This year’s gathering took place in the picturesque Hotel Rio Do Prado, Lisbon. The beautiful hotel was the perfect backdrop to the event, with elegant library rooms in ‘The Literary man’ area making up our presentation and dining spaces, with Guests enjoying accommodation in ‘The Maker Man’ suites, and aperitifs in ‘The History Man’ rooms.
We were delighted to be joined by three esteemed speakers, including Maarten Sonneveld from Microsoft, Gerry Carr from Ravelin, and Customer Experience expert Martin Newman.
First up was Microsoft, with their presentation “Intelligent Retail”. They spoke about how the company is able to give retailers a unique advantage in the digital age – using data, AI and a host of other new technologies that can significantly improve the eCommerce experience for both customers and retailers. Enabling Intelligent retail was the main focus of the presentation, which combines a number of improvements in areas of both online and Brick & Mortar retail, to truly innovate the world of eCommerce. Their developments are deeply driven by data, accessible by both management and employees to aid decisions. This is possible through their work in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, and Advanced Analytics spaces.
Afterward, we heard from Ravelin, with their presentation “The Omnichannel Fraudster”. These days, many companies are using omnichannel as a way to maximize sales, and to great effect. However, as Ravelin explained, these added channels can allow for increased fraudulent activity, which should be a worry for many companies. Every innovation in the retail sector, from online commerce to cryptocurrency has allowed for fraud, so it is vital that companies practice vigilance and take precautions to minimize fraud in their organization.
Finally, Martin Newman delivered a fascinating presentation titled “The Future of Retail 2030”. Martin discussed how technological advances in the digital age have reinvented the retail market, with each area of retail being disrupted by new companies using a mixture of technologies to put the consumer in control. He explained how we have gone from ‘The Goods Era’, where companies focused on the product, their competitors, and having big loud brands, to ‘The Services Era’, where the importance is placed on delivering experiences, focusing on customers, and having an authentic brand that customers can connect with. He stressed that the Highstreet itself isn’t dead, in fact, it still accounts for a lot of sales, however it was the brands that were adaptable to change that have continued to thrive in this new era of retail.
After the presentations were finished, our attendees got the chance to try their hand in the world of film making, but of course – with an eCommerce twist. In an hour and a half long workshop, they were shown how to shoot, direct, and act out scenes featuring some iconic movie characters, discussing the topics they had just learned about during the presentations. The group was split into two teams, with members of the teams taking turns between roles like director, lighting, makeup & costume, as well as sound engineer camera operator and actor. Not only was it a lot of fun to get to use equipment usually found in Hollywood film sets, but the group got a chance to reinforce some of the valuable insight from the earlier session. And the results? Well, let’s say we’d strongly advise everyone to stick to retail and leave the movies for the pros!
We topped off the night with a late evening dinner in the historical center of Obidos, finishing with awards for some of our best and worst film entries.
A huge thanks to our attendees, and all the staff who played a part in making this year’s event a memorable one. The only question left is – where to next year?