The attendees were out in full force at day 2 of Tech, with the event starting early at the Founding Partners breakfast.
As retail week’s inaugural technology event comes to an end, we take a look at three key themes from day 2:
From ASOS to Google and Tesco, artificial intelligence was possibly the most discussed topic at Retail Week Tech across the two days, with Andrea Trochino, Technical Director, Asos proclaiming that AI will be the future of retail — ahead of augmented and virtual reality — on day 1 of the event. This sentiment was pushed even further on day 2 when Bryan Drove, CTO at Skyscanner put forward his view on how AI will bring about rapid change for retail unlike anything we have seen before, and as result, retailers must put openness, transparency and trust at the centre of this burgeoning technology.
In a world where retailers are looking to create differentiation and relevance for their consumers, betting big on personality is key to reaching new audiences; according to Jeff Nathenson, MD of Whistle Sports.
Creating “thumb stopping content” doesn’t come easy, but it’s required in order to connect with a Gen Z audience that has the shortest attention span on record. Nathenson cited several examples of how brand’s are partnering with content creators who produce truly relevant content for a new wave of customer. The recent signing of F2Freestylers by adidas — in the same way they would sign a major athlete like Paul Pogba — has proven very successful, giving adidas a direct line to some 5 million Gen z customers in a totally credible way. For retailers wanting to connect with he next generation of shoppers, get personal.
Omnichannel goes both ways
Perhaps the most salient point from the two days, was that retail growth will come from retailers considering a cross-section of channels; pureplays will need the scale of bricks and mortar, while at the same time, physical stores will need to harness the technology on which digital natives have built their businesses. This is brought to life in the examples of Amazon and Walmart, both crossing over into each others territories to look for new areas of growth.
Jon Rudoe, Head of Retail and Technology at Shop Direct told the Retail Week audience “online to offline is a two way street”.
Retail Week’s first foray into a tech-focused event was a great start. We were delighted to be involved and are already looking forward to next year.