Archive Features

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Alexandra Leonards spoke to Jasmine Wicks-Stephens, founder of UK cosmetics brand Faace, who recently graced our screens when she received funding from Steven Bartlett, Touker Suleyman and Peter Jones on the BBC's Dragon’s Den.
While disruption in the region has been ongoing since last year, retailers will likely feel the impact most in the coming weeks and months ahead. Alexandra Leonards reports.
Amid a wave of online retailers opening physical stores, Alexandra Leonards speaks to Gareth Newman, founder of British e-commerce clothing brand Blakely, to explore how experiential retail is becoming a cornerstone of the brand, the importance of a social media presence, and why opening stores and pop-ups has done wonders for the company.
What are the benefits of introducing a Single Trade Window, what challenges need to be considered throughout its development, and how may the future of trade at the UK border once the system is introduced? Ross Law reports.
Retail Systems news editor Alexandra Leonards caught up with Tony Craddock, founder of The Payments Association, to talk about everything from the impact of generative AI on the market to how payments firms need to do more for consumers during the cost-of-living crisis.
After the launch of ChatGPT last November, retailers are evaluating how they can take advantage of the latest developments in generative AI. Alexandra Leonards, News Editor, explores the ways in which brands are already using the technology and how it’s likely to be harnessed by the industry in the not-too-distant future
The concept of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) has been around for some time and has been gaining traction in recent years, with research suggesting that investment in global sustainability funds has catapulted over the past five years. Despite a growing appetite amongst consumers for sustainable products and services, some retailers still appear to be behind on their environmental goals and strategies.
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
During the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, jobs losses and employment instability caused the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) sector to flourish as consumers looked for ways to spread the cost of purchases.
To mark International Women’s Day, Alexandra Leonards spoke to a group of women leading the way in retail about the hurdles they have faced, their career highlights, and asked them what advice they’d give to future generations of women.
The past 12-months have been both transformative and challenging for the retail market, with retailers experimenting with new technologies and strategies whilst grappling with an uncertain macro-economic environment, supply chain disruption, and a deepening cost-of-living crisis
There’s a risk that - without proper controls - the digital phenomenon of the Metaverse will facilitate deep-rooted problems far worse than those created by social media. Alexandra Leonards looks at the potential threats and gains of an augmented world.
Over the past 12 months, retailers across the UK have faced a myriad of challenges, from supply chain issues to labour shortages and continued uncertainty.
The technology promises so much, but its progression beyond runway couture is slow. Alexandra Leonards finds out what’s holding it back.
Achieving fluidity across channels is crucial to survival in an ever-changing retail market. Alexandra Leonards discovers how retailers are adapting to the new normal by embracing technology and reinventing the store.
Alexandra Leonards explores what regulation might mean for the future of Buy Now Pay Later and looks at how the market has responded to the government’s decision to green-light new rules.
Under the new guidelines, retailers still aren’t legally obliged to cut ties with modern slavery. Alexandra Leonards reveals why the latest measures aren’t likely to change things on the ground, and explores how retailers must look beyond the legal minimum to rid their supply chains of forced labour.
As the year of disruption draws to a close, Alexandra Leonards identifies the top retail trends of the past 12 months and explores what they mean for the industry next year.
The recent announcement that Amazon has started using palm scanning payment technology shone a light on the rise of biometric technology – and whether or not consumers are ready to let their bodies be part of transactions.
The ethics of retailer supply chains has been called into question recently, with brands now rushing to implement technology that gives better visibility into how products are made, sourced and shipped. The scandal that brought the issue into focus most recently was a report in July on Boohoo’s UK supply chain that had a significant impact on the company’s share price and reputation.
One fairly predictable consequence of the Coronavirus lockdown has been a marked increase in the amount of online shopping – but how is the delivery and logistics sector dealing with the spike in demand this has caused?
With High Street clothing and footwear retailers among the hardest hit by the Coronavirus lockdown, some are suggesting that those going under would be better to re-emerge as online-only brands.
The Coronavirus crisis has hit many industries hard, but those grocers expected to keep the nation fed and watered have been criticised in recent weeks for not being able to handle the surge in demand. The self-isolation advice and eventual lockdown across the UK has led people to stockpile certain key items, putting a serious strain on ‘just in time’ replenishment models not prepared for such spikes in sales – especially while dealing with staff shortages that cut available manpower by as much as a quarter.
Theft has been an issue for retailers for as long as shops have existed, but recent statistics from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggest it is once again on the rise. According to the BRC, the direct cost of criminal theft stood at £700 million in the year to March 2019, up 31 per cent from the previous year. In all, the total cost of crime to retailers stood at £1.9 billion, with £900 million from criminal activity and £1 million from efforts to prevent it. The real cost is likely to be higher still, with many retailers failing to report instances in the first place.
Sustainability and the environment have shot up the business agenda recently, as consumers have become more demanding of the companies they deal with; with retailers increasingly implementing technology to help them meet those demands.
Retail’s Big Show, organised by the NRF, rolled into New York City last week, showcasing the latest technologies in the sector. Among the most competitive areas were those involving the management of inventory, with a number of providers presenting differing solutions relying on computer vision technology and algorithms to determine and manage stock levels on the shelf.
Retailers are becoming increasingly intelligent in the way they use data within their businesses, but it is still early days in terms of them fully leveraging the value, especially across multiple channels.
