With many retailers seeing investments in digital store experience pay off with increased sales, in-store
innovation is becoming more important than ever as well as a transformation journey. However, with this
rapid pace of change and so many unknowns, turning a digital concept into reality can be a huge
Richard is Head of Digital Stores for M&S, where he leads the charge on in-store digital solutions. Today
he is sharing his thoughts on the trends for the future and what retailers need to do to capitalize on them.
At 31 st May, he will give live insights on how to foster an culture of innovation during Future Stores: the
event for 150+ retail innovation professionals.
Together they’ll share experiences, benchmark ideas and
discuss the latest technologies at Europe’s only event that is
focused on driving in-store sales through digital. You can see
What technological trends do you believe will grow over the
next 12 months?
Over the next year I suspect we are going to continue to see the
rise of the Internet of Things, with more and more everyday
household and personal items becoming connected to the
internet. It’s like that we’ll see the wearable technology become
come commonplace, along with the growth of new payment
What is the one thing that retailers need to keep front of
mind when considering new technologies?
New technology can seem to be very attractive, what I like to
call the ‘Buzz Lightyear Effect’. It’s important to be clear on
whether there is an early or first mover advantage to bringing on
a new piece of tech. For most retailers it’s probably worth
learning from others first and copying with pride without having the cost of investing in unproven early-
stage technology. It’s not unusual for companies to get wooed by early stage businesses, who use their
first rounds of customers as test-beds for un-proven concepts. Be clear on the problems that is being
solved and make sure that the technology being proposed is relevant, scalable and can co-exist with the
current technology stack
What can digital do to help improve the role for store associates?
With the advent of greater mobile connectivity the potential touchpoints for brands to be engaging with
consumers, this means that the in-store experience is only part of a greater web of engagement. Putting
the customer at the heart of the experience and not injecting technology for the sake of it is crucial here. It
may look