I was honoured to be invited to close IBM’s first get-together of its European eCommerce team, bringing together over 400 professionals from across Europe for a couple of days in Windsor to kick off their newly-structured team.
We’ve worked with IBM on a number of editorial projects and I was asked to bring to life some of the themes on the direction of retail and the pressures upon retailers to perform at the highest level.
I’d expected a tired group (I was closing the event on a Friday afternoon, post-lunch… ) but there was a great vibe and I was met with a very warm reception.
The keynote drew on some advance insights from the IREU Top500, InternetRetailing’s new research publication due out in June 2016 and culminated in recounting an approach of ‘TotalRetail’™.
The conference addressed the business challenge of how to approach the millennial customer, and key themes throughout were insight, authenticity and experimentation. This was brought to life on the conference stage with a real wealth of speakers – I was lucky to chair sessions ranging from the founders of Planet Organic and Ceviche to Pepsico and Fortnum & Mason (yes, I was chairing the food stream!).
Here’s a vid of the session on data…
The exhibition area was particularly fun and very hand-on (in true millennial style) with more of a ‘fun fair’ feel than an expo.
I learned a great deal and I’m pleased to see that the concept is already rolling out internationally with events planned in New York – February 2017, London (take 2) in April 2017 and Singapore in September 2017.
Provided you didn’t blink in the wrong place you may have caught my contribution to a BBC documentary on how John Lewis prepares for Christmas. I had great fun contributing to a topic that we’ve covered ourselves – namely how the elite retailers prepare for peak. An interesting take within the programme was that #BlackFriday had changed the ‘traditional’ Christmas peak, and further looked at the role of eCommerce ‘pure play’ giant Amazon.co.uk in the competitive landscape for John Lewis.
I was really impressed with the research the team did beforehand. We had a number of phone discussions, follow-up questions and a good brief on the ‘arc’ of the show. I had a great time filming my snippets and even though it was a couple of hours the time passed really quickly. I’m sure that TV production crews forget how interesting we find the whole process! Most of the filming I do is around our events and these tend to be one-take-only commentaries. At first I thought that it was a luxury to have more time, but now I simply feel a combination of awe and sympathy at the skill and patience needed to turn hundreds of hours of footage into a coherent, brief broadcast!
My on-screen contribution comprised of a review of the customer expectations on delivery (c 0h24’) and upon the role of SEO in supporting visibility and sales at peak (c0h30’).
We’ve covered John Lewis extensively on InternetRetailing – they’re one of our “Elite” UK retailers in the InternetRetailing Top500. You can see John Lewis’ company listing as well as information on the Top500 on our site.
It’s all go in retail-land with BlackFriday and CyberMonday and I was pleased to be asked to contribute to a fun piece on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, commenting on the phenomenon. Great questions from Paul Marriott on his show, details are here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p037v012
You can hear my clip from the programme on Soundcloud:
I’ve spoken in the past at the well-produced E-Handelsforum by Postnord.se and I was pleased to be invited to their 2015 event.
Unfortunately I was travelling in Australia (speaking on the Westfield World Tour series of events) and so couldn’t be at the event in person. Rather glamorously they suggested I do a video covering my speaking points and – since I’d never done this before – I thought it’d be fun! What followed was a real learning exercise as I was helped and shepherded by a lovely producer and videographer to get my thoughts to camera… The following video was shown at the conference.
Thanks to Arne Andersson and the team at Postnord for making this happen.
I was pleased to provide an opening address to Gladstone’s Health and Leisure summit.
I took as my theme some of the lessons that software and services providers to the leisure sector could learn from retail, but as I worked on my presentation it was clear to me that this is not a ‘one-way street’. Gladstone provides the underpinning software for leisure centres, universities and organisations and so is at the sharp end not only of the increasingly digital customer’s demands, but also needs to provide a complex service over time – whether booking and paying for yoga lessons, or accessing your higher education college.
The Summit comprised staff, customers and sector suppliers and we had a great range of interested and challenging questions.
It was an immensely rewarding event and one where my research gave me many new perspectives.