It was announced this week that with only a month to go until the deadline for implementation of the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has agreed an 18-month extension. While this new plan will be welcomed by card issuers, payments firm and online retailers, there is clearly still a lot of work to do in terms of preparing the security technology, checkout experience and consumer expectations in time for March 2021.
The advent of 5G phone networks - promised to be rolled out across the UK from next year - could bring the mobile internet speed and stability required for retailers to really commit to innovative technology projects. The government is supporting 5G by incorporating it into its Industrial Strategy, having pledged £1 billion towards digital infrastructure, while the bidding process for 5G licences opened to the telecoms industry last year, with testing underway in certain parts of the country.
The future of the High Street, cutting edge in-store technology, new payment methods and trying to keep up with e-commerce giants were among the topics covered at this year’s RetailEXPO. The two-day conference formerly known as RBTE took place this week, with sessions dominated by tech-niques designed to help retailers - both physical and online - innovate themselves back into firmer financial footing.
Cashierless shopping trials are currently underway with a range of retailers across the US and Europe, but concerns around shop security could hold back the roll-out of the technology. In the last 12 months, the Co-Operative and Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK have run in-store pilot schemes, while Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn recently deployed MishiPay’s mobile self-checkout solution in the world’s biggest electronics store in Hamburg.
Almost 40,000 senior retailers and IT suppliers descended on New York last week for the annual get-together that is Retail’s Big Show, organised by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Although there were lots of cutting edge solutions on display, there was also plenty of evidence of technologies that clearly have an identifiable return on investment (ROI). This sat alongside the widespread acknowledgment among retailers that none of this technology works unless they have put in place the relevant infrastructure via a digital transformation.
Almost every large retailer now has a mobile app, most of which are designed to let customers shop online and access loyalty offers easier, but the prevalence of individual apps is running the risk of users deleting all but the most engaging.
From the death of the High Street to the technologies that are going to save it, the rise of e-commerce and advances in how to deliver all those orders – we’ve pulled together all the most interesting retail industry predictions for 2019. Forrester crystal ball gazing put retail tech investments at $25 billion for the year. “Following a pause from 2014-2016, annual funding in retail tech investments are expected to accelerate next year, pushing the category past $100 billion in aggregate with a 35 per cent year-on-year growth.”
As mobile commerce continues to grow, consumers are increasingly using voice assistants on their phones and in their homes to ask questions and eventually buy products, leading retailers to jockey for top position in the search results that provide the answers. High Street brands are investing in-house and partnering with tech startups to help improve the search engine optimisation (SEO) across e-commerce websites, as the advent of voice search has changed which content comes first.
The Tech. conference at London’s Printworks brought the retail industry’s most innovative companies together for two days of speeches, debates and demonstrations. From new startups to industry giants, the messages were similar – ignore technological advancement in-store and online at your peril.
Dean Frew, chief technology officer at the SML Group, talks to Retail Systems about his career and views on the industry.
Infosecurity Europe 2018 provided much food for thought for visitors working in the retail sector. There were familiar risks to consider, new reasons to feel anxious, as well as the usual mix of practical tips and cautionary tales.
Despite a spate of High Street closures this year increasing talk of the death of physical retail, several industry stakeholders have argued that re-designed brand outposts are still a crucial part of any retailer’s omnichannel strategy.
Personalisation and mobile optimisation were the order of the day at the Retail Business Technology Expo, with industry players stressing the importance of understanding the consumer throughout the conference sessions.
The first day of Retail Business Technology Expo 2018 saw a variety of different suggestions for how technology could help solve retailers’ problems on and offline.
A lack of warnings from manufacturers, risk control from companies and oversight from the government is creating a cyber security nightmare around devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), according to one expert. A recent Trustwave survey showed 64 per cent of organisations have deployed some level of IoT technology, with another 20 per cent planning to do so within the next 12 months. The proliferation of such connected devices worries Ian Kilpatrick, executive vice president for cyber security at Nuvias Group.
Jaime Sánchez-Laulhé, the founder and chief executive of location intelligence solution Geoblink, talks to Retail Systems about his career and views on the industry.
Retail Systems catches up with Bryony Elliott, the co-founder of Hullabalook, to find out more about this retail technology startup that says it is putting “the disco back into product discovery”.
Record-breaking numbers of visitors descended on New York City from 14-16 January for the 2018 edition of Retail’s Big Show, all in search of the latest technology solutions that they hope will help them navigate these very challenging times for the industry.
The ways in which new technology could help retailers find a better balance between security and a more frictionless customer experience were discussed in detail at PayTech Live!, part of the FinTech Connect Live! event held at London’s ExCeL on 6-7 December.
Nick Brackenbury, the co-founder and CEO of NearSt, chats with Retail Systems about the retail startup which is using technology to transform the High Street shopping experience.
Nicky Felix is the founder and owner of Box2, which began as a retail store in Brighton back in 1980. In 2000, she identified a gap in the market for clothing in larger sizes and now runs a successful online fashion and accessories shop. Retail Systems speaks to Felix about her e-commerce experiences and how small retailers can use the online channel to boost their business.
Knitting together digital technology and connectivity with their physical stores continues to be at the top of traditional retailers’ agendas. At the recent Wired Retail conference in London there was no escaping the fact this is an issue that retailers continue to grapple with as new technology solutions constantly emerge around them.
