Future High Street Summit to share importance of digital integration with UK town centres

  • O2 & Leeds Ventures help independent retailers with new project
  • Delegates to get exclusive preview of new Rewarding Visits technology
  • Retail Everywhere to launch new sales channel for towns and shopping centres
  • Savvy UK plans to present key principles of loyalty schemes

The Future High Street Summit is pleased to announce the speakers for the final session of Day One, ‘The changing nature of the high street’. Keynote presentations in this slot will open up the options available to high street regeneration professionals, allowing the UK’s town and city centres to fully embrace the digital age and ensure their positions in the future.

Industry professionals have become all too aware of how important technology has become to the modern consumer, and recent figures indicate that the digital movement will only continue to grow. The Future High Street Summit, which will be held at Nottingham Conference Centre on 25th and 26th March, is committed to informing its delegates on how their local high streets can integrate this technology and remain relevant to town centre users.

“Technological advances show no signs of slowing and, unfortunately, many of the UK’s high streets are starting to suffer for it,” explains Clare Rayner, founder of the Summit. “Our ‘changing nature’ session aims to open our attendees’ eyes to the options available to them. The high street is evolving and this session will help to ease that transition, allowing councils, BIDs, town teams, retailers and other stakeholders to integrate the digital revolution with the traditional town centre experience.”

In fact, both large and small businesses are invested in the digital development of the high street. At the Summit, Caroline Gorski, Managing Partner for Retail & Leisure at O2 Business, will speak alongside David Laycock, Founder of Leeds Ventures, about the advances made by the partnership in Leeds. The Leeds Welcome project offers a variety of digital solutions that help independent retailers get their voices heard.

Caroline comments, “With the dramatic shift in consumer expectations over the past few years, it’s more important than ever for independent retailers to offer customers a seamless experience.

“We have worked with many large retailers to help them digitise their stores, so we’re using our expertise in partnership with Leeds Welcome to explore how technology can help drive custom to brilliant local retailers and secure them a place in the future high street.”

David adds, “Leeds Ventures’ initiatives, Leeds Welcome and Independent Leeds, provide community frameworks for organisations to promote themselves and, collectively, their city. The lead relationship with O2 provides the customer-facing communications and technological expertise to connect, support and promote independent businesses as part of a total city experience.”

Another partnership case study will be presented at the conference by Guy Chatburn, Founder of Rewarding Visitsand John Cutler, Vice Chairman of Sutton Coldfield BID. The Birmingham suburb has been working with the incentive-led loyalty card and app for a year now, and its local loyalty scheme, Rewards in Sutton Coldfield, was launched on the Rewarding Visits network in July 2014.

Since then, 9,000 instant rewards have been given by local businesses, both big and small, to new and existing visitors. The scheme encourages the integration of tradition and technology, with both smart phone apps and plastic cards available to consumers to receive rewards for visiting the high street.

Guy explains, “We set out to make sure it was popular by ensuring that it was also practical for non-digital users, including shoppers without smart phones and traders without websites or Wi-Fi.”

Rewarding Visits will also offer Future High Street Summit delegates an exclusive preview of its proposed Rewards Point technology. The technology has already secured funding as a finalist in Innovate UK’s Re-imagining the High Street competition, and is preparing a bid for a further £1 million investment.

Guy continues, “Visitors viewing digital adverts on the Rewards Point will scan their cards or mobiles to print off vouchers to redeem nearby. These can include retailers’ own EPOS offer barcodes, enabling popular larger businesses to be included, as well as the independents, coffee shops and market traders, so the whole town business community can join in equally and immediately.”

As well as the exclusive preview of the Rewards Point technology, Future High Street Summit delegates will also be able to hear the preliminary results of a brand new sales channel developed by a promising start-up.

Tom Keane, Founder & CEO of Retail Everywhere, will present mallCommerce, a sales channel designed to benefit local authorities, shopping centres, high streets, retailers and shoppers. He will detail results of the increased footfall it is already delivering through the digital engagement it facilitates with local shoppers.

The solution gives local authorities an integrated set of digital innovations, including 3-D navigation (via iBeacons or existing Wi-Fi), retailer product feeds (both app- and web-based), an advanced currency-based loyalty scheme, and push notifications based on big data and location.

Tom explains, “Our unique approach helps groups of retailers, rather than individual businesses, to succeed collectively. The complexity of all our innovations are hidden in one easy-to-deploy package which makes it simple and rewarding for shoppers to discover, physically locate and purchase the products they want in their own locality.”

With such a variety of loyalty schemes available to high streets, it’s important to understand which factors affect their success. Steve Wyllie, Managing Director of Savvy Loyalty, will present some key principles that underpin this success, as well as describing the company’s vision for the next year.

Steve comments, “Effective loyalty schemes change consumer behaviour, and that’s what we do. With over 30,000 cardholders across the UK, we know our local loyalty cardholders typically spend 30% more per visit than other shoppers.

“We launched our first award-winning loyalty scheme in 2005 and we’ve found there are a number of principles to follow that build in long-term success. We’ll be explaining a number of these simple but critical principles at our presentation on 25th March.

“Our unique mobile, tablet and web services are of real value to consumers, businesses and towns, and provide unique insights into local spending. For example, we know that in one town in Kent, 1,715 local loyalty cardholders spent £105,183 in participating businesses over the last eight weeks.”

With such a range of passionate speakers, all embracing the digital high street revolution, delegates will be spoiled for choice and will get an insight into the  wealth of technology available to them, and, more importantly, how to choose the right partner for their local needs.

The Future High Street will be held at Nottingham Conference Centre within Nottingham Trent University on 25th and 26th March. For more information on the event and to see an outline agenda with the other featured high street factors, delegates can visit the Future High Street Summit website.

Tickets for the conference are on sale now and attendees can sign up at www.futurehighstreet.co.uk/register

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