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The future of retail payments: Adapting to digital demands
While many savvy shoppers had already adopted contactless payment methods over the past decade, the Covid-19 pandemic created a need for a radical rethink of payments in retail. Many customers were forced to change their payment habits when they were required to abandon cash and pay via contactless or services such as PayPal when shopping online.

A large portion of shoppers have since embraced these payment methods, yet some are still frustrated by the speed at which payments take to process or have lingering security concerns when presented with a point-of-sale device.

And with this digital-first approach to payments come the inevitable associated risks. While many devices can be updated remotely at the touch of a button, enabling an unprecedented ability to combat security risks and adopt new features, high-profile IT outages – such as those recently experienced by the likes of McDonald’s, Tesco and Sainsbury’s – have raised concerns about the reliability of payment systems and what to do should they fail.

To examine these issues, Retail Systems was joined by Kevin Marlow, Senior Product Manager for Point of Sale Interactions at Cashflows.

The modern omnichannel: agile and adaptable
In a landscape of ever-increasing competition, retailers must have omnichannel strategies and platforms which are agile, adaptable, and customisable – for the benefit of retailers and consumers alike.

To stay ahead of the competition, a strong omnichannel strategy is nowadays one which can adjust quickly to consumer demand and meet changing demands in the online retail landscape.

Technologies such as AI and machine learning are playing an ever more important role, helping retailers to stay ahead of the curb by analysing customer behaviour data to pre-empt their evolving demands.

To discuss these topics in more detail, Retail Systems was joined by Peter Fellows, EMIR commerce lead at Sitecore.
Retail resilience: how to cope when demand and supply are in flux
Inflation is rising, with the war in Ukraine pushing up the cost of oil, food and gas. To make ends meet, manufacturers and other suppliers are passing on their increased overheads to retailers.

At the same time, consumers are changing their behaviour to cope with the cost of inflation, while employees demand higher wages or even leave the retail sector altogether to follow other career paths. This leaves retailers finding themselves held to ransom by both consumers and suppliers.

To examine these issues, Retail Systems was joined by Laurence Brenig-Jones, VP Product Strategy & Marketing at supply chain and retail planning platform RELEX.

The podcast covered how the retail sector can leverage digital solutions, which can help them predict consumer behaviour, manage spikes in demand, as well as manage labour shortages and stay resilient in an increasingly uncertain world.
Is 5G a reality for retail?
In exploring the topic of 5G in Retail, the technology has the potential to address communications, security, promotion, and delivery services, while driving the evolution of other technologies which also make use of connectivity.
As the technology begins to roll out across the UK, 5G is touted as a connectivity evolution which will help realise greater efficiencies and streamline experiences for users.

In this podcast we are joined by Roger Jones, Solution Architect, EMEA at Cradlepoint, to delve further into these challenges, as well as some possible solutions.

How can retailers maximise sales and retain flexibility in times of uncertainty?
Uncertainty has been the only certainty for retailers since the pandemic hit in 2020. Brands have had to adapt quickly to the unprecedented growth of digital sales, with the Covid-19 crisis driving a momentous shift to online.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Black Friday and the Christmas season saw e-commerce platforms reap the benefits of brick-and-mortar store closures. But with physical stores reopening and customer habits normalising, sales during the peak trading period dropped dramatically last year.

In 2022, retailers are continuing to grapple with uncertainty, as the industry faces a cost-of-living crisis and supply chain disruption persists. To ensure they maximise sales and perform effectively during the holiday shopping period, retail companies must retain flexibility, meet customer expectations, diversify channels, and adapt to the growth of the conscious consumer.

To explore some of these challenges and opportunities, we’re joined by Paul Clarke, Chief Product and Innovation Officer at Cashflows.
How flexible lending meets the needs of modern consumers
The e-commerce industry is booming post-pandemic, with more small business owners than ever making the move online and launching shops. These outlets are expected to meet consumer’s changing expectations when it comes to credit, allowing Generation Z and Millennial consumers to spread out the cost of their purchases.

However, companies need to make certain that they can provide this level of flexible credit without causing financial harm to consumers, while ensuring they won’t fall foul of incoming legislation or harm their reputations.

At same time, retailers need to avoid opening the door to increasingly innovative fraudsters, who are everyday devising new ways to extract hard earned cash from consumers as payment methods evolve.

In this podcast we are joined by DivideBuy to delve further into these challenges, as well as some possible solutions.
Customer engagement in the omnichannel era
Almost everyone in the developed world has been spending more time online during the pandemic, and almost all channels have been flooded with increased traffic over the past 18 months.

This was fine for the largest retailers, but many companies struggled to fill all the necessary channels with the sheer volume – and quality - of content necessary to engage discerning modern consumers.

Many consumers had more time to research products online, and the best adapted retailers responded to this by offering personalised boutique-style experiences that can help to engage this generation of consumers.

