The Retail Technology Show 2022 will do exactly what the name suggests: showcase retail technology to visitors attending the event on 26-27 April.
More than 180 global technology companies and suppliers, including Honeywell, HP, Mastercard and Schneider Electric, as well as Green Retail World launch partner Adyen, have taken exhibition space at the event.
These businesses will be present at London Olympia alongside a comprehensive two-day conference programme, featuring presentations from prominent retail industry figures and business thought-leaders, including ex-Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe and Dragons’ Den dragon and serial entrepreneur Steven Bartlett.
The event is for retail representatives of many different persuasions – be it c-suite looking for inspiration and market trends, IT leaders and their teams seeking the latest innovation in their field, or those in payments, supply chain, marketing, eCommerce, operations and other crucial roles comprising the retail ecosystem.
The conference sessions and exhibitors will address all aspects of modern retail, including sustainability. With sustainability one of the hottest topics occupying the industry, Green Retail World has picked out five greener retailing things to look out for at the show.
1. Ex-The Body Shop CEO Jeremy Schwartz
The team behind Retail Technology Show 2022 have put in place a very strong speaker line-up for what is one of the first large-scale in-person retail events since the pandemic curtailed the live events scene. Representatives from Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology division, Farfetch, The Very Group, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons are among the 70-plus retail industry people set to talk on stage over the course of the two days.
Naturally, the topic of greener retailing and the importance of establishing strategies around sustainability will be prominent. Those interested in the subject (and as a Green Retail World reader, that surely means you!), may wish to attend either or both of the opening keynotes.
On day one the opening keynote will be given by former-Sainsbury’s CEO and now New Look chairman, Mike Coupe, who will be focusing on retail leadership, including predicting where retail is headed in the short term and how to adapt leadership strategy accordingly.
Opening day two will be Jeremy Schwartz, former CEO of The Body Shop and an expert in sustainability, retailing and eCommerce as chairman of Kantar’s Sustainability Transformation practice. His session will be focused on greener issues in retailing and wider business.
Leaning on his experience in establishing The Body Shop’s corporate purpose, ‘Enrich not Exploit’, and setting targets around biodiversity, social enterprise, and plastic substitution that guided the retailer through the last decade, Schwartz will bust the myth that sustainable solutions always cost more.
The senior retail leader, who has worked for Sainsbury’s, Coca Cola, Pandora and L’Oreal UK, and who hosts the Saving Tomorrow’s Planet podcast, will have plenty to say on the topic of greener retailing.
2. Sustainability-minded start-ups
Consulting firm Baringa has curated a Start-Up Safari which will take retail visitors on a journey of discovery over the two days of the event. Ten businesses, including two built on a sustainability message, have been selected to be specifically showcased to retailers because of their potential to disrupt the industry.
On the safari will be Brand Conscience, a sustainability and ethics scoring platform which helps retailers and consumers to make greener choices faster. It offers a five-point validated scoring metric, applied as an easy-to-read graphic strip on product labels.
Joining them is Kindred, a carbon neutral app monetisation network, enabling brands and consumers to offset all carbon produced by products and services bought on the network, rewarding app owners, brands, users and charities in the process.
Lucy Larkin, partner in the consumer products & retail team at Baringa, commented: “We’ve seen so much innovative tech that curating the top ten was a difficult but exciting task, and we can’t wait to showcase them all at the show.”
3. Green-thinking exhibitors
Much of the tech that will be on show in April is focused on driving retail efficiency, improving supplier transparency, and aiding reporting capability, which can all contribute to a more sustainable retail organisation.
As is the mantra at Green Retail World, we need to remember that some green manoeuvres can often result in increasing one’s carbon footprint in different parts of a business’s operations – so we will stop short of calling these sustainable companies per se.
However, these four exhibitors are worth mentioning for their efforts in providing greener options to the industry. We encourage you to check them out if you attend the event.
Dayrize: A company that has developed ‘impact measurement technology’, providing transparency throughout the entire lifecyle of a product. Dayrize says it helps retailers better understand, at a granular level, the environmental and social impact of the items they list for sale.
Noumi: A plug & play NFC-enabled tool allowing retail customers to collect receipts digitally on an app. By facilitating digital collection of receipts, there is less need for paper distribution at the point of sale.
Stylumia: Co-founder Ganesh Subramanian, the former chief operations officer of Indian fashion eCommerce titan Myntra, created Stylumia with a mission of reducing wastage in fashion, lifestyle, home, and sports retail. Using machine learning, the technology enables retailers to improve product assortments, optimise inventory management, and gain accurate consumer-driven forecasting.
Thames Technology: a manufacturer of gift, loyalty, and store cards. The company’s Eden range includes ‘Turn the Tide’ cards made from recycled plastic and 100% biodegradable paperboard cards. At the Retail Technology Show it will showcase its eco-conscious cards, packaging, and fulfilment solutions.
4. Sustainability in the supply chain
The Supply Chain and Delivery conference track, sponsored by Schneider Electric, promises sessions to help retailers strengthen their supply chain in the face of uncertainty, minimise the returns impact, and make supply chains more sustainable.
Experts will discuss how to deliver on sustainable supply chain goals without increasing costs or decreasing service in Theatre A on 27 April at 13:05 – and they will evaluate how the United Nation’s COP26 event has impacted retail supply chain sustainability and best practice in this space.
Earlier that day, at 10:20 in Theatre A, a presentation on best practice in minimising the impact of returns to the retailer will address many issues on this industry hot topic, including how retailers best integrate sustainability into their returns strategies.
5. Deliciously Ella
Ella Mills, founder & brand director of Deliciously Ella, a plant-based food and wellness brand, will be on stage on 27 April to discuss – among other key industry issues – how she grew her plant-based food blog, Deliciouslyella.com, into a global commerce brand.
A key subject Mills will address is how brands and retailers can maximise customer engagement by building a fan-based, authentic brand. Deliciously Ella is a business built with greener thinking at its core, so we are expecting plenty of sustainability-related advice and inspiration for retailers who attend this session.
Matt Bradley, event director of Retail Technology Show, said based on discussions with the event’s industry advisory panel over recent months, it is clear sustainability is one of the top five topics today’s retailers must contend with.
“Retailers’ customers are becoming more aware of sustainability – it’s moved on considerably from previous concerns around plastic bags and now rightly includes concerns about the full lifecycle of fashion items, for example, and how products are made,” Bradley told Green Retail World.
“Retailers are very aware they need to reduce their carbon footprint not just in store but throughout the entire supply chain.”
He added: “The Retail Technology Show programme reflects what retailers are telling us, so that is why there is a good share of sustainability-focused material on the agenda.”
Bradley also said the show itself is cutting down its paper usage, making the show guide digital-only, and exploring new ways to recycle the carpet used in the exhibition hall once the event comes to an end.
Commenting more widely on the event, he said: “Galvanised by the unprecedented pace and scale of innovation in the industry, we’ve brought together the very brightest minds in retail to discuss the burning topics of the day.
“From addressing the issues keeping retailers awake at night to forward-looking trends and future-gazing predictions to practical hacks and tips, each session offers unparalleled, ‘no holds barred’ insight to drive maximum value to the brands and retailers attending the show.”
Green Retail World is an official media partner of Retail Technology Show. Editor Ben Sillitoe will be at the event on 26 and 27 April. Please contact him directly if you’d like to arrange a meeting.
[Image credits: Retail Technology Show]