Cafe24, MindAd Media join forces for a stronger global e-commerce ecosystem

Cafe24 has found a new partner in Israel-based digital agency MindAd Media. Both parties are closely collaborating to fuse their e-commerce and technology ecosystems to help online entrepreneurs succeed globally.

Cafe24’s e-commerce platform continues to grow and improve with the company’s recent partnership with Israel-based marketing agency MindAd Media. Since 2019, MindAd has been eyeing Korea’s burgeoning e-commerce market and looking for partners. At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, MindAd signed several local advertising clients and noticed a pattern: many of them use Cafe24’s platform. MindAd saw the immense potential in bringing Israeli innovation into the Cafe24 ecosystem, and so they sought to collaborate.

We sat down with some of MindAd’s top executives to learn more about the company, the significance of the Israeli tech market to the e-commerce industry, and how the new partnership with Cafe24 will benefit merchants. Among the interviewees were Yaniv Ben-Atia, CTO of weEndeavor; Nir Maliar, CEO of MindAd; and Gillit Segev, MindAd’s VP of Sales and Business Development.

Q: What kind of company is MindAd?

MindAd Media is an Israel-based digital media agency specializing in helping local companies go global through technology, data, creativity, and digital innovation. The company engages in online advertising, sales, and e-commerce marketing technologies to achieve objectives and boost clients’ performance. “MindAd grew up with the growth of social and the internet. We believe in automation, data, analytics – in the ability to find the right solution,” said Yaniv.

“We have a very specific DNA for MindAd. Our people are very service-oriented and highly-driven with a huge understanding of technology,” added Nir. MindAd adopts a methodology focusing on extensive A/B testing, which empowers clients and agencies with smart solutions that drive efficiency and boost ROI. By taking new technologies of startups, the agency helps them and its clients improve results. With over 15 years of know-how under its belt, the company has extensive experience adapting to up-and-coming trends like social and live commerce and utilizing advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

Moreover, MindAd Media has worked with an impressive roster of Israeli and global clients throughout its tenure, from e-commerce brands and tech startups to large companies like Mobileye. The company was one of the first partners of Facebook back in 2007 and of AI marketing intelligence company Dataroma in 2006, which Salesforce later acquired. It has also collaborated and forged strong ties with giants like Amazon, Google, TikTok, Snapchat, and Korea’s Naver and Kakao.

Part of what makes MindAd a remarkable partner is its synergistic relationship with weEndeavor, a holdings management group investing in and working with global media and digital marketing companies, including MindAd itself. As Yaniv explained, “MindAd is part of a bigger group. One of the companies in our group owns humor and entertainment websites like Know Your Meme, one of the largest Wikis of memes. Those guys know internet culture and understand what’s going on. It helps a lot when you know which content to connect to when you’re trying to market something. This is part of the synergy.”

Q: Could you tell us more about the Israeli market?

Being based in Israel, MindAd is deeply immersed in the country’s culture of technological innovation – a vital, defining advantage for its e-commerce partners. “Israel has a tremendous startup ecosystem where many companies are trying to solve problems inside the e-commerce world. We see ourselves as a bridge between those clients and the startup community,” said Yaniv.

True enough, according to Deloitte, Israel is one of the hottest innovation and technology hubs around the globe. It has the highest number of startups per capita, strong research and development (R&D) capabilities, and a local ecosystem that develops pioneering technologies and positions brands for global success.

For e-commerce players, Israel’s technology-focused economy is good news – especially for DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) merchants. MindAd can help connect up-and-coming e-commerce brands with startups to test and pilot new technology and utilize it to its full potential. This is a formula that MindAd believes results in mutual success for all involved parties.

Q: Why is MindAd setting its sights on Korea?

It is part of MindAd’s mission to help agencies, startups, and e-commerce companies in different global markets. Before entering the market, the company had done extensive market analysis and research, which highlighted the massive growth potential of Korea’s e-commerce sector. MindAd is looking to bring its capabilities and experience to enable global growth for Korean brands.

