Can lightning strike twice? After its barnstorming inaugural event last year, Retail Tomorrow returns in February for two days of “Igniting Ideas and Accelerating Innovation.” Can’t wait.
At Retail in Detail, where we keep a big focus on the practicalities of introducing new ideas and technologies, we’re all about ROI and measurement. By any form of measure, the first Retail Tomorrow event in February 2017 surpassed expectations, with approval rates from both attendees and sponsors over 95%, and an welcome nomination for a B2B Marketing Award for ‘Best Use of Live Event Marketing’.
We were delighted that the event proved irresistible and succeeded in its aim of attracting retailers of the very highest calibre, with a delegate list of CEO’s, CTO’s, CMO’s, Retail Directors, Commerce Directors – movers and shakers coming together in an intimate setting for a mixture of cutting-edge thought leadership and the very latest practical real-world case studies. All in all, an experience genuinely like no other.
So it was with a mixture of excitement and a smidgeon of trepidation that we set about putting together the 2018 event, knowing that to top it would be a big ask, but always keen to raise the bar. I believe we’ve done it; we’ll find out for sure later in the month.
What’s different about Retail Tomorrow?
To paraphrase an article I wrote last year, our marketing experience means we know events inside out and back to front, so we wanted to hit the ‘disrupt’ button.
- Not the same old keynote speakers: We hand-pick a selection of speakers as important for their personalities and thought-leader credentials as for their retail content, to create a truly inspiring environment which deliver on the event mission statement.
- Not the same old session formats: A chance to see some technology-supplier pitches that senior retailers wouldn’t necessarily come across, in a compelling and time-focused way, but without the implied pressure of an expo-booth face-to-face format. Cue two ‘Dragons’ Den’ format sessions; ten brave companies the chance to ‘pitch’ to the assembled audience and be publically judged in real-time. Workshop sessions give attendees the chance to put companies on the spot and drill down into what an engagement might ‘look like’ for them.
- Not the same old event venues. The prestigious Four Seasons Hotel and Spa in Hampshire provides the perfect setting for a residential (overnight) event, easy to get to (30mins from Waterloo) but giving retailers a genuine chance to get away from it all. We deliver an environment in which people could commit to talking, listening and sharing.
- Not the same old polite evening meal: For our 2017 event the grand dinner evening (retailers and suppliers sharing tables) was ‘disrupted’ by two stand-up comedians continuing the element of fun.
What’s up for the 2018 event?
A lot of what we did last year ain’t broke and we don’t need to fix it – the same wonderful venue hosts us, the Dragon’s Den sessions return with twelve more brave participants. Coming hot on the heels of NRF, our event proved last year to be a great forum for retailers and suppliers, having had time to digest and reflect on plenty of conversations and presentations from New York and the main trends and themes of NRF, to now discuss them in a more critical and practically-focused context.
In terms of 2018 flavour, the biggest theme running through discussions will be the unstoppable personalisation agenda, which manages to touch pretty much everything, and, with artificial intelligence and RFID in the mix, is getting serious. There’s a panel session with some very heavy-hitting movers and shakers discussing the state of the retail nation, moderated by Lord Antony St John. The two days will be bookended by keynotes from leading retail thinkers – we welcome back Ken Hughes who made such a great impression last year, as well as renowned commentator Cate Trotter from Insider Trends. And there’s much more, but I don’t want to give away everything…
Roll on February in Fleet
Having (more or less) recovered from NRF, the days until Retail Tomorrow can’t go fast enough. I look forward to seeing many of you there. After last year’s event my head was buzzing for weeks and I wrote six blogs on the back of the event. So if you can’t make it along don’t worry too too much – I’ll no doubt be writing about it very soon…
(At the time of my writing this piece we have fewer than five places remaining for retailers, with a couple of those places nominally reserved for people still to confirm. So if you’re a senior retailer who has somehow missed receiving or taking up their invitation for this unique, complimentary event do get in contact quickly and we’ll see if we can fit you in. But as I say – quickly…)