The inaugural eCommerce Futures Conference, chaired by Rick Jones, Industry Head of Retail, Google, had an impressive turn out yesterday from senior UK and European leading retailers.The day moved swiftly as industry heavyweights, including the likes of Andy McWilliams, Head of Multi Channel, Homebase, Chris Bale, COO, boohoo.com and Maxime, Director of Programmes, KESA Europe, explored the psyche of the future retail customer and how to engage and retain them internationally. From appointing your children in the boardroom, to learning how to satiate the digital omnivore customer of the future, the conference provided a genuine opportunity to share insight and ideas.
Keeping the format of the day fresh, we had the opportunity to get personal with Zia Zareem-Slade, Head of Online, Selfridges, Rueben Lightfoot, eCommerce Manager, howies and Romain Eude, CTO, my-wardrobe.com. Tellingly Zia, ‘does not get out of bed for platforms’ and Rueben wants a ‘forgettable platform’, whilst Romain struggles to find an eCommerce platform ‘designed to the unique challenges of high-end fashion’.
The day concluded with four engaging workshops, with the most popular being the Online Innovation. Lead by Ian Woosey, Director of Retail Consulting, Summit, he split the auditorium into five groups to solve unique missions i.e. ‘You have no website for three months and must maintain sales and profit levels’. With the advice of ‘embrace the constraints’ each group identified innovative ways to fulfil their mission.
This conference provided a genuine opportunity to share ideas, insights and anecdotes for retail leaders and will prove to be a disruptive event amongst the myriad of conferences that promise insights and provide only selling opportunities for agencies.