Retail Week Live will feature the biggest names in retail and a start-up campus showcasing the latest thinking in retail technology.

Retail Week Live will feature the biggest names in retail and a start-up campus showcasing the latest thinking in retail technology.

There’s less than a month to go until the most hotly anticipated event in retail gets under way. This year’s Retail Week Live promises to be bigger and better than ever.

With six stages playing host to a stellar roll call of speakers, Retail Week Live 2015 will offer the year’s most comprehensive and authoritative view on the state of the industry.

And with fresh additions such as the Innovation Campus, this year’s event is not to be missed.

Whether attendees use Retail Week Live as a source of inspiration or as an opportunity to network with peers, the packed schedule over two days at the Hilton Metropole London will offer something for everyone.

These are changing and disruptive times and business models are evolving at an unprecedented speed to keep pace. Over the course of the two days every aspect of the retail world will be explored in detail with the aim of arming you with the insights to ensure your business is fit for the digital age.

But the glue that will bind all the sessions together is the central theme for Retail Week Live 2015: the customer.

The spectre of austerity still looms over the global economy and persuading consumers to part with their hard-earned cash can still be challenging. At the same time consumers are becoming more and more tech-savvy and are increasingly integrating the latest technologies into their everyday lives. The result is that their expectations of the retail experience have risen to sky-high levels. The modern consumer expects to be able to shop seamlessly across channels at all times of the day and to have a range of fast, flexible delivery options available to them.

Retailer leaders at Live will deliver invaluable insights into how to satisfy the demands of consumers, thereby creating loyal customers whose business will sustain a brand well into the future.

In addition to the list of speakers already announced, several new, high-profile names have joined the line-up. Lord Peter Mandelson will deliver a speech on doing business in Europe.

Martin Lewis, famous for creating the website, will take to the main stage on day one to discuss the changing dynamics in retail. As power shifts firmly in the direction of consumers, Lewis will decode the mind of today’s shopper and identify the key trends that will define the next 12 to 18 months and so help retailers meet new demands.

The customer will also be the focus of a talk by Facebook’s UK managing director Steve Hatch, who will explore the phenomenal rise of the connected consumer and examine the implications of people’s growing attachment to digital devices.

Innovation Campus

Innovation is said to be the lifeblood of success and nowhere is that more apparent than in retail, where technological developments constantly shift the dynamics of the sector.

While established players are working hard to stay on top of the latest tech trends, it is often start-ups that are at the vanguard of game-changing retail innovations. To reflect that, for the first time this year’s Retail Week Live will play host to an Innovation Campus where the sector’s leading start-ups will be in the spotlight.

The aim of the Innovation Campus is to bring together the sharpest minds in the start-up community and tap into their innovative ideas, many of which will shape the retail experience of the future. It will also be an opportunity to bring the start-up and retail communities together to share ideas and make connections that could result in future collaborations.

The Innovation Campus will feature keynote speeches and panel discussions that will plug attendees in to the latest thinking and fresh ideas.

At the heart of the event will be the Retail Week Pitch Perfect sessions, where start-ups will pitch innovative propositions to a panel of expert judges in a Dragons’ Den-style format. The winner will receive a trophy on stage and coverage in Retail Week.

The 12-strong list of 2015 finalists has already been drawn up. Among them are software-driven marketing business Ometria, brand-sharing platform SoPost, data analytics expert Yoobic and personalised marketing specialist Spaaza.

“Start-ups are essential for retailers to innovate”

Fred Soneya, Haatch

Businesses will get the chance to pitch their proposition under one of three categories: revenue maximisation, customer engagement and retail efficiency.

Each start-up will have three minutes to pitch their proposition. They will then face 10 minutes of intense questioning from a panel of retail and technology experts, followed by a further 10 minutes of questioning from an audience of influential retail leaders. The audience will then vote on a winner from each heat, who will progress to the next stage. The overall winner will be chosen at Live on March 12.

Among the 12 campus judges are Bertrand Bodson, chief digital officer of Home Retail Group; Asos investment director Daniel Bobroff; Fred Soneya, co-founder of digital investor Haatch; and John Lewis’s head of IT architecture Julian Burnett.

Being nominated as a promising start-up is a feather in the cap of any business, but just as important is the opportunity to network with people in the industry who are permanently on the lookout for the next big retail innovation.

“Start-ups are essential for retailers to innovate more than ever before and Retail Week Live provides the perfect platform for retailers and start-ups to connect,” says Soneya.

Stephen Millard, chief executive of business accelerator Eccomplished, agrees: “Retail Week Live attracts the very best audience of senior retailers, so this programme represents a unique opportunity for start-ups to get noticed by the people who matter most in the industry.”

