Retail Technology Show 2023 – Editor’s Picks

Ahead of the 2023 Retail Technolgy Show taking place on 26 - 27 April at London’s Olympia conference centre, Retail Systems editor Jonathan Easton provides his must-sees for the event

With over 300 exhibitors and more than 100 speakers set to take over the Olympia later this month, I am hard pressed to select just a handful of the sessions that I’d recommend to attendees, and I would encourage you to start planning your own journey with the conference guide on the Retail Technology Show website.

That being said, it is hard to look beyond the presence of Steven Bartlett, the Sunday Times best-selling author and founder of social media marketing agency Social Chain. As one of Europe’s brightest young entrepreneurs – not to mention the youngest-ever investor to join the BBC's Dragon's Den and the host of Europe’s most-downloaded podcast– his fireside chat on 27 April at 10:50 on the Headline Theatre stage will provide retailers of all shapes and sizes with vital insight on the power of social media marketing and ways that you can take your business leadership to the next level.

While Bartlett’s headline-grabbing session on social media will no doubt attract a broad range of attendees, another fireside I'd like to highlight is more specifically about how retailers can mitigate the risks of financial and returns fraud. Taking place at Theatre B on 27 April at 13:05, Corin Dennison, director, global profit protection/risk at Adidas will speak to Assured co-founder and content director Eleanor Dallaway about how the seemingly innocuous practice of product returns can be a major vehicle for fraud and discuss how investing in the right technology is vital in fighting back.

For another intriguing discussion on technology, head to Theatre B on 26 April at 15:05 for a keynote panel discussion where speakers from Deliveroo, the British Retail Consortium, Ann Summers and Bravissimo will predict how key innovations impacting retail today will evolve by 2028. This session will touch on topics ranging from the metaverse and artificial intelligence to retail automation and evolutions in payments. It is sure to provide a high-level overview of future trends for the industry.

But while it's all well and good looking at how the industry is going to change in the next five years, the immediate impact of climate change and sustainability will be top of the agenda on 27 April in Theatre A at 11:30. Speakers from The Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines, eBay, Pentland Brands, Abel & Cole and RETHINK Retail will discuss how a positive socio-economic impact can increase a retailer's perceived value. This session will cover important questions on the importance of social impact to consumers and how retailers can best ensure their production chains are aligned with a socially responsible strategy.

Another tech-oriented pick is taking place at 13:45 at Theatre B on 26 April, as Dr. John Mildinhall, head of data science for retail, digital and technology at Marks & Spencer will take a deep dive into artificial intelligence. The esteemed neuropsychologist will present a compelling session on how AI can deliver increased profit, presenting real-world examples where data science has delivered millions of pounds extra profit to the supermarket.

My final suggestion for this list is another panel discussion taking place on 27 April at 15:05 at the Headline Theatre where key decision makers from major retailers like John Lewis and Walgreens Boots Alliance will reflect on the past three years of omnichannel retail. This blockbuster session will cover everything from the impact of Covid-19 to Brexit, with panellists painting a picture of the good, the bad and the ugly of omnichannel retail and discuss the lessons learned.

These are just a handful of highlights from the conference programme, but I heartily encourage you to head over to the Retail Technology Show website ahead of the conference to plan your own journey across the two days to ensure that you can maximise your enjoyment of this major event for the industry.

Click here for more information about the Retail Technology Show, taking place 26 - 27 April, Olympia, London.

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