The well-documented ‘death of the High Street’ is supposedly dawning upon us, with the growing dominance of e-commerce and the declining footfall figures across the country’s town and city centres regularly discussed across the industry.
Andre Hordagoda, the co-founder of GoInStore, chats with Retail Systems about the retail technology startup which is using live streaming to bring online customers in-store.
In the cut-throat world of online retail, everyone is talking about user generated content (UGC). As the online space becomes increasingly crowded and consumer mindshare harder to retain, many retailers have found opportunity in social media. It’s easy to see why. Customers are spending less time on retailer websites and more time chatting and sharing with their friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
This June saw another buzzing Money 20/20 Europe show take place in Copenhagen. Retail Systems catches up with event director Sophie Wawro and content director Pat Patel to get their take on 2017’s conference and exhibition.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018. The GDPR builds on the Data Protection Act by setting out the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of organisations who generate and store information about those individuals. Should modern retailers be concerned?
Retail Systems catches up with David Levine, founder and CEO of DigitalBridge, to find out more about this augmented reality-based tech startup.
When you think about counterfeit goods, often your mind goes straight to high-end clothing or accessories. Low cost, yet seemingly high quality and genuine products are mass produced, often fooling even the die-hard fashionistas. The word ‘fake’ does not necessarily resonate with food though, despite the horsemeat scandal from a few years ago.
With a seemingly endless stream of stories about data theft and other forms of cyber crime having afflicted every industry, including retail, during the past year, the Infosecurity Europe conference and exhibition is arguably more relevant for the retail sector now than ever before. Alongside the range of useful technologies being showcased at the exhibition, visitors to the London show on 6th-8th June were able to attend a programme of presentations and panel discussions on the keynote stage, focusing on a range of security subjects.
Retail Systems chats with Georgina Nelson, the founder of customer ratings provider TruRating, about her career and views on the industry.
More than 17,000 visitors flocked to one of Europe’s leading retail sector events, Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE), at London Olympia earlier this 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 streams. The Retail Systems team was on hand to cover the whole conference, with Anthony Strzalek reporting from day one and Chris Lemmon from day two.
Unified commerce and consolidating omnichannel strategies were the key themes of 2017’s Cegid Connections conference last month. Over 450 retailers and industry figureheads gathered in Budapest to hear keynote speakers, retail organisations and technology partners discuss the continuing importance of the customer journey, the changing nature of retail, and how the roll-out of technology is helping both shape and deliver new consumer experiences.
UK retailing is going online and mobile. According to industry estimates, UK shoppers will spend roughly £67 billion online in 2017, of which around £27 billion will be via mobile devices. Although online spending is still slightly less than a fifth of total UK retail spending – which in 2016 was about £358 billion – it is rising fast and eating up an increasing slice of High Street profits. It is also estimated that the mobile phone shopping market will grow by roughly a quarter this year. And this new style of shopping is about to revolutionise British retailing by delivering the IT industry's long-awaited promise of ‘Any3’, the ability to deliver anything, anywhere, at any time.
Derek O’Carroll, the CEO of omnichannel retail management platform Brightpearl, talks to Retail Systems about his career and views on the industry.
With the balance of power having firmly shifted into the hands of consumers it is a major challenge for all retailers to adapt their models to this dynamic and provide the best customer experience possible. Offering up the optimum service is at the heart of healthy snacking business Graze, whose ability to deliver on this front has been made much easier by it viewing itself as a technology company rather than a retailer. Its IT focus impacts not only on the interface with customers but also the way it creates a constant flow of new products.
The digital era has turned the retail industry upside down. The customer purchase journey is more complex than ever before, the Internet of Things is becoming a reality faster than most can comprehend, and showrooming (the practice of visiting a shop to examine a product before buying it online at a lower price) is on the rise.
Retail Systems chats with Samuel Mueller, the CEO of barcode scanning specialists Scandit, about his career and views on the industry
With all technology it is only a matter of time before it becomes ubiquitous and infiltrates every aspect of modern life; and the time is coming for augmented reality to enter the realm of retail.
Delivery is becoming an increasingly important aspect in the way retailers are differentiating themselves from their rivals, and it is the UK that is leading the way in the number of options retailers are providing their customers, including next day delivery.
This January, leading IT providers and senior executives from retailers around the world descended on New York City for Retail’s Big Show, organised by the National Retail Federation (NRF) to help them plot their future strategies.
2016 was another bumper year for the adoption of new and more established technologies in the retail sector, and this trend sees no sign of abating as we enter 2017. E-commerce continues to grow and retailers are discovering and implementing more innovative ways to interact with consumers both online and in-store, including through the use of biometric and virtual reality technologies. Over the past 12 months we have witnessed the rise of contactless payments and other smart payment methods, but the UK has also seen the introduction of a new polymer £5 note and ATM withdrawals break all-time records despite reports predicting the death of cash by 2020. So what can we expect in the retail sector over the coming year? A range of industry experts have outlined to Retail Systems their predictions for the next 12 months…
Retail Systems catches up with Patrick Wall, the CEO of delivery management technology firm MetaPack, about his career and views on the industry.
How did you get into the sector?
I had experience of retail and consumer goods organisations before becoming general manager of a national parcels carrier. I helped to turn this around and learnt that specialisation was the only route forward for parcel carriers. I then consulted for a couple of years. This gave me exposure to early-stage internet companies, which brought several interests together and prompted the launch of MetaPack in 1999.
