Retail Tomorrow: what we mean by innovation

‘Innovation’ is constantly on the lips of retailers. But why? Because it provides new ways to engage and excite the consumer, and it keeps things fresh.

Fresh thinking was flowing freely at the inaugural Retail Tomorrow conference, which staked its claim to become a regular event by exceeding expectations over two days in late February 2017.

  • 50 retailers attended, mostly C-level, roles ranging from CEO to CTO and operational heads.
  • A stellar line-up of keynote speakers from around the globe came together to prove beyond doubt why they are the acknowledged thought-leaders of today, shaping retail tomorrow.
  • The BBC’s Business Editor Simon Jack shared some very personal (and off-the-record) thoughts and reflections, and kept other presenters on their toes with his incisive questions.
  • Workshop sessions gave attendees the chance to dive deeper into emerging areas of change and to bring themselves up-to-speed with ever-developing best-practice in other areas.
  • Two ‘Dragons’ Den’ format sessions gave ten bravely confident companies the chance to ‘pitch’ to the assembled audience and be publicly judged in real-time.
  • The prestigious Four Seasons Hotel and Spa Hampshire provided the perfect setting; a grand dinner evening rounded off with two stand-up comedians continuing the element of fun.

We’ve put together an event summary full of insight and inspiration which you can download here.


Why a new retail event in an already crowded calendar?

Because retailers asked us for it. In Autumn 2016 we wrote to them asking what they’d like to see in an event. Bringing the many responses together, we focused on the top four recurring retailers ‘wants’ to create our four pillars for a new event:

One – A proper opportunity for focus, thought and deeper networking. In other words, an overnight residential event rather than a one-day conference or an expo-style format. The chance to get away from emails, to get out of London (or HQ…) without distractions. An event in which people can commit to talking, listening and sharing.

Two – An event to be near the start of the year but after the New Year sales period and after NRF’s Big Show, with a commitment to bring and discuss hot-off-the-press NRF insight and news for the many who won’t have had the opportunity to go to New York City.

Three – a dedicated focus on innovation and introduction to concepts retailers will genuinely never have seen before, throughout all the content and conversation.

Four – A chance to see some technology-supplier pitches that retailers wouldn’t necessarily come across, in a compelling and time-focused way, but without the implied pressure of an expo-booth face-to-face format. We thought: ‘Dragon’s Den’ it is…

And we know how busy people are, particularly at the C-level and Head of Department level, and that taking a 24 hours out was a pretty big ask – so we knew we’d have to deliver a big reward.

Thus Retail Tomorrow was born – it was a huge success and we’re already planning the 2018 event. It more than lived up to its promise: “Igniting Ideas and Accelerating Innovation”. But you don’t need to take my word for it – you can read the event summary here.


If you are interested in sponsoring our 2018 conference or Retail dinner in September 2017, please contact:

Benita Sabharwal

Retail In Detail Manager

+44 20 8875 2000