IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 17 Mar 2014

Retail Business Technology Expo – 2014 – Show Highlights

Last week we visited the Retail Business Technology Expo at Earls Court in London; to catch up with some of our clients, to take a look at some of the technologies being exhibited, whilst also listening to some of the latest thinking regarding the future of retail.

For us the show had 3 main themes of:

  • Customer Service – A presentation by Charles Tyrwhitt shirts revealed that the business was built on ‘quality, value and service’.  These principles are the same in the business today.

This theme was echoed by others at the show.  With the presence of social media the importance of customer service becomes even greater.  If a great experience is had the customer is likely to ‘tweet’ or share this socially.  However, if they’ve had a bad experience the same is true.  Therefore, the importance of getting social opinion right through great customer service is imperative.

It is so much easier today for customers to access opinion, and the opinions of social peers.  It is a growing factor in the purchasing decision, particularly in the generation Y customer. According to latest research by Planet Retail, 44% of people see social media as a good source of reviews and recommendations. Charles Tyrwhitt stated that all feedback bad or good goes live on their website as soon as the opinion is given.  It is often from the bad feedback which they learn the most.  They learn how to do things differently next time, which is helping them to improve their customer service.

  • Mobile and Payment Technologies – Mobile is propelling multichannel retailing.  It appears that customers are demanding change, and retailers who have an omnichannel retail strategy will be the ones who will capture market share.

Not only are customers using their mobiles to research products or services, and use them for social sharing, but mobile payments are on the increase.  Gartner predicts that by 2015, 350 million people will use mobile to make payments.

  • In-store technology – Combining both the physical and online world in the store has been a common theme in retail over the last few years, yet some customers have been hesitant to engage with the technology.  Some of the figures from Planet Retail show that this might be starting to turn around with:
    • 14% of customers having used virtual mirrors in store
    • 20% of customers having engaged with staff with tablet devices
    • 22% of customers using digital display’s in store to search more products
    • 19% of shoppers visited in-store kiosks.

The other area shoppers want to see the combination of online and bricks and mortar retailing is when it comes to fulfillment and returns.  With 56% of shoppers wanting to return their online items to their local store, it is all about convenience for the customer, and facilitating a seamless journey regardless of channel.

Did you attend RBTE?  What were your thoughts and highlights from the show? Share your answers here or email us at

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