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the world of retail, but for all the talk of cutting edge systems the reality is that the aim of all these solutions is to simply remove the friction in the shopping journey for customers and improve their overall experience. This was an underlying theme at November’s Wired Retail conference in London where analytics, VR (virtual reality), AI (artificial intelligence) and conversational commerce were all discussed – but this was in the context of how they can be utilised to ultimately improve the customer experience.
eCommerce Expo returned to London’s Olympia on 27 and 28 September, where more than 100 retailers, payments providers, marketing firms and technology suppliers showcased their latest concepts on the exhibition floor and shared their thoughts on the online retail industry in the UK and worldwide within the conference streams.
Questions over the profitability of online grocery and the increasing importance of the mobile channel continue to sit high up the agendas of food retailers judging by the frequency they were mentioned at the recent IGD 'Online and Digital Summit 2016' in London.
The vast majority of purchases still take place in stores, and over the last three years we’ve seen many retailers race to optimise their in-store customer-facing technologies, in order to engage shoppers and drive more sales. But is their investment paying off?
Many subjects under discussion at Infosecurity Europe 2016 – including security threats associated with the cloud, mobility, social networks and the Internet of Things, and the need to ensure compliance with the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – are highly relevant to any retailer using online service and payment channels.
Customer data is becoming increasingly integral to the retail environment, alongside the ability to create a unique user experience. Having such data readily accessible in an ‘Always-On’ retail world can often mean the difference between consumer favour and suffering significant reputational damage. Thanks to the fast pace of technological innovation, and its associated ease of use, many consumers have come to expect a more integrated digital and real-world relationship with retailers. Whether it is a case of participating in online shopping or looking for specials at their favourite outlet, the world of retail has changed significantly over recent years.
Beacons were once lauded as the saviour of retail marketing, a revolution in triggered marketing campaigns that would give marketers amazing new insights into shopper behaviour and the types of incentives likely to trigger purchase from customers shopping at different times of the day, at different locations within a store, and so on. Yet the reality is that Beacon hype has significantly outweighed business value to date.
Will the 4G and phablet generation become an army of smartphone shoppers? Lee Perkins, EVP & Managing Director, Sage UK & Ireland, writes exclusively for Retail Systems
Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) returned to London’s Olympia over 9th-10th March, providing a platform for leading technology companies and senior retailers to join forces and map out their future strategies. Needless to say digital was at the forefront of attendees’ minds and this was reflected in many of the solutions displayed on exhibitors’ stands and in the topics discussed during the various conference streams.
Retail Systems chats to Alison Wiltshire, head of retail and consumer goods industry practice, BT Global Services
Just ahead of the blizzards hitting New York in late-January, the retail technology industry stormed on the US city for Retail’s Big Show, organised by NRF, with 34,000 influential players keen to hear about the latest innovations from the 580 exhibitors. Glynn Davis reports
When was the last time you pressed the “buy” button to purchase something online? You are probably among the 95 per cent of British consumers who now shop online and mirror a global trend. In the world’s most populous nation, it is estimated that half a billion Chinese are online. To put that into context, picture a market that combines the populations of the United States and Brazil – yes, that’s pretty sizeable. Now take into account that China's economy is worth nearly $11 trillion and the 2015 Singles Day shopping festival generated $14.3 billion – smashing the 2014 record by $5 billion. You have a large, lucrative market that can’t be ignored. So, what strategies should an e-commerce retailer pursue to succeed in the country?
Retail Systems chats to Mark Denton, head of retail propositions, BT Expedite
So, farewell then 2015. And hello 2016. To kick things off, Retail Systems brings you 16 retail technology-related predictions for the year ahead
Ben Jordan is managing director, Card Network Solutions, the company behind Cardivation, payment card technology which adds intelligence to any existing card scheme through a combination of cloud and tokenisation technologies
New research has revealed a surge in consumer self-confidence and willingness to share personal information in return for concierge-level service in-store. Gavin Mee, area vice president for enterprise, UKI at Salesforce, discusses the findings and the opportunity for forward-thinking retailers
Transport for London, Barclays, wagamama, William Hill, VocaLink, Earthport and SWIFT were among the winners at the 2015 Payments Awards, which took place in London during November
Retail Systems looks back at a hugely eventful and, dare we say it, gamechanging 2015
With Black Friday 2015 done and dusted, Retail Systems brings you lessons learned and views on what lies ahead
With the advent of internet connectivity the worlds of technology and retail have become increasingly intertwined. Both retailers and the technology firms that deliver solutions to merchants used the recent Wired Retail 2015 conference to reveal some of the ways they now crossover and to also highlight how technology platforms are becoming almost ubiquitous
Good capacity planning for Black Friday is crucial, argues Jason Tavaria, head of direct, Shutl
Eurostop’s Phillip Moylan focuses on Black Friday 2015 and how to ensure your business benefits from the biggest shopping day of the year
Black Friday reveals the challenges and the rewards in getting omnichannel retail right, says Stuart Higgins, retail partner at LCP Consulting
Scott Thompson reviews the 2015 FStech/Retail Systems Payments Conference, which took place in London during October
Retail Systems chats to Skype co-founder Ahti Heinla, who has launched a new company, Starship Technologies, which will see delivery robots hitting the streets next year
House of Fraser, McDonald’s, Shop Direct, Specsavers, Doddle and BookingBug were among the winners at the 2015 Retail Systems Awards, which took place in London during October
Richard Rodgers is CEO at GoSend, a recently launched service which aims to put an end to hefty international shipping charges when shopping online, making US retailers more accessible and affordable
Jens Saltin is Head of Expansion at Klarna, an online checkout solution and payments provider that aims to simplify buying for consumers and retailers
Glynn Davis provides a progress report on Zapp, the UK mobile payments startup formed by VocaLink
Patrick Byrne is founder and CEO at US online retailer Overstock. Initially built to sell surplus and returned stock through an online store, it now offers new merchandise and ships to almost 100 countries worldwide. Overstock cleared $1.5 billion in sales in 2014, with the most recent quarter showing a 17 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue. The website recently celebrated its 16th birthday.
