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Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) review

Thousands of visitors once again flocked to Europe’s leading retail solutions event, Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE), at London Olympia last month. The two-day annual event on 8-9 May was the biggest to date, with more than 370 suppliers on show along with a stellar line-up of retailers and industry experts speaking in over 60 sessions across three theatres.

Retails key issues, challenges and innovations were discussed by inspirational retail speakers including; Dave Robinson, Head of Personalisation, Boots; Frank Muzika, UK Lead Executive, Toys R Us; Beverley Murigneux, Head of International, Boux Avenue; Sean O’Connor, Head of Product for Buy, Mobile and Customer Experience, John Lewis; Martin Goldstein, Head of Purchasing, River Island; Alexander Allen, Director of Strategy & Business Development, Maplin; Steve Moore, Director of Connected Home, Dixons Carphone and Kræn Østergaard Nielsen, CTO, COOP DENMARK.

RBTE 2017 attracted all the retail movers and shakers from across the globe, all hungry for ideas, information, products and solutions to help them run their retail organisation even more effectively. They came to do business with the wide range of exhibitors who enjoyed a hugely successful show, with many exhibitors already rebooked for the 2018 edition.

Visitors were blown away by the latest innovation and future tech in retail including robots, AI, drones and many other types of data-gathering inventions on display, which allow retailers to collect data around buying needs and increase in-store customer experiences.

A big trend that came through this year was Cloud technology, which offers greater payment/omni-channel security and peace of mind for customers to make their buying journey even more streamlined.

Trail & Awards

The popular Innovation Trail & Awards, sponsored by Aptos, were back in 2017 offering visitors a great opportunity to experience first-hand exhibitors’ very best solutions, products and services that are shaping the way the retail and branding industry will evolve.

Shortlisted entries were featured in the Innovation Trail at RBTE, and were highlighted on the ‘Winners Wall’ at the event. In a very hotly contested and close competition, the judges couldn’t decide between two companies for the coveted award, so in an RBTE first, there were two winners for this year’s award. MariElla Labels Oy for its electronic price labels product, EllaFashion, and SmartPixels for its innovative product, Projected Augmented Reality.

The show offered endless networking opportunities for the retail community in attendance, from the Dilax Big Party on day one, K3 retailer lounge, the gloodoo champagne bar, happy hours, roundtables and retailer networking events.

In its aftermath, visitors and exhibitors alike have been keen to praise the show, and the quality of discussions, audience, products, innovation and networking on offer across the two days.

RBTE 2017 feedback

“I like coming to RBTE because you can do a couple of months’ worth of research in a couple of days. It’s really good to be able to go round and see vendors and find out exactly what they’re doing without having to commit to a huge amount of lead time and chasing up and follow up meetings.” Jason Cook, Head of I.T, Neals Yard Remedies

Sean O’Connor, Head of Online Product, John Lewis commented: “This is my first time at RBTE and it’s been good, it’s been really good actually to have so many different providers all under one roof means you can kind of get right around the floor, see lots of different things all in a short space of time and that’s been really helpful to me.”

“I think RBTE is a great forum to get together all sorts of technical companies and retailers that look at solutions and how we can better serve customers in the future. So lots of technology solutions that will help in moving points of sale to the cloud and giving a better experience, and from a retailer point of view of course being able to then engage in a better way with our customers.” Said Janine Albrecht Webb, GM Digital & Marketing Technology Integration, Shell.

Rebecca Ruddle, Head of Showrooms, said: “A show like RBTE connects people in the industry with the most emerging technologies. You’re able to network and interact with a lot of different brands. You’re able to hear really inspirational speakers in your field. It’s a fantastic show.”

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