RBTE 2018: key takeways

Trends News 38 - RBTE 2018: key takeways

RBTE 2018: key takeways

Every year, RBTE is a must-attend event for retail players looking for the right tools, solutions or innovation. In today’s highly competitive retail landscape, innovation has never been as critical to the success of modern multichannel organisations. B.D.C. attended this two-days show and gives you few takeaways.


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Shaping, setting and delivering the strategic and commercial direction among John Lewis


One of our favorite talk has been the one gave by Louisa Nicholls, Senior Online Trading Manager for the Home section at John Lewis. Today, John Lewis performs £4.8bn turnover, has 50 shops and 1M SKUs. The historical department store chain is known for fashion, beauty as well as home furniture. Its home sales share represents 35% of its total turnover, with 25% made online. John Lewis also received awards in 2017 such as the “Best Homewares Retailer” or “Best Furniture Retailer”. So what makes John Lewis Home section so successful? They deeply work on understanding their customers needs. They analyse data, build customers portraits, identify customers shopping missions (urgent purchase, inspiration,…) and constantly drive new trends and products. In addition, curation through editorial or navigation as well as mobile remains absolutely key to them.

Louisa Nicholls ended by sharing valuable takeaways regarding data leading decisions :

  • Retailers must create a culture of ”data driven decision making” and remove emotion
  • Good enough data is hugely valuable (even though not perfect) and retailers must be agile
  • It is important to focus on actionable insights
  • Retailers must validate, test & learn, and fail fast


Omnichannel payments 


Payment was, without a doubt, one of the hot topics of RBTE 2018. Omnico, Tulip, Paypal, Worldpay, Square, Yoyo… many of them presented their solution and today we have decided to focus on Yoyo. Yoyo is a mobile payment and customer engagement platform that retains customers and maximises their value by seamlessly identifying customers at the POS. What is it valuable for retailers? Yoyo provides insights on shopping behaviours and enables brands to interact in a much more personalised way with customers (personalised push notification, promotions, etc.). Customers can use a Yoyo-powered app or Yoyo e-wallet to pay and automate loyalty collection, all in one place.


AI & voice technology


IDC has predicted that by 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives will be supported by some sort of cognitive computing or AI effort. AI should power 95% of all customer interactions by 2025, and it will do it so effectively that customers will not be able to “spot the bot.” In addition, a Juniper Research has predicted that chatbot conversations will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion per year by 2022, up from $20 million in 2017.

Voice commerce is an important topic for retailers and RBTE covered that topic as well. Amazon Pay, BT or Tokinomo, they have been few to showcase voice-powered technologies to ease transaction and shopping experience. During an interesting panel, “the impact of next genreation technology – such as AI and voice technology on retail”, Kathryn Malloch – Head of Customer Experience at Hammerson has been discussing how voice technologies are evolving to become part of the retail ecosystem. She is responsible for shaping the experience within Hammerson’s shopping centres and retail parks to help create destinations that excite shoppers, attract retailers, reward investors and serve communities. During her time at Hammerson she has led a number of innovative projects, including the launch of ‘Style Seeker’ which uses AI visual search technology to help shoppers find products easily.


Ocado and Google Cloud – AI to transform their retail platform


Ocado announced on May 2nd (first day of RBTE) a new partnership with the Swedish market leader, ICA Group. This is its 3rd major deal in six months as food retailers race to meet the challenge of online competition. The deal comes with the spotlight on the grocery sector after Britain’s Sainsbury’s agreed a £7.3 bn bid on Monday to buy Walmart’s Asda.

During RBTE, Jonty Angel, Head of Technology at Ocado Solutions (tech subsidiary of Ocado) has been discussing his collaboration with Google Cloud and how AI empowers every single steps of the order’s processing in their warehouses. Ocado built Ocado Smart Platform based on Google Cloud and developped the “Hive” – a top automated fulfilment solution providing a dense storage system that fits into existing warehouses and uses space more efficiently than traditional racking.



UK-France Retail night at the French Institute


To end the first day at RBTE, B.D.C. attended a highly valuable panel at the French Institute. The topic was ‘in the new age of unified retail, how can technology enhance customer experience and meet the demand for more personalisation?’. The panelists were Cécile Reinaud, Managing Director and Founder of Seraphine, Guy Tambling, IT & E-Commerce Operations Director at TFG Brands (London) Limited (including the brands Phase Eight, Hobbs and Whistles), Ous Ouzzani, Chief Digital Officer at Groupe Beaumanoir (CacheCache, Breal, Bonobo Jeans, Scottage, Morgan & Vib’s) and Romulus Grigoras, CEO and Founder of OneStock. RFID, delivery, automation, mobile,… they all shared their views on what personalisation and customer experience should be like. In addition, 13 French retail tech start-ups have been present showcasing their innovative solutions: advanced omnichannel (e)commerce solutions (Proximis), customer recommendation solution (Soyooz), chatbot platforms (BotFuel), Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) platforms (ReachFive), personalised promotional content solutions and many others.


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