One week on since RBTE 2017, I caught up with Ian Tomlinson to reflect on RetailStore’s place at the industry’s main expo and his thoughts on the event as a whole.

“If the buzz around this years RBTE was anything to go by, the next 12 months, and indeed into futurem, is looking very exciting for retail.

“Everywhere you looked people were talking about new smart thinking innovations, the Cloud and indeed, the connectivity we have been trailblazing for so long now.

“It was great to see HP for example with their new MPOS device – slick and easy to use – it shows the investment and the time being spent on innovations we have been urging retailers to get with for years. We had our first mobile customer 10 years ago who was walking around their furniture store with an A5 tablet doing assisted selling.

“Listening to the feedback from the likes of Russell and Bromley whom tell us their first foray into ecommerce is being dealt with slowly and carefully in order to catch up but keep a sense of self, shows that even heritage brands like that are feeling the need to progress to survive. Connecting retailers together; the EPOS and ecommerce is the future but, we said this more than a decade ago

“Banging on about the need to connect is something we have been advising and pioneering for 15 years. From day one when I came up with Cybertill on the back of a napkin in a pizza restaurant. The diagram I drew which joined all the channels together was the main talking point of RBTE 2017.

“More than ever, there was a lot of talk about retailers ecommerce and their instore systems being disjointed because there are too many disparate systems out there, causing problems in moving data around and knowing who and where customers are”

“In some respects I kick myself because we could have leveraged (and shouted) more about this sooner but I think we have grown up as an organisation and it’s a sense of pride to know that we were the pioneers leading the industry to this point. We have the enterprise level, the merchandising and warehousing we are able to deal and support our software solutions. We also have a great project management team for dealing with the implementation side of things. It’s all taken time but it all works holistically together to make a very solid, safe, secure and stable platform for our clients, of which there are now more than 500.

“At the moment we are rolling out a retailer at 15 stores a day and to be honest the business isn’t even breaking a sweat. It’s not even on my radar, it is just going on quietly. Six years ago that would have been stress for the whole business but now it’s literally just happening. And seeing how it all fitted into place at RBTE was testament to where we are as a business and that no matter what, we will continue to be the trailblazers for Cloud technology in retail. RBTE 2018, watch out!”

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