Meanwhile, Generation Z consumers are keener to try new brands than the generations before them, preferring to discover them through new channels while taking an experience-focused view of online retail.

To explore these challenges and opportunities, Retail Systems was joined by Sung Cho, Product Marketing Director, Commerce at Sitecore, a digital experience platform and content hub.
How are retailers using AI to drive seamless omnichannel experiences?
The dramatic shift to online during the pandemic has left customers used to a highly digitised shopping experience. Now that stores have reopened, British shoppers are seeking the ease of digital platforms on their trips to the High Street.

Over the past eighteen months, retailers have needed to transform quickly in order to meet new customer demand. Whilst navigating a new retail landscape, where bridging the gap between in-store and online is key, companies are grappling with a multitude of other challenges.

Meanwhile, some retailers have used this time of unparalleled disruption to begin their digital transformation journeys, with many looking to conversational and analytical AI to deliver a more personalised and flawless omnichannel experience.

To explore some of the best practices and challenges happening in retail, Alexandra Leonards, senior reporter at Retail Systems, was joined by Seb Reeve, strategy director at Nuance.
Overcoming payment problems in the new retail landscape
When bank cards were first introduced in the 1980s, the idea of e-commerce was still practically science fiction. But when the pandemic shut down stores worldwide, and retail shifted almost entirely online, we witnessed an even more radical departure from the world bank cards were designed for.

And despite rising consumer demand for security, the UK has one of the highest levels of card fraud in Europe, which doesn’t exactly encourage consumers to open their wallets, while the cost of traditional card payments remains a common complaint for retailers.

So, though cards still dominate at the checkout, many merchants are implementing alternative payment methods to give consumers the options needed to drive conversion rates and keep customers safe.

To delve further into these challenges as well as some possible solutions, Will McCurdy, Content Editor, Retail Systems was joined by Roger De'Ath, Head of E-commerce, at TrueLayer.
Who really owns omnichannel profitability?
Shipping a £2 item for £5 isn’t a very good way to make money. However, that doesn’t stop many retailers from doing it. The problem often lies in the puzzle-like structure of modern retail, which involves lots of different pieces.

IT owns the systems, e-commerce owns the sites, store operations own the stores, and logistics owns transportation. But with all these siloed divisions and cost centres – who owns profitability when it comes to omnichannel? In the case of many organisations, no one.

As a result, retailers are starting to examine who within their organisation has responsibility for ensuring that omnichannel operations are adding to rather than taking away from the company’s profits.

To further explore these challenges as well as some possible solutions, Will McCurdy, Content Editor, Retail Systems was joined by Steve Ross, Global Omnichannel Solution Principal, at Aptos.
WatchPilot: Launching a successful e-commerce business in a pandemic.
If you went back in time to 2018 and told people there was going to be a pandemic that would shut stores, lock people inside, and crash economies everywhere, there is a big chance no one would have believed you.

And if you told people this post-apocalyptic sounding period would also be a good time to start a business selling high-end watches, they would likely not believe that either.

However, while many traditional High Street retailers faltered, laying off staff and racking up debts, some new businesses thrived – capitalising on the pandemic’s once in a lifetime impact on consumer tastes and buying habits to launch successful new ventures.

To delve into how to launch a profitable niche business in a pandemic, Will McCurdy, content editor of Retail Systems, was joined by Tim Harrison, founder and director at WatchPilot.
Weird Fish: Boosting sales without physical retail
If you had to pick out the words that defined retail in 2020, it is likely "survival" would come up quickly.

When the pandemic hit, the attentions of many brands with a significant brick-and-mortar presence shifted to keeping their balance sheets out of the red, and keeping existing employees on payroll, rather than expansion.

With a sizeable portion of the UK public out of fulltime work, expanding a fashion brand that relies on consumers with disposable income might seem like a tall order.

However, amid the chaotic series of events that was 2020 some brands managed to ride the e-commerce wave to increase their overall sales.

To discuss the challenges of creating growth in a challenging environment, Will McCurdy, content editor of Retail Systems, was joined by Ben Mercier, customer director at Weird Fish.
How did the pandemic change omnichannel retail?
It doesn’t take a global pandemic locking everyone inside for the best part of two years to change consumer buying habits, but it certainly does the trick. UK consumers have been more open minded than ever before when it comes to how, when, and where they shop, and are flocking to fast growing ways to buy whether that be click-and-collect or subscription models.

The lines between physical and online retail have become increasingly blurred. Not only are physical stores popular spaces to pick up online orders, but they have also rapidly become an integral part of e-commerce fulfilment, acting as miniature warehouses or “dark stores”.

As a result, retailers are turning towards how they can use technology to manage the unique set of challenges which the omnichannel model can place on stores and staff.

To further explore these challenges as well as some possible solutions, Will McCurdy, Content Editor, Retail Systems was joined by Steve Ross, Global Omni Channel Solution Principal, at Aptos.
The Very Group
The Very Group transformed range and assortment planning using Board.

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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.