We recap the RetailEXPO 2019, including Detego’s presentation and our main impressions and insights from the event.
Event Review: RetailEXPO 2019 – Brick and Mortar stores aren’t going extinct – they’re evolving
The RetailEXPO 2019 is a wrap and we were thoroughly impressed with the event’s brand-new format this year. Combining the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE), Retail Design Expo (RDE) and Retail Digital Signage Expo (RDSE), made it an enormous event and a one-stop hub of Retail Technology and innovation. Not only were there hundreds of innovators and disruptors showcasing at the event, but several big retail brands also made appearances, Vodaphone, Moonpig, NatWest and Lego to name a few.
The diversity of solutions on display and topics being discussed in conferences was exciting, but we did notice some more common themes and technologies that were well represented. As you’d expect with a Retail Technology show, innovation was often a focus of presentations but more specifically consumer engagement, Omnichannel and, encouragingly, RFID seemed to be particularly hot topics.
The RetailEXPO featured over a hundred talks and presentations held across 6 stages. There was a huge selection of topics and categories but one thing they all seemed concerned with in one way or another was the ‘future of retail’. The conferences broadly all targeted innovating in order to thrive in the digital age. There was a focus on the potential that technology offers for retailers who are willing to embrace change and capitalise on new, often-disruptive, technologies.
Detego’s presentation: ‘Unlocking the potential of RFID’
Our Senior Marketing Executive, Luke Sinclair, led the presentation which, due to unforeseen circumstances, was altered from what was originally scheduled. The presentation broadly explored the previous limitations of RFID, and how the technology and price points have now reached a point of potential for retailers. It covered the multiple retail industries that can now look to utilise the tags as well as the different benefits that can be unlocked. The presentation also covered our ‘RFID in a box’ approach and how it is the most frictionless and efficient way of implementing the technology, using a three-phased approach that establishes key use cases first before scaling up and adding more advanced functionalities.
New technology trends in a changing retail landscape
A common theme in talks over the two days was new technological advancements, the speed that they are arriving, and the changing retail landscape as a direct result of this. In a presentation on ‘The new retail landscape’ and the ‘hyper-connected consumer’ Craig Crawford presented the multitude of technological innovations that are altering both the retail market and the typical retail customer. Some of the key insights were:
- Stores becoming digital & distribution hubs
- Digital innovation being a journey, not a project.
- The lack of, and therefore importance, of Instore data to the beauty industry, Crawford described it as ‘Gold dust’.
Similarly, Alex Sbardella discussed Technology Trends and what drives long term innovation. He set out an interesting best practice for modern retail: To be fun when you (the customer) want it to be, and fast when you don’t. Our key impressions were:
- The 3 steps to success utilising new technology being: Fragmentation, Innovation and Experience
- The conclusion that experiences move the needle, in other words, technology only becomes ingrained if it changes the experience for the retailer or, more importantly, the customer.
Disruption and innovation: Is it a choice anymore?
Innovation is obviously a common theme of the show (and perhaps of the industry in general). Several presentations at the event framed the concept in a fairly severe fashion. None more so than Martin Wild, whose conference on embracing digital transformation was titled ‘Innovate or Die’. Thankfully however, the tone was more of excitement and opportunity than impending doom, the key focuses being:
- Customer experience driving innovation
- Improving business operations using technology
- Creating an ‘innovation culture’
This idea of an innovation culture was one shared with Moonpig’s CPO, Ronan Tighe who presented a retailer’s perspective of the issue with his talk, ‘Disrupt or be disrupted’. He explained Moonpig’s company culture of attempting to disrupt their own business model before a competitor can do it for them.
If there was a single thing to take from the RetailEXPO 2019 it was that the future of Retail technology, and therefore of Retail in general, is exciting. We look forward to being a part of it, and we look forward to being a part of the RetailEXPO 2020, we hope to see you there.