So What Made 2018’s RBTE Retail Business Technology Expo the Best Ever?

The RBTE Retail Business Technology Expo is a big deal. A very big deal. The biggest deal in European Retail tech showcases.

With more than 20,000 attendees including 97% of the UK’s top 20 retailers and with over 26% of those attendees there to see what’s new and interesting in the industry, it offers the perfect retail tech platform.

The perfect place for a world leading retail tech company to share its good news and take a stand.

Even better, two stands.

Better still sponsoring the champagne bar as well.

Which is what REPL did at this year’s RBTE at London’s Olympia on May 1st and 2nd.

A serious RBTE presence for a seriously strong retail business tech offering. An offering split into three core strands and at the heart of retail tech transformation for the world’s largest, most progressive and most successful retailers.

REPL – Technology For Retail Transformation

“With our products co-developed with some of the world’s best known names in retail, it’s little surprise we received such great feedback from visitors to our stands,” says Partner Director Chris Love.

“People are quick to see how our services solve the types of problems they face everyday. Common problems such as workforce planning, budgeting and employee engagement”.

For example, REPL’s brand new ADAPT system that helps retailers accurately project labour and workforce budgets months, even years ahead, drew particular attention.

“It solves a problem that’s existed for a long time,” says Chris. “The importance of being able to budget and forecast over the next 12-18 months and to set expectations.

“Traditionally a lot of work has been done on spreadsheets and only a few people could understand how it hung together.

“ADAPT makes it much simpler to apply ‘What If’ analysis and to study scenarios. It opens up those projections to management, not just technical experts.

“It’s technology that simply couldn’t have existed five years ago as there wasn’t the processing power to crunch the data in a timely or meaningful way.

“People relate to it because it solves a lot of problems and is worth a lot of money to retailers, especially in challenging times. Built alongside and proven to work for the world’s largest retailers it can work for anyone”.

REPL – Consultation for Retail Transformation

The second of REPL’s core strands. With the show aimed fairly and squarely at the rich and rapid technological transformation taking place in retail, REPL’s strategic consultation skills across brick and mortar client and employee engagement proved a powerful point of differentiation.

Of course, everyone’s aware of the big generalist consultancy names out there but where REPL score is in their laser-guided focus on retail. Dedicated, agile retail tech experience that combines with high quality, onshore transformation resources makes them a formidable force in retail tech.

Says Chris, “We’re all about meaningful transformation. A safe pair of hands, more than just supplying technology to retailers, we are expert at transformation consultation. It’s our job to make sure retailers get the very best from the most appropriate tech.

“We’re not a typical company exhibiting at RBTE because we’re not just about the tech or the delivery of tech – our experience and expertise in retail specifically means that people come to talk to us about the overall strategy.

For example, Chris and his team were keen to talk with any retailers who’d seen a concept or a system at the show that impressed them. The message being that if a third party piece of software might be of use then REPL is able to help make a success of implementation. “It’s not just about technology”, says Chris, “It’s about how you apply it”.

REPL – Partnership Innovation for Retail Transformation

Ideally placed with a range of their own products, REPL also take the opportunity to use shows such as RBTE to showcase third party technology and partner products on their stands.

In the case of RBTE 2018, the REPL team shared space with an appointment booking system, an RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) solution, price optimisation and productivity technology.

RFID in particular, with the price point now low enough to present new and creative possibilities, such as ID on clothing or even ID on every item in store, attracted plenty of attention as a now economically viable technology.

“There are hundreds of great products out there that can make a difference“, says Chris, “But if a provider is struggling to sell them, particularly with the change management and governance that surrounds a project, or retailers are struggling to buy them then our strategic consultation and our partnerships are there to help”.

More than just working with existing partners the REPL team is always on the lookout for innovative new products.

A highlight of 2018?

“Hastee Pay,” says Chris. “It’s a system that allows employees to draw down against wages and looks like exactly the sort of tech-enabled employee benefit that could help attract and retain talent”.

An ideal contender for a future partnership arrangement perhaps.

Best. RBTE. Ever.

For many reasons.

For generating fresh leads from retailers at various stages of their transformation journey and also for the opportunity to meet up with existing clients, to showcase ADAPT and to talk about the many ways that REPL can deliver clear competitive advantage.

Not only did the stands attract more than 227 conversations of substance, those conversations were more often than not with C-suite business leaders and senior decision makers. Already more than 53 meetings are in the diary with all manner of subjects on the table – from software integration projects to full transformation strategies.

Whereas a year or two ago many prospects were only starting to consider their tech transformation journey, now the need to rapidly configure retail tech and retail tech strategy is clear for all to see. Almost every week another retailer that either hasn’t faced up to the real and present retail dangers or has failed to deploy change effectively making headlines for all the wrong reasons and falling by the wayside.

With the skills shortage likely to grow even more severe as Brexit kicks in, and the internet threat looming ever-larger, the need to implement the most effective employee engagement and customer experience tech has never been greater.

Which all makes RBTE the ideal platform for REPL to showcase their problem solving products, consultancy and partnerships to an increasingly receptive and appreciative retail sector.

As Chis concludes, “A very positive response and very successful show with an excellent mix of existing and new customers.”