IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 16 Mar 2020

Digital City Festival 2020: Our Top Takeaways

By Anna Murphy, Communications Lead

The famous Tony Wilson quote of “This is Manchester: we do things differently here” was certainly celebrated as the Digital City Festival opened its doors over 9th – 13th March 2020. Showcasing the best in digital, it had various speakers across tech, retail, marketing, eCommerce and the media, we walked the show floor to bring you our top takeaways.

Adam Warne, CIO at the N Brown Group, spoke about his experience as a modern CIO joining such a well-established company and how they’re using technology to bring innovation.

He said: “This might be a big claim, but we believe we were the first business to use the Royal Mail’s parcel service to ship products to customers. It doesn’t sound that exciting today but it was revolutionary when we started in 1883.

“Now, we’re trying to become 100% digital, which is quite a target when you consider that some customers still send us cash through the post. Whilst some of our customers are in their teens, some are in their late 90s. Despite that, the app today is one of our fastest growing channels. We needed to change, otherwise our competitors would overtake us.”

He also discussed innovation across product range. Displaying a few of the products across the N Brown Group range, such as a pair of size 18 trainers and a pair of 54” waist jeans, Adam said: “Using technology, we’ve scanned thousands of bodies to see how people’s bodies change and grow. We’re always trying to get the perfect fit, regardless of shape or size. We want to be the most loved inclusive fashion retailer in the industry. How can we make all of our customers look and feel amazing?”

Conor McIlduff, Channable’s Business Development UK team, spoke about how brands can create exciting and elaborate ways of connecting with their customers.

He said: “Just because your offering is neither exciting nor glamorous, it by no means indicates that you can’t have loyal customers. Channable was able to break free from the traditional tech stereotype to build a fiercely loyal customer base.”

He explained that Channable was able to build a strong network of brand ambassadors and hold events such as its popular “Customers’ Day”, where Channable ran user experience demos of their feed management solution, eCommerce talks and networking sessions.

Also speaking was Colin Neil, SVP Business Development at payment company, Adyen. He explanined the importance of remaining agile and needing to keep pace with changing customer needs, including a ‘tech first’ approach.

He said: “Technology should be about the enablement to grow. Speed to market is really, really important and retailers are moving away from traditional banks and legacy systems because they don’t move quickly enough.

“Omnichannel is a funny term – you should just call it retailing now. It’s all about having one view of the customer.”

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