Preview - Retail Business Technology Expo and Cards & Payment Solutions
With less than two weeks to go until Retail Business Technology Expo and Cards & Payment Solutions return to Earls Court for their second annual show, the organisers are promising bigger and better things for the growing event dedicated to multichannel retailing technology.
The UK already leads in the multichannel retailing stakes. We already sell more online and via mobiles than any other Western country. Add in London as a financial hub and English as a universal language, and it is easy to see why this event has attracted even wider international support, as retailers look farther afield for growth than ever before.
For those that missed the National Retail Federation (NRF) BIG Retail show last month, the Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), the retail technology standards division of the US-based retail industry body, will be highlighting retail IT developments in its own NRF pavilion.
Cross border, across channels
Nick Field, event director for the show, also told Multichannel Insights that partnerships with e-retail UK trade body IMRG and its European partner EMOTA, the Global Retail Forum and a hosted buyer programme, would complement the NRF presence and attract hundreds of senior decision makers from top retailers in the UK, Europe and around the world. Multichannel Insights will have more detail on these developments in the next two weeks.
Assessing growth across channels as well as across borders is another reason why some of the larger industry suppliers are getting involved in the event. As Dr Brad Poulson, principal consultant at IT services company Wipro, put it: “The world wide web provides a ‘virtual’ global shop window without having to be physically present in a specific geography, and technology can now support a ‘location independence’ strategy that hitherto had been a triumph of hope over practicality.”
Poulson points out: “Who cares where the email is sent from as long as it’s timely and accurate? Real-time operations can be managed from almost anywhere within the world and our ‘always-on’ and ‘demand-driven’ appetite for information, convenience and service is only as far away as your mobile device. Time has been shortened, distance reduced, speed accelerated, and access limited only by our own imaginations.” Wipro is the headline sponsor for the second year running of the VIP Club and Lounge for senior industry directors.
Illuminating High Street trends
Another global technology provider, BT, will use the show to host an innovation technology showcase called “The Future of Retail – Lighting up the High Street” that will showcase seamless shopping experiences across multiple channels. Richard Dodd, BT Expedite chief executive, commented: “You have to understand your customers across all the channels and that requires disparate systems to be talking to each other and for that information to be available when you need it – in the store or online.”
With one of the biggest research and development centres in the world, BT’s Future of Retail demonstrations will include how Wi-Fi, digital signage, augmented reality, radio frequency identification (RFID), social commerce, assisted service via iPads, retail analytics, managed payment and fraud reduction services and contactless payment applications can bridge the gap between off and online worlds.
Continuing the theme of joining up multichannel information to improve both the customer experience and bottom line, the event in March will also offer the perfect opportunity to see all elements of RFID in a practical environment in the NordicID RFID Zone. This feature will provide the definitive stage for the latest in the practical application of track and trace technology from the point of manufacture to the store, including RFID technologies and applications.
Mirva Saarijärvi, Nordic ID group marketing director, stated: “Retailers can realise a number of benefits from deploying RFID, including reduced costs and increased efficiencies, but one of the biggest benefits is uplift in sales through improved replenishment which, in straightened times, can do a lot to help a retailer’s bottom line.”
Not to mention the seminar programmes and exhibition, which we’ll examine in more detail over the next couple of weeks, visitors have the tantalising prospect of sipping champagne as they digest all of these attractions, courtesy of K3 Retail. Centrally located right in the heart of the show, the Champagne Bar will be the ideal meeting place to sit, unwind and relax. After two full, information-packed days, I certainly may see you there.