Digital innovation in the spotlight for ‘game changing’ retail brands

LEEDS is cementing its retail credentials with the opening of Trinity Leeds and imminent launch of Victoria Gate, so it is ever more important for retailers in the region to keep up with consumer trends.

From making check-out mobile friendly to working on your brand strategy and getting investment for a retail business, all bases were covered at Whitecap Consulting’s ‘Game Changers in Consumer & Retail’ event at First Direct Arena today.

‘Game Changers’ featured speakers from brands and sector specialists including Shopdirect, First Direct Arena, Yorkshire-based Slingsby Gin, the Business Growth Fund, Visualsoft and Calbee.

On the agenda was Ed Harries, director of enterprise marketing at ecommerce services firm Visualsoft, who emphasised the importance of making mobile sites as consumer friendly as possible (if you cannot invest in an app) considering, he said, consumers (and Google) will expect a page to load in two seconds or less.

He also said that on average there were 24 steps to checkout on a mobile device –

“We need to think how we can better engage with customers on mobile,” he said, emphasising the need to create a great experience that shows consistency across platforms – as 98% of users move between devices on the same day.

A panel of the speakers also discussed diverse topics. Robin Hilton, co-founder of Researchbods, said that stores were realising that digital and physical stores were not worlds apart.

He said: “Burberry realised they were in the luxury retail space which was really crowded. They went for a sweet spot and became digitally enabled – using digital technology in store, and really upped the ante in the theatre in store.”

gamechangers whitecap

Dan Rubel, strategy and communications director at Shopdirect said that the company had decided some time ago to specialise in personalisation, but that for smaller businesses, social media, now becoming more of a paid medium could give better and a quantifiable ROI.

Julian Wells, director at Whitecap Consulting, the hosts of the event, said: “The consumer and retail sector is one of the most significant in the UK economy and it also one of the most dynamic, so keeping up to date with the latest developments and trends is vital for all that operate in it. Leeds has a thriving retail sector, buoyed by recent developments such as Trinity, First Direct Arena and the soon to open Victoria Gate. We hope that our event can play a part in helping the Leeds City Region continue to prosper.”

Richard Taylor, investment director at BGF, said: “Game Changers provides an opportunity for senior executives to network, build connections and gather new ideas. I was delighted to attend the event to share BGF’s experience of funding some of the fastest growing brands in the North, including Xercise4Less, Better Bathrooms, Grace Cole and more.”