As the countdown to one of the UK’s most keenly-awaited retail events begins, there is plenty of anticipation afoot about the must-attend sessions.

Sebastian James’ opening keynote is likely to be both eloquent and entertaining and a don’t miss for anyone interested in figuring out how to create a retail business in the digital age, Also, with the influence of social media growing exponentially in today’s retail landscape, the session on ‘Living in a selfie world: how far will the connected consumer go?’ could be useful for an understanding of Social’s far-reaching consequences for retail brands.

A key issue for retail right now is how to engage, and therefore drive loyalty, with customers. Digital, if used in an elegant way, can drive conversion, customer individualisation and loyalty. However, moving from a sales led organisation to one which places customer engagement and experience at the heart of everything involves a leap of faith few retailers have been able to make just yet, which is why a grasp of how ‘Delivering exceptional results through exceptional store experiences’ may be valuable.

With consumers increasingly expecting cheap food, perfect looking fruit and vegetables, convenience from point of purchase to fulfillment, availability 24×7, greater range and so on from grocery chains, is the current model sustainable? With Ocado posting a profit, do we have reason to be more optimistic? What will the impact of price and brand engagement be on sales? As Mike Coupe establishes himself in the top job at Sainsbury’s, ‘Transformation in the grocery market – causes & consequences’ should provide some interesting insights into this rapidly-changing arena.

Also on show at Retail Week will be a host of new products and services that should be of interest to those keen to get a sense of what’s hot. Zensar Technologies, for instance, will be showcasing its Omnipresent Commerce and Connected Enterprise solutions that have been getting rave reviews since their recent launch.

What is interesting about Zensar’s Connected Enterprise solutions is its ability to create a flexible yet secure and seamless ecosystem where businesses can leverage the power of real time information to offer operational insights at the right time to make informed business decisions at the speed of conversations.

With the Omnipresent Commerce strategy, Zensar has created an innovative solution that will set new standards for brick and mortar stores to be connected ‘smart and secure’ and will give them the same rich metrics to monitor traffic, cart abandonment, path tracking and real time inventory visibility. Conversely, online stores are being offered the same rich merchandising and social interactivity as brick and mortar. Retailers can thus look forward to improved customer engagement and conversions through personalised and well curated assortments across channels.

This year’s Retail Week promises to be an innovative showcase of the finest in retail.

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