14th October, 2015

London calling for retail technology future

Our annual retail technology conference hit the capitol for the first time as more than 120 leading retailers got together near St Paul’s to discuss current challenges, future plans and the technologies that might make the difference.

BT Expedite CEO Kathy Quashie kicked things off in the morning – and almost succeeded in getting a Mexican wave going – before handing over to the day’s guest speakers.

Duncan Lorne gave us a music-inspired alternative viewpoint, citing everything from Abba (Knowing Me, Knowing You) to Jimmy Cliff (You Can Get It If You Really Want) to highlight the crucial nature of better customer insight and the move to singular commerce.

Then Wired editor David Rowan took us through a whistle stop tour of the top 10 ways consumer technologies are set to have an impact on retail, highlighting the Internet of Stupid things along the way (Milky app anyone?) and the hacking dangers of the smart toilet.

View Highlights video >

We also got some insight from Ovum which showed the investment plans and concerns of leading retails, an outline of BT’s capabilities in the sector and an introduction to an old friend with a new name, as Epicor Retail has become Aptos.

The morning session ended with a double act as Mark Denton and Mike King brought it all “back to reality” and showed what we could be doing right now to improve customer insight and experience.

After lunch, we were able to dig into the nitty-gritty, with nine breakout sessions covering everything from payments and clienteling to e-commerce and omni-channel. Guest speakers included representatives from Brown Thomas, Charles Clinkard, Dixons Carphone, Get the Label, MetaPack, Mint Velvet, Phase Eight, Sage Pay and Thomas Pink.

During breaks and over lunch, the place to be was the technology demonstration showcase, where we could see some of the latest retail products and solutions in action. So from intelligent fitting rooms and in-store mobility, through e-commerce updates and omni-channel store solutions to merchandising and network monitoring we saw the full gamut of retail technology. And a few lucky people even came away with their very own 3d mini-twin!

All in all it was a very busy and successful day – hopefully generating lots of ideas for retailers to take “Back to Reality” the day after…

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