products and receive feedback from Walgreens, with the goal of being stocked on store shelves in their local areas.

Walgreens will work to increase sourcing from suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by individuals who are disadvantaged, disabled, military veterans, LGBTQ+, minorities and/or women.

The summit will focus on products across grocery, household, beauty and personal care, health and wellness, and general merchandise, among other categories. 

“Meeting the needs of our diverse patients and customers is imperative to our role as America’s community healthcare destination,” Alethia Jackson, senior vice president of environmental, social and governance and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, said in a news release. “We are looking forward to connecting with diverse suppliers that will ensure our shelves benefit everyone, providing a wider selection of products and services.”

The summit is available to businesses from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 

All sourcing and product submissions will be made through ECRM’s online product discovery and sourcing platform, RangeMe. ECRM will qualify suppliers, create curated meeting schedules and facilitate face-to-face virtual meetings with Walgreens buyers. All meetings will be conducted through ECRM’s virtual meeting platform, ECRM Connect.


Veteran Ad Exec Joins Instacart


Instacart has hired veteran ad executive Tim Castelli from iHeartMedia to be the online delivery company’s vice president of global advertising sales.

Castelli will lead Instacart’s advertising sales organization, focusing on building strong relationships with brand partners and media agencies across the industry. He will report to chief business officer Chris Rogers.

Castelli has more than 30 years of industry experience building advertising solutions for brands. He spent the last 10 years at iHeartMedia, leading sales functions and most recently serving as chief revenue officer of the media company’s multi-platform group.

Prior to iHeartMedia, Castelli was a senior vice president of sales for AOL. He also led advertising and partnership activities at Google as the technology industry director. Further, he has served as the publisher of Rolling Stone magazine.

This hire comes as Instacart continues to grow its advertising business, Instacart Ads, which currently serves some-5,500 brand partners, according to the company. In 2022, the company rolled out a slew of new solutions, including “new to brand” metrics and A/B and lift testing.

Brands including ApplegateGeneral Mills, Kellogg and Unilever have leveraged Instacart’s advertising solutions.

Instacart told the Path to Purchase Institute in an email that Kellogg saw a double-digit sales lift from Instacart Ads, as one of the first to pilot its sales lift and A/B testing capabilities.

Additionally, Unilever’s “The Ice Cream Shop” pop-up on the platform revealed that more than 75% of customers are net-new to the brand.


Walmart Connect Adds Automation Partner


E-commerce advertising provider Trellis has partnered with the Walmart Connect API to automate key components of the retail giant’s advertising platform using artificial intelligence.

As a Walmart Platform Partner in the U.S., Trellis provides Walmart Marketplace advertising clients with real-time, data-driven adjustments for keyword and campaign management. As of Feb. 1, Walmart sellers can deploy both Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands through Trellis. observes up to 100 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore. Since more customers are opting to shop online, the automation of Walmart ads could help sellers capture and grow this market opportunity, according to a news release from Trellis.

"By connecting ad automation with Walmart Connect through their API, we open the marketplace to everyone. Quality automation gets sellers up to speed quicker," Trellis chief product officer, Krishna Vemulapali, said in the release.

Trellis' advertising automation aims to streamline and enhance advertising performance by leveraging performance data to drive profitable keyword harvesting, bid adjustments and day parting. Automation brands can use Trellis to drive focus on marketing strategies while AI manages the day-to-day tactical changes. 

Walmart reaches nearly 90% of U.S. households each year. In a recent survey with Walmart customers, most said they feel comfortable purchasing from a seller, and more than half said they recently purchased from a Walmart Marketplace seller, according to the retailer’s first-party data shared by Trellis. 

Trellis is also a verified partner of Amazon Ads and works with top brands including Unilever and Adidas.


Chicory Shuffles Leadership Amid Revenue Growth

Howard Chicory

Commerce advertising platform Chicory promoted Meghan Howard to chief revenue officer (CRO) in January. Also, Jason Young will transition from an operational role as president to Chicory's board of directors. The transition comes after Chicory celebrated its highest revenue year to date in 2022.

"We are very grateful for [Young’s] energizing leadership and ongoing commitment to Chicory, and are extremely excited for this new chapter with Meghan Howard as our CRO," Chicory CEO and co-founder Yuni Sameshima said in a media release.

Over the past 18 months, Chicory has laid out a 10-year vision, grown its team by 30%, launched two new products and developed new marketing strategies, according to the release.

The leadership team now consists of Sameshima, chief operations officer and co-founder Joey Petracca, Howard and vice president of strategic partnerships Nick Minnick. As CRO, Howard will be responsible for executing the company's growth plans and revenue operations.

Howard, based in New York, served as Chicory's VP of sales and account management for more than four years, growing the team and increasing company revenue. Before Chicory, Howard spent time at Valassis, holding different positions in both the sales and client success organizations. There she garnered experience in organizational structure, resource deployment and process architecture.

"I'm thrilled to be promoted to CRO at such an exciting time in Chicory's — and the industry's — evolution," Howard said in the release. "Chicory's commitment to building and delivering innovative solutions that drive results for our clients in an ever-evolving landscape will continue to be key to our growth."