The end of this summer saw a notable dip in UK online sales. Could this be because savvy shoppers are holding out for the sales season? The Christmas retail period, typically adorned with festive offers, kicks off on Black Friday – a calendar day that, up until recently, was recognised in the US alone, and is now infamous.
Black Friday is very exciting for the industry and consumers alike and yet another US convention that has been exported to the UK very successfully. Taking place on 27 November this year, it has traditionally been an opportunity for High Street retailers to offload their slow sellers and excess stocks before Christmas, but with the rise in e-commerce, it has become a huge e-commerce phenomenon. Pureplay retailers have picked up on the event and see it as an opportunity to hold flash sales, but unlike the bricks and mortar stores they can and do oversell, because many don’t usually physically hold any stock and are effectively box shifting for manufacturers based on sales generated.
Scott Thompson and Michelle Stevens review the 2015 Retail Systems Multi-Channel Conference
Getting the best price on clothes, food, electronics, and home ware, has become something of an obsession for British people over the last few years. A recent survey by Blue Yonder highlighted that 85 per cent of people in the UK try some sort of bargain hunting when shopping, whether it be online or on the High Street, and it is unlikely that this figure will decrease any time soon.
Any new launch by tech titan Apple is guaranteed to arrive to a great fanfare. Apple fanboys happily queue around the block to be the first to get their hands on new products. But the response to its Apple Pay service has been markedly less fevered, notes Hannah Prevett
When, back in the 90s, the web evangelists were predicting that online would change the world, even they almost certainly didn’t foresee the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). David Adam reports
Over recent years we have seen retail transform into a place where digital and mobile platforms lead the way. What was once a small part of the industry has grown into something consumers, and retailers, can no longer live without. As a result, consumers can now choose the shopping experience they prefer – whether it’s through their mobile device, online or in-store
Jerome Laredo is vice president - EMEA and Asia at Lightspeed POS, a cloud PoS platform provider for retailers and restaurants, which recently secured $61 million in funding co-led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Investissement Québec (IQ), alongside existing investors Accel Partners and iNovia Capital. This brought its total funding to date to $126 million. The cash will be used to support the company’s global growth, technology infrastructure enhancements and overall omnichannel offering. Currently more than 25,000 customers in 100-plus countries use Lightspeed, processing over $10 billion annually.
The huge surge in demand on Black Friday 2014 was unprecedented and caught many in the industry by surprise. Glynn Davis looks at what can be done to address the strain on logistics and a surge in demand that will create pressure on everything from website performance to ordering systems
Ben Askew-Renaut is CEO and co-founder at Packlink, an online parcel shipping platform which recently raised $12.6 million in Series C investment, led by Eight Roads Ventures. Existing investor Accel Partners and founding investor, Active Venture Partners also participated in the round, bringing Packlink’s total funding to date to $24.9 million. The startup was founded in 2012 and has operations in Spain, Germany, France and Italy. It currently integrates with more than 20 partners (including DHL, UPS and TNT) offering 300 different services. The investment will be used to further strengthen its marketplace and e-commerce businesses
The impact of mobile and digital technology advances has been well documented through high profile brands such as Uber and the emergence of trends such as showrooming. However, they have also ushered in a revolution in the area of customer loyalty
Retail is in a period of radical transformation as consumers now drive the engagement agenda, which is impacting massively on the sector as merchants grapple to generate profits from their increasingly multi-channel operations. This was the underlying theme at this year's World Retail Congress (WRC), held last week in Rome where retailers from around the globe gathered to discuss the industry's most pressing themes
Jacyn Heavens is CEO of UK startup Epos Now, which develops, manufactures and supplies EPoS equipment and software. Over the past 12 months, the company has introduced a range of new features, including Click and Collect, the ability to email receipts and launching the UK’s first EPoS AppStore, making hundreds of integrations accessible to customers nationwide. It is shortlisted in the EPoS Innovation of the Year category at the 2015 Retail Systems Awards, set to take place in London next month
Is cash a goner or very much alive? Scott Thompson goes in search of an answer to a question
Brits spent more than £2.5 billion via contactless cards in the first half of 2015, compared to £2.32 billion for the whole of 2014, according to The UK Cards Association. Spending has risen from £287 million per month in January 2015 to £567 million in June 2015. And further growth is on the cards as the maximum amount for a single purchase increases this month from £20 to £30.that continues to dominate the payments landscape
Bricks and mortar stores are increasingly finding that they have to go the extra mile to compete with their online rivals. One way of doing this, Hannah Prevett observes, is to use technology to create a great in-store experience
It’s been more than a decade since Walmart’s big RFID idea flopped in spectacular fashion, but the technology lives on, bolstered by the rise and rise of online shopping. Scott Thompson reports
Retail Systems talks personalised shopping with Phillis Chan, co-founder of Big Apple Buddy, a new online service which delivers worldwide items that are only available in the US
