A talk taking place at retail tech show 2024, London

Retail Technology Show 2024 review

I recently attended the Retail Technology Show 2024 at London’s Olympia, to browse (or window shop) the latest trends and innovations in retail tech.  Out of all the types of B2B technology that we focus on here at Babel, ‘retail technology’ is perhaps the main type of tech that we experience daily. 

The next time you walk into a high street shop, have a look around you and think about the huge breadth of technology that is being harnessed to enhance your shopping experience, from payments and digital wallets to augmented reality and facial recognition. And when it comes to e-commerce, retailers are investing in chatbots, intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) and ever more intuitive mobile apps.

The strength of the retail market was clear to see when I headed to London’s Olympia for the first day of the Retail Technology Show. More than 12,500 people attended the two-day event – an increase of attendee numbers by +28% year-on-year. The vast space was packed with attendees visiting the stands of 400+ tech providers and innovators, while the three theatres hosted panel discussions and presentations covering the latest hot topics. 

The ‘customer, marketing and loyalty’ stream was hosted by Miya Knights, who has more than 25 years of experience as a retail technology analyst, editor, author and consultant. She is the owner and publisher of Retail Technology magazine and has co-authored two best-selling books about Amazon and Omnichannel Retail. Miya is our guest on the latest ‘Digital Communicators’ podcast, where she talks about her varied career and the hottest trends in retail tech while reflecting on the Retail Technology Show. You can hear the podcast here

A talk taking place at retail tech show 2024, London

Insider perspectives: attendee reviews of the Retail Technology Show 2024 

As well as welcoming Miya onto the podcast, I spoke to a few attendees to find out about their main takeaways from the Show… 

Oliver Banks, Retail Transformation Director & Consultant:

“The Retail Technology Show 2024 brought the industry together for excellent content, community and connections. And with over 12,500 attendees, this represented the ideal chance to make new connections and catch up with contacts and friends from across the industry. 

“Retailers are pulled in so many different directions right now, and it’s easy to let critical, fundamental aspects, like defining a clear vision or understanding customer expectations, fall off the radar. However, these aspects allow us to be focused, cohesive, and aligned across the organisation to deliver meaningful value to customers, colleagues, and the business.

“Fortunately, the event shared great case studies of companies that are clear and focused, resulting in super results. 175-year-old Boots is one such example and Chief Digital Officer Paula Bobbett shared the incredible achievements they’ve been making with their app and digital solutions. The Retail Technology Show acts as a beacon for the huge opportunities in the sector. And when so many great minds come together, it’s our chance to bring the magic of retail to life.” 

 Nina MimicaBoard member and Chief innovation officer for innovation and digitalisation, Studenac Market:

It was fruitful and inspiring to be at the Retail Technology Show for the second year in a row. I am glad I managed to hear some insights from the headline theatre track where my panel took place. I enjoyed being on stage with experts from Primark, River Island and AF Blakemore. Following general global market trends, there was a big highlight on AI; either in theoretical and possible ways forward or in practical and hands-on examples of where it is already applied. 

“As far as other technology trends are concerned, there was a big highlight on security in the context of technology application and adoption, on shopper behaviour in general connected to adequate technology (ex. e-commerce, click and collect, traditional in-store however supported by self-checkouts and RFID or autonomous stores) as well as customer loyalty. 

“It is always great to browse the show stands with vendor solutions addressing a wide palette of customer needs: from in-store customer experience improvements to solutions optimising business decision making.

  James Yerkess, Head of Marketing, BB Merchant Services:

I saw lots of solid AI and data use at the Retail Technology Show. I often see vapour ideas and dreams for AI rather than tangible use. So, seeing so many actual uses that add value to retailers was refreshing. For me, by leveraging AI and data, retailers can deliver unprecedented personalisation to customers. I came across unique technologies to help predict the consumer’s preferences and what motivates such prediction for individualised shopping experiences that drive engagement and loyalty. 

“Also, one of the major themes this year was sustainability. From AI-driven supply chain optimisations to eco-friendly packaging solutions, the role of AI technology and data in making retail greener cannot be overemphasised. It is about reducing carbon footprints and meeting the eco-conscious demands of today’s consumers.”

The show floor of retail tech show 2024, London

At Babel, we have extensive experience helping retail tech and payments firms meet their growth objectives. To find out how we can support you, get in touch.

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