There was little standing room left as Nick Wheeler, founder and owner of Charles Tyrwhitt opened The Retail Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014 yesterday.
Sharing his perspectives on retail innovation and the reasons behind the success of his business, the packed theatre heard the secrets behind the growth of Charles Tyrwhitt from humble beginnings as a mail-order shirt business in 1986 to a multichannel retailer with over 22 bricks and mortar stores worldwide and growing fast.
A strict focus on the customer and the use of innovation such as Feefo’s rating and review technology to enable a greater customer experience was the overriding piece of advice from the UK businessman.
Reinventing Physical Retail
The first session of the day was hosted by Kash Ghedia, Technologies Manager at Dixons Retail and addressed the reinvention of physical retail.
Highlighting recent research by Eccomplished, BoscaBox kicked off the innovator presentations discussing how retailers, with the right platform, can make better use of in-store digital media to enrich the in-store experience.
MarketHub followed, outlining how pricing intelligence at the shelf edge offers a way for retailers to reduce the need to discount, sell more, whilst driving up profitability.
The poor adoption and provision of in-store WiFi by modern retail was highlighted by Wittos as a big opportunity for retailers to meet the in-store requirements of today’s omnichannel, mobile-engaged customer.
HiperKinetic showed us how retailers can bring big data intelligence into physical world, understanding the customer path to purchase. PMC discussed uniting bricks and clicks by bringing the online experience in-store.
Customer Centric Commerce
Ometria kicked off the second Innovation Theatre session with an entertaining and interactive demonstration of how they can help retailers gain greater online customer insight for better ecommerce decisions, ensuring they sell the right products and driving online profitability.
The value of guided selling in driving conversion and customer loyalty, both online and in-store was addressed by SMARTASSISTANT, whilst Feefo discussed the power of consumer reviews for maximising customer lifetime value.
Atosho discussed how their distributed ecommerce platform can help consumers shop at the point at which demand is created and FrockAdvisor talked about how independent fashion retailers can help their customers find fashion in an omnichannel world.
Customer Experience Transformed
Brian Towshend, a retail consultant currently working with Marks & Spencer hosted our third and final session on the transformation of customer experience in front of another packed house.
Mobile experts Donky kicked off with a demonstration of how in-app messaging can transform customer experience, drive acquisition, retention and satisfaction. Then, image recognition innovator Style-Eyes showed how to help consumers find products they like from hundreds of retailers simply by taking a picture via their mobile phone.
Qudini addressed the challenge of customer service in-store and how creating an efficient in-store customer experience can have a significant impact on customer loyalty and ultimately, sales.
TalkDesk shared their eight lessons learned from one million support calls and how every customer who calls in to a retailer must be treated like a VIP.
Finally, ITAB talked about the reinvention of the checkout and how with the right technology, retailers can redeploy shop floor staff to more customer experience defining tasks.
Day two of the Retail Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014 started much in the same vein as day one. Packed sessions, innovative technologies and fresh insights into some of retail’s most pressing priorities and challenges.
If day one was all about the customer, then day two was about thinking outside the box. In particular:
- The technologies shaping the future of retail
- The need to start addressing ‘the last mile’
- The opportunity outside domestic markets
Tomorrow’s Retail World
The first session of the day was hosted by Eccomplished CEO Stephen Millard and showcased five innovators bringing to market technology that whilst may seem aspirational today, is fast becoming commonplace.
Sparkle cs was up first, with their ‘app store for the EPOS’ – taking away the headache, expense, implementation time and risk associated with making changes to the EPOS and making it as easy to update, experiment and adapt as your ecommerce site.
IS2you followed with the Wi-go – a next generation shopping trolley that intelligently follows the customer around the store. The Wi-go transforms the in-store experience, especially for customers with restricted mobility such as wheelchair users and the elderly, or simply for those with their hands full such as parents with young children.
Augmented reality was on display from the team at Sayduck, who amazed the audience with their demonstration of how retailers can enjoy 27% uplift in basket value by providing customers with the ability to bring products to life via their mobiles and tablets from the comfort of their own home.
Vee24 demonstrated that whilst physical retailers are trying to bring digital in-store, their video-based customer service technology brings the face-to-face in-store customer experience to the online world, increasing average order values by up to 35%.
The session concluded with distributed ecommerce provider Kiosked, who introduced the concept of ‘everywhere commerce’ and how they extend retail across the online world.
Delivering The Promise
Claire Muir, Head of Development for Amethyst Group hosted the second session of the day highlighting that with so much emphasis on the front end of the customer experience, what about the ‘last mile’ – arguably the most important part of the customer journey – the point at which a customer receives and is happy with their product?
Storpal kicked off with their platform for simplifying the retail supply chain for greater customer experience, choice and fulfilment options.
Cloud-based delivery management platform provider Scurri then took to the stage and talked about how retailers can simplify the delivery process and take more control of the customer delivery experience.
Clear Returns concluded the session by outlining that it’s not what a customer buys that is important, but what they keep and how their predictive analytics technology helps ecommerce retailers grow keeps and grow profits.
Unlocking International Markets
The final session of this year’s Retail Innovation Theatre was introduced by M&M Direct CIO, Graham Benson and addressed the challenges of growing overseas business, both from an online and physical retail perspective.
EpiServer were first up, demonstrating how their platform can help overcome the various challenges faced by growing retail business overseas from content localisation to legal, financial and logistical considerations.
Intelligent Reach outlined the various online channels that retailers can use to extend their reach into international markets and how with their platform, you can launch, monitor and analyse cross border campaigns across multiple channels.
The challenges of international payments were addressed by Pensio who talked about the complexity in understanding and being able to transact across different territories.
The last innovator of the series was Concrete, who discussed their solution for helping retailers get visibility and control over a large network of international physical stores and how to work effectively with the in-region people that run them, driving sales and brand compliance.
This year’s Retail Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014 was a big success and Eccomplished would like to thank everyone who made it possible – Nick Wheeler, of Charles Tyrwhitt, all of our session hosts, the teams at RBTE and Essential Retail, Simon our technician and most importantly the 27 innovators, without whom, there would have been no innovation!
See you at the London Olympia next year!