Depending on who you believe, contactless is either done before it even got started. Or it’s finally achieving critical mass. Scott Thompson hears the arguments for and against this new(ish) way of paying
 18/08/2015 founder David Elghanayan talks to Scott Thompson about taking on industry heavyweights and keeping pace with ever demanding online customers
Global shopping marketplace Fruugo has had its share of ups and downs. But, as CMO Glen Richardson tells Scott Thompson, there are reasons to be cheerful
Retailers are increasingly harnessing the power of social media, although at this point it’s far from an exact science, observes Scott Thompson
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Retail Systems Awards, we're giving you the chance to vote for your landmark retail technology moment from the last 10 years
We discuss all things omnichannel with Gerald Dawson, director, finance, operations, e-commerce at Weird Fish
Hannah Prevett looks at the rise and rise of Click and Collect and the resulting benefits and challenges
Scott Thompson previews Retail Business Technology Expo 2015, set to take place in London on 10-11 March
With Black Friday done and dusted, Retail Systems brings you the lessons we have learned from the busiest shopping day of the year
Hannah Prevett looks at the current state of the online delivery sector and rounds up the latest innovations and key trends
Hannah Prevett takes a look at inventory control and replenishment in an omnichannel world
Is wearable tech one to watch and will it fly in the retail sector? Hannah Prevett reports
Scott Thompson and Michelle Stevens bring you the highlights from the RBTE 2014 exhibition floor and conference streams
It may be all the rage right now, but click and collect is far from the finished article. Liz Morrell reports
2013, how was it for you? Scott Thompson takes a look at the year's most important retail technology-related developments
Scott Thompson reviews the 2013 FStech/Retail Systems Payments Conference, which took place at the IoD Hub, London, in late October
At RBTE this year John Lewis announced that its Magic Mirror installations had not yielded the results the retailer was expecting. As a result the mirrors have been removed from the department stores. However, in-store media continues to rapidly develop with other retailers having more success with these platforms. Dave Howell reports.
Earlier this year a new report into loss prevention, published by Checkpoint Systems and the Centre for Retail Research, showed that loss prevention globally has remained rife since 2001 despite retailers working hard to introduce new technologies, systems and processes to better detect and prevent it
Many, perhaps most UK consumers are now extremely dependent on their cards. Consequently, security around card payments is a primary area of interest for both retailers and criminals
The challenge of merchandise planning is nearly as old as retail itself. But the dawn of multi-channel retailing has increased complexity, whilst offering consumers more choice than ever
Growing numbers of successful retail implementations of cloud-based solutions are removing some of the earlier security concerns merchants harboured as well as highlighting some of the benefits of operating with more flexible infrastructures, writes Glynn Davis
2012 was a year when the bad news just kept coming. High Street names like Comet, Blacks Leisure, Game Group, Peacocks, Clinton Cards, Thorntons and JJB Sports all suffered serious, sometimes terminal trading difficulties
There is no doubt that multi-channel is the present and future of every major retailer on Britain’s High Streets today. The future of multi-channel will see retailers respond to showrooming by turning their stores into interactive showcases for products
It was much hyped as ‘the year of mobile’ and it seems that 2012 was indeed the year that m-commerce became an integral channel for many retailers, writes Wayne Tuckfield Many are now predicting that mobile visits to retail sites will overtake desktop in the next year
Many retailers have addressed the multi-channel basics says IBM, but are they exploiting its true potential? Ellie Robinson investigates how retailers can harness the barrage of information produced across all outlets and use it to drive long-term growth in sales, profits and customer satisfaction
Mobile devices have resulted in the creation of an empowered and knowledgable consumer, which is driving great change in the way retailers interact with them. Glynn Davis peers into the future to find out what will keep these new age shoppers engaged
There is no escaping the term Big Data when it comes to choosing a Business Intelligence solution. Glynn Davis wades through the jargon to find out how retailers cope with this growing mountain of data
It’s easy to forget how quickly wireless internet access has become a near universal expectation. But although cafes and city centres have launched WiFi facilities, retailers have hesitated until now. Dave Adams finds out why
Gartner has described the rise of BYOD schemes as the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing for business since the inception of PCs. Hannah Prevett finds out how retailers are utilising these schemes
A knowledgable workforce is very important, especially for speciality retailers where customers rely on the staff’s expertise. However time out for training courses can eat into retailers’ staffing levels and their margins. Ellie Robinson asks; could mobile e-learning be the answer?
Making sure your staff are in the right place at the right time is vital for any retailer and in today’s competitive market the need to stand out from the crowd is becoming ever greater. Wayne Tuckfield investigates how workforce management technology can help retail stores run more efficiently
Twenty years ago making purchases without cold hard cash in your hand would be unthinkable. With the rapidly progressing mobile phone technology and the development of NFC, how long will it be before our debit and credit cards are consigned to the history books?