The Pitch Perfect shortlist

  1. Ometria: An ecommerce marketing specialist that combines predictive software and ecommerce expertise to help build a data-driven customer acquisition and retention strategy.
  2. Collectec: A click-and-collect store management solutions provider that allows customers to continue their online experience right into the store and through the collection process.
  3. Photospire: Allows businesses to harness user-generated content to inspire and engage new customers through visual commerce.
  4. Digital Bridge: An advanced computer vision platform that converts real-world scenes to digital models, allowing customers to visualise what new furnishings and decorations will look like in their own rooms.
  5. Elevaate: A tool to promote brands through a new, buyable and real-time featured product space.
  6. SoPost: A platform that enables people to share their favourite brands by sending physical and digital gifts to their friends through social media.
  7. Yoobic: A data analytics provider that asks smartphone users to collect data and upload it to a central hub where it is analysed and used to create insights for brands.
  8. Big Data for Humans: A data analytics provider that tracks changing habits of customers and automatically identifies selling opportunities.
  9. Pelipod: A designer of a smart home delivery box that generates a one-off code for delivering and accessing orders and also enables easy returns.
  10. Formisimo: Developer of a tool that enables retailers to measure how visitors interact with the forms on their websites, giving them access to advanced metrics.
  11. Spaaza: A retail marketing solution that connects online, in-store and social commerce to enable retailers to personalise prices, rewards and marketing messages.
  12. Goodvidio: Finds, filters and recommends the best videos about a retailer’s products from social media and adds them to an online store.


On stage at Retail Week Live

  • Alex Baldock - Chief executive, Shop Direct
  • Anders Kristiansen - Chief executive, New Look
  • Caroline Dinenage - Member of Parliament for Gosport
  • Cilla Snowball - Group chairman and group chief executive, AMV BBDO
  • Jacqueline Gold - Chief executive, Ann Summers and Knickerbox
  • Jim McCarthy - Chief executive, Poundland
  • John Roberts - Chief executive,
  • Mike Coupe - Chief executive, Sainsbury’s
  • Richard Pennycook - Chief executive, The Co-operative Group
  • Sebastian James - Group chief executive, Dixons Carphone
  • Kate Ancketill - Chief executive, GDR Creative Intelligence
  • Lord Peter Mandelson - Former Labour Party politician and chairman, Global Counsel
  • Stefano Pessina - Executive vice-chairman and acting chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • Marc Mathieu - Senior vice-president of marketing, Unilever
  • Martin Lewis OBE - Award-winning TV and radio presenter, newspaper columnist, author, campaigner and creator of
  • Meredith Smith - Senior consultant, GDR Creative Intelligence
  • Wendy Hallett MBE - Founder and managing director, Hallett Retail
  • Colin Henry - Chief executive, Jaeger
  • Andrew Livingston - Chief executive, Screwfix
  • Andrew Rennie - Chief executive for Europe, Domino’s
  • Anita Balchandani - Partner and head of UK retail, OC&C Strategy Consultants
  • Chris Moss - Customer and marketing director, B&Q
  • David Dalziel - Creative director, Dalziel + Pow
  • David Robinson - Chief operating officer, Argos
  • David Stubbs - Executive director, JP Morgan Asset Management
  • Gary Grant - Co-Founder and chief executive, The Entertainer
  • Henry Lane-Fox - Partner and chief executive, Founders Forum
  • Jeremy Michael - Managing director, SMG
  • John Crosby - Vice-president of product and technology,
  • John Straw - Chairman of the Digital Advisory Board, Thomas Cook Online
  • Julian Burnett - Head of IT architecture, John Lewis
  • Kenny Jacobs - Chief marketing officer, Ryan Air
  • Lucy Green - Head of retail, Thomas Cook
  • Mark Collin - Head of retail,  Europe, ThoughtWorks
  • Matt Clark - Director, Boxwood
  • Michael K Mauler - Executive vice-president, GameStop International
  • Mike Logue - Chief executive, Dreams
  • Neil Tinegate - Head of digital innovation, Argos
  • Nish Kukadia - Chief executive,
  • Paul Kendrick - Customer, financial services and international director, JD Williams
  • Richard Hyman - Founder,
  • Rita Clifton - CBE Chairman, BrandCap and portfolio director
  • Sarah Lim - Managing partner and head of retail, CTPartners
  • Simon Roberts - Executive vice-president, Walgreens Boots Alliance and president, Boots
  • Stan Laurent - Group president and chief executive, PhotoBox Group
  • Steve Hatch - UK managing director, Facebook
  • Stuart Marks - Chairman, L Marks Ltd
  • Alex Sbardella - Product strategy director, RedAnt
  • Andy Brown - Central operations director, Home Retail Group
  • Fiona McPhee - Senior consultant, Lane4 Group
  • Richard Alford - Managing director, M&C Saatchi
  • Rt Hon David Blunkett - MP
  • John Ryan - Stores editor, Retail Week
  • Chris Brook-Carter - Editor-in-chief, Retail Week
  • Declan Curry - Business journalist
  • Sally Elliott - Head of retail, Korn Ferry
  • LJ Rich - Presenter and writer
  • Sian Williams - Business journalist
  • Harry Wallop - Features editor, Daily Telegraph