Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

New Business Bulletin: VTEX, Columbus, Freepik and many more

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VTEX, the global enterprise digital commerce platform, announced it has been selected by Hearst, the global, diversified media, information, and services company. This partnership will enable Hearst to transform the buying experience of its consumer media businesses, which collectively reach 165 million unique users each month, according to Comscore. VTEX will support a digital commerce marketplace across fashion, Do-it-yourself (DIY) and home improvement, lifestyle publications and bring a unified shopping experience to users. This collaboration is a significant testament to the VTEX platform, which was chosen by Hearst due to VTEX’s wide breadth of native capabilities, multi-site architecture, and VTEX IO development platform to support custom features. The platform brings integrated marketplace and core digital commerce to support multi-vendor business models. With VTEX, Hearst will be able to create a seamless customer experience between its publications and shoppable interfaces, allowing the purchase of featured products with ease. 

Columbus, the global digital business services provider, has announced that it has won the award for UKI Commerce Partner of the Year at the Optimizely 2023 Partner Awards. The Optimizely annual awards is a prestigious award programme that recognises top-performing partners among Optimizely’s global network of more than 700 partners worldwide. The Partner Awards celebrate Optimizely partners for their exceptional work empowering merchants to build, innovate, and grow their businesses. Out of 11 total categories whose applicants were evaluated by a panel of Optimizely employees and executives, Columbus was specifically recognised for providing revolutionary solutions and services for brands.

Freepik, the global tech company specializing in high-quality audio-visual content, has announced that it is providing magical Disney assets in delightful new templates that can be personalized on its platform. Excitingly – and as Disney celebrates its 100th anniversary – Freepik is enabling access to designs featuring iconic Disney and Pixar characters from the worlds of Disney’s Mickey and Friends and Disney’s Frozen, as well as Pixar’s Toy Story. Templates featuring content inspired by the highly-anticipated animated feature, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Wish, will be also available to Freepik users in the near future. All these assets will be available in certain templates that can be found in Freepik, the company’s flagship platform. Users can also download templates on Slidesgo – Freepik´s extensive catalog of templates and themes – and even on Wepik – the company’s online editor – where they will be able to personalize designs. Resources include birthday cards, worksheets, calendars, and presentations – to name a few.

From phone calls and email to web chats and social media, it’s harder for businesses to know which channels to prioritise for customers. Now, new research from a technology-based provider of communications services across Europe, Gamma Communications, suggests that voice calls should be a priority for businesses despite the increasing number of digital communication options. According to the new research, well over a third of Brits (38%) say direct phone calls are their preferred method of communication with businesses over other channels such as emails, web chats, social media and video calls. A further 69% of consumers are likely to contact via phone call first before trying other methods when seeking assistance from a business. With the vast majority (91%) considering it important to be able to easily call a business customer service line when they need assistance, phone calls evidently have a significant impact on the customer experience. To further underscore this, 80% of consumers say they would continue shopping with an SME that offers superior customer service over the phone, suggesting impact on customer loyalty as well. 

Tech Mahindra, a provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions, has announced it has collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build a sports cloud platform. The offering focuses on building next-generation digital capabilities for sports organizations, and delivering immersive and personalized experiences to sporting enthusiasts worldwide. The sports cloud offering is the result of a strategic collaboration agreement (SCA) signed between the two organizations in September, 2023, with a shared vision to bring the sports institutions closer to the fans, and the fans closer to the action. The SCA supports ease of access for Tech Mahindra to AWS resources and services, and allows both entities to participate in joint go-to-market initiatives and drive business growth. 

The most pivotal weekend in the ecommerce calendar has drawn to a close, with an early readout of performance of Meta by Nest Commerce revealing a surge in performance. With a revamped tech stack, lower ad costs and brands deploying full funnel strategies, the platform saw brands overcome previous challenges associated with Apple’s ATT update. According to exclusive data from Nest Commerce, this Black Friday witnessed a remarkable 26% year-on-year decrease in average CPM (cost per thousand impressions). This provided advertisers a unique opportunity to scale their spending and outperform competitors and adapt to the evolving advertising landscape on Meta. It is based on data from the Nest Index, with 120 million Meta impressions across the period of Black Friday to Cyber Monday, drawing from the global Meta campaigns of 40+ ecommerce clients.

Jigsaw Dating has integrated Yoti’s photo verification technology to confirm every dating profile belongs to a real person. The move aims to give daters more confidence and transparency over who they connect with online. On account creation, all members are required to take a selfie, which Yoti verifies to ensure it is a real person. This stops people from using fake profile photos. Yoti’s passive liveness technology, MyFace, confirms the selfie is taken by a real person – preventing people from uploading a digital or printed, photo, video or other spoofing attempt. MyFace only requires a selfie image to complete the liveness check, creating a smooth member experience and speeding up the process of verifying genuine accounts. Members who fail the selfie verification can’t connect with other daters on Jigsaw Dating until they successfully complete the process. 

Industry sales podcast ‘The Insiders’ has returned with a new feel and format for its second season following its successful roll-out last year. Produced by Newcastle-based demand generation firm durhamlane, the podcast gives listeners the inside track on achieving success in qualified lead generation, marketing and sales conversion strategies and features senior sales and marketing leaders from global brands who share invaluable insights, advice and thought leadership. Previous guests have included experts from Google, RS Components, Siemens, Fellowes and Sodexo while this year’s guest line-up includes Karen Kulinski, EMEA Marketing and Communications Director of ADLINK, Richard Jeffers, Founder and MD of RS Industria, Paul Gowans, Global Director of Regional and Channel Marketing of VIAVI Solution, Antti Nykänen, Head of Marketing for AFRY and more. The Insiders is hosted by durhamlane co-founder and chief commercial officer, Richard Lane who has over 16 years of sales industry experience, delivering sales 2.0 business coaching and consultancy.

Tutoring provider and education platform, GoStudent has partnered with popular TV presenter, Denise Van Outen, to create content with her teenage daughter, Betsy, showcasing the ease, flexibility and impact of the GoStudent platform. The collaboration provides insight into Denise and Betsy’s home learning journey. It also underscores GoStudent’s dedication to providing top-tier online tutoring to students globally. The partnership aims to showcase the benefits of GoStudent in a light-hearted and playful way, which Denise and her daughter effortlessly achieved. Live now across digital channels, viewers will see Denise and Betsy’s strong mother-daughter bond, while simultaneously showcasing how GoStudent’s unique features seamlessly integrate into everyday life, making learning smoother and more effective than ever.

Zebra Technologies Corporation, a digital solution provider enabling businesses to intelligently connect data, assets, and people, has announced the findings of its 16th Annual Global Shopper Study which confirmed retailers are feeling the omnichannel squeeze, particularly with managing online returns and reducing shrink caused by theft, fraud and other contributing factors. Eight in 10 retailers agree minimising fraud/shrink is a significant challenge (85% in Europe, 82% globally), and the ability to forecast demand is important to their organisation (86%). The Zebra study indicates 41% of European retailers (36% globally) believe better analytics on shrink could help drive profitability. Many retailers expect to deploy loss prevention analytics (49%) and demand planning and forecasting (54%) by 2026.