Recent research by Verizon found that just 21 per cent of merchants are meeting PCI DSS standards, especially when it comes to securing consumer data. Glynn Davis finds out how data breaches damage brands and what can be done to bring retailers up to code
In the past, a UK retailer expanding overseas was taking a significant risk, a step into the unknown. But this is one area where the internet has lived up to its hype, creating a world in which anyone selling anything online becomes an international retailer
“Everything in the world is contactless,” says André Delaforge, head of marketing at Natural Security, and maybe he has a point. After all, you can walk to your car, get in and start your engine without even taking the key from your pocket
With sales growth in Britain’s high streets likely to remain sluggish for years, should more retailers look at opportunities overseas? Graham Buck review the case for international expansion
If you can’t get stock into the store, or delivered to consumers’ homes on time, you won’t last long in retail. But understanding exactly what is happening in logistics and delivery remains problematic for many UK businesses. David Adams investigates
Gaps on the shelf irritate shoppers, yet few retailers can afford to overstock. As savvy shoppers foresake the High Street in favour of better deals online, Graham Buck examines the science of inventory control and why it is more important now than ever before
At a time when multi-channel retail has changed the way customers shop forever, so it continues to bring with it that biggest of bug bears for retailers. Liz Morrell examines the ups and downs of reverse logistics
Considered by some to be an expensive alternative to barcodes, RFID tags have not been implemented by many retailers in the past. But as the technology begins to gain some traction, Glynn Davis asks; will it finally live up to the hype?
Last year retailers were on the cusp of making the leap to cloud technology, lured by the promise of benefits, cost cuts, improved information access and service delivery. Amazon and Apple have entered the cloud but Hannah Prevett asks; will others follow suit?
With the rise of social media in consumer culture, it was inevitable that retailers would begin to exploit commercial opportunities created by the public’s mass use of these networking websites
As the technology behind loyalty programmes evolves it is becoming easier for retailers to find out more about their customers. Is there a gulf emerging between those who have loyalty cards and those without?
For many UK retailers, PCI DSS compliance remains a headache, although slowly but surely progress is being made, observes David Adams
Coalition Government cuts mean more and more retailers are fearing the worst for their shrinkage figures, with increased concerns over the link between unemployment and shop theft
The battle against online fraud is achieving some success. Graham Buck asks whether the 2012 Olympics threatens to reverse the progress
Despite the need for companies to improve efficiency and reduce costs, the growth of outsourcing IT services in the retail sector has been behind some other industries
As mobile printing technology has developed, PoS technology has become more integrated. Yet it’s in getting closer to customers that this technology really delivers, says Dave Howell
Has EPoS software become bloated? asks Liz Morrell. And, if so, are we about to see the development of leaner, meaner cloud-based EPoS systems?
By extending its PoS system to the likes of smartphone-based mobile devices, a retailer can recover abandoned sales and also boost them. By moving freely around a store, staff can give a more personalised service - checking virtual real-time inventory and pricing, accelerating checkout and eliminating queues. David Adams reports
Self-service checkouts continue to be a source of fiery debate. The likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda trumpet impressive growth, but do they really work outside of the grocery sector? Glynn Davis reports
As competition grows fiercer, retailers can’t afford to neglect their business continuity strategies, observes Graham Buck
When it comes to retail technologies, there are few more divisive than contactless, with some calling it the next big thing and others deriding it as a damp squib. Scott Thompson reports
Scott Thompson reviews the Wincor Nixdorf-organised show, Wincor World 2011, which took place in January
The case for SOA is compelling but, as Alison Ebbage reports, retailers must demonstrate careful thought and planning to ensure that the end result meets business needs
Glynn Davis looks at how contact centre solutions are changing in these multi-channel times
Adopting cloud computing into the retail space is now high on the agenda of many companies looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency. But, asks Dave Howell, can today’s cloud computing platforms deliver the gains that retailers are looking to achieve?
Although online is now an important part of many retailers’ businesses, they face a dilemma: how do they manage the huge volumes of money spent in a payment channel which has an increased risk of fraud and security issues? David Adams reports
2010 was undoubtedly the year of the iPad for consumers as technology enthusiasts embraced the sexy new gadget. But, as well as capturing the imagination of the consumer, such tablet devices have also set retailers’ IT directors hearts racing too. So could 2011 be the year they come into practical use in-store? Liz Morrell reports
David Adams casts an eye over multi-channel retail in 2010 and asks: who are the UK leaders and what are the key challenges that they currently face?
More and more retailers are using mobile websites and apps to reach consumers, increasing footfall and loyalty. Liz Morrell reports
Glynn Davis looks at technology solutions available to retailers as they address their environmental impact
Alison Ebbage takes a look at customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in a multi-channel world
The retailers who best leverage their cross channel capabilities today will be best positioned for success in the future, notes Hannah Prevett
Scott Thompson takes a look at the retail technology sector and the mixed bag that was 2010
Scott Thompson reviews the 2010 Retail Systems Multi-channel Summit, which took place at the IoD Hub in London on Wednesday, 15 September
In these multi-channel times, with retailers striving to become customer-centric, mastering the workforce management challenge becomes all the more important, observes Glynn Davis
While retailers are wholeheartedly embracing social networking to build brand loyalty and drive new sales, this rapidly expanding and changing science is causing a headache for their IT departments. Richard Thurston reports
More and more retailers are being won over by the benefits of e-learning solutions, as they look to satisfy regulatory and legislative requirements in an ever-growing number of areas and make training more interesting and relevant to their staff. David Adams reports
With more and more retailers circling the mobile and social media arenas and ultimately striving to become truly multi-channel, Scott Thompson asks: what does the future hold for the retail technology sector?