“In the summer of 2019, we were looking for a Korean partner for agency-to-agency activity. We started signing with local partners during COVID-19. When we were working with Korean advertisers, we saw that many of them are based on the Cafe24 platform. We had a few technical questions and issues, so we reached out to Cafe24’s CTO Noh Dongwoo looking for some support and help,” explained Gillit. “We said it would be amazing to cooperate with Cafe24 and bring Israeli innovations here. We are very tech-savvy, well-connected, with a network of entrepreneurs and startups. We believe this can help Cafe24 boost sales, make it a more innovative and creative platform, and help Cafe24 go global,” she added.

“I was totally impressed and surprised by the existing startup ecosystem in Korea. I see many things in common with Korea and Israel – like the advanced startup ecosystem. I see a lot of opportunities for us here,” said Yaniv.

The executives of MindAd also think the timing is ripe for collaboration between Israel and Korea, taking note of the Korean Wave that has reached Israeli shores. K-Pop is growing in popularity among the younger Israelis, according to Yaniv. Gillit also noted that Korean cosmetics have become commonplace.

“Israelis are getting more familiar with Korean brands. With Netflix’s hit show Squid Game, the interest is growing further,” said Gillit. “Online shopping is more than a trend in Israel. More and more Israelis are buying online, and we are internationally e-commerce savvy. So, there is a big potential for Israelis to buy from Korean brands,” she added.

Q: How is MindAd a difference-maker for Cafe24 merchants?

Cafe24 and MindAd share a common mission of setting up merchants for success on the global stage, opening opportunities for mutual growth. “We want to help merchants scale globally but in a smart way. It’s easy to try and go global, but it’s much easier to fail. We want to help them using our experience and the problems that we faced in the past to help reduce their learning curve,” said Yaniv.

The collaboration between Cafe24 and MindAd is essentially the fusion of two robust ecosystems: e-commerce and technology. This partnership can further accelerate the growth of all players on both sides. “We have a very good match between Cafe24’s global strategy and the tools that MindAd has in the toolbox,” added Yaniv.

Q: Could you elaborate on the impact of MindAd’s startup ecosystem on entrepreneurs?

Ultimately, MindAd’s goal is to set e-commerce brands on the path to global success. To do this, MindAd helps connect DTC businesses with Israeli startups and developers, bringing in innovations and technologies that improve various business processes and overall scalability.

Being the primary bridge between Israeli developers and Korean brands, MindAd nurtures valuable connections between the two sides. The agency continues to learn more about the local culture and available enterprise models through Cafe24. “We didn’t start by gathering developers and telling them that we will take them to Korea. We started by looking for solutions for Cafe24 in Israel,” Yaniv said.

The integration of cutting-edge tools into the Cafe24 platform has already begun. Dialogue’s AI-powered app for personalization launched recently in the Cafe24 Store. It assists with cross-sales and up-sales, plus a product recommendation feature that leverages user behavior.

Dialogue’s launch is only the tip of the iceberg. MindAd and Cafe24 are already in talks to bring more Israeli developers into the fold. At least seven Israeli startups are preparing to launch their apps in the Cafe24 ecosystem. As Nir said, “Many other developers and e-commerce startups are standing in line to learn about the Cafe24 Store and see how the first apps will be successful. And then they will also bring their resources to develop on the Cafe24 platform.”

Q: What else is on the horizon for the Cafe24-MindAd partnership?

Both Cafe24 and MindAd Media remain engaged in talks to explore further opportunities that create added value for DTC merchants in the ecosystem. One possible area of collaboration is for MindAd to become a marketing partner for sellers planning to go global. “As a marketing agency, it is our heart and soul to help sellers go global and bring added value to the table,” Nir said.

MindAd Media is also keen to continue supporting brands’ expansion efforts by combining technology and data in marketing and other aspects of the business, like finding the right audience for conversions and supporting ad activity on social channels.

“We strongly believe in the importance of the organic activity, but our strength is not in managing someone’s profile page. We’re very much performance-oriented. Our strength is helping clients increase the scale of the sales that they are getting from platforms. Our interest in social platforms is generating sales for the merchant,” said Yaniv. “At the end of the day, every local seller dreams of getting a message from a buyer somewhere else in the world saying that their product is great. Just like Cafe24, we’re here for the sellers,” he added.

As the two parties continue to collaborate, the future looks brighter than ever for DTC entrepreneurs.

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