The recession has contributed to an increase in organised retail theft and to more violence and intimidation of employees. But there is some good news: there is continuous improvement in the technology solutions designed to aid retailers in their fight against crime, notes Duncan Jefferies
Liz Morrell casts an eye over the developments and trends that are forcing retailers to take an in-depth look at their IT and networking infrastructures and the use that they make of them
Scott Thompson reviews the latest Retail Systems roundtable, which took place in London in late July and looked at alternative payment methods for e-commerce in the global retail environment
The quality of customer service afforded by pureplays has led to the situation whereby multi-channel retailers are playing catch-up on inventory control, says Hannah Prevett
Multi-channel and internationalisation has transformed retail and nowhere has this revolution been more keenly felt than in the supply chain. Planning at this level enables retailers to assess and satisfy demand across all channels but it also throws up a series of challenges, notes Liz Morrell
The rapid expansion of e-retail has contributed to the increased awareness of the importance of reverse logistics, observes Duncan Jefferies
Richard Thurston looks at the emergence of cloud computing and asks how this might affect ERP and systems integration
Cutting costs and increasing efficiency while maintaining service levels to customers is the Holy Trinity for all retailers and nowhere is sustaining this balance seen as more important than in the area of warehouse and logistics management. Glynn Davis reports
Loyalty remains a key factor in the fight for customer spend, particularly among grocers, with Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King recently commenting that loyalty schemes were dividing retailers into successful “haves” and challenged “have-nots”. David Adams reports
In early May, leading retailers and technology suppliers gathered together in London for a merchandise planning roundtable covering internationalisation and cross channel challenges, social networking, m-commerce and SaaS and cloud computing models. Retail Systems reviews the event
Is technology winning the battle against card-not-present (CNP) fraud? Richard Thurston reports
Store theft - by both staff and customers - is on the increase and, with a recession biting, retailers are keen to cut costs and improve the bottomline: hardly surprising then that most vendors of loss prevention systems are reporting healthy orderbooks and numerous enquiries, observes Will Hadfield
Emerging solutions and uncertainty over the interpretation of current PCI DSS standards is leading to reluctance among major retailers to become compliant and is instead prompting them to call for greater clarity from the PCI Security Standards Council. Glynn Davis reports
With the general election done and dusted, David Adams asks: what advice from the world of retail and retail technology should politicians take as they seek to understand the issues that confront the wider economy?
Economic pressures mean retailers are increasingly looking to outsource technology and business processes to cut costs and focus on core skills
Liz Morrell examines an in-store media sector that has learnt from past mistakes and is pressing ahead with numerous innovative projects
As Liz Morrell observes, for retailers social media offers a new, easy to access, cost effective channel that used correctly can not only complement other online marketing efforts but also drive sales and customer loyalty
As fraudsters find new ways to circumvent traditional anti-fraud systems and establish more elaborate crime rings, online retailers need to be more aware than ever of what else they can do in this area. David Adams reports
Their flashy websites may look the part, but many e-tailers' strategies and techniques often fall short of consumer expectations. Scott Thompson reports on a sector facing changing times
Running out of stock, finding employees are unable to turn up to work and losing mains power: these are just three business critical incidents to have affected UK retailers recently. The consequences are severe: for the unprepared retailer, it could mean going out of business. Richard Thurston reports
The banks have been telling us for years that contactless is the new way to pay, with some even hailing it as the beginning of the end for cash. Hannah Prevett asks: a realistic expectation or just wishful thinking?
All too often the power in an industry lies with the larger operators whose sheer muscle places them in a stronger position than their smaller rivals. But in the case of data warehousing and Business Intelligence (BI), it is the newer and slighter retailers that are proving to be much better positioned, says Glynn Davis
Retailers may not immediately realise they could make savings by taking a closer look at their printing. At the same time, pressure from consumers is mounting for them to demonstrate their green credentials. Vivienne Rosch finds out where costs can be saved, processes streamlined and business optimised while reducing printing's burden on the environment
Vivienne Rosch asks: how well are retail organisastions serving customers across their various channels and what role does social media have to play?
Consumers are a fickle bunch, and current market conditions are just as unpredictable. To satisfy rapidly changing demands and get the edge on their competitors many retailers are now investing in SOA strategies, notes Duncan Jefferies
David Adams takes a look at the latest merchandise planning and stock allocation solutions available to retailers as they look to streamline stock management in a multi-channel environment
While systems, site design, and security of payments have moved on, the online retail sector remains hampered by one factor that has yet to significantly change - delivery. Liz Morrell reports
As uptake of internet-enabled smartphones hits an all-time high, is m-commerce finally coming of age? Hannah Prevett reports
The blurring of the lines between bricks and mortar and pure play retailers is continuing into 2010. But, asks Scott Thompson, are retailers keeping pace with their customers' lofty expectations?
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Smarter merchandise planning across the retail value chain
In this webinar, Matt Hopkins, Head of Retail Solutions, Board, Catherine Tooke, SVP Product & Planning, Sweaty Betty, and Subir Gupta, Managing Principal, Thought Provoking Consulting join Retail Systems Editor Jonathan Easton to discuss the findings of the recent Retail Systems report The Merchandise Planning Challenge: How are retailers harnessing technology to optimise planning and retain customers? and examine the innovations that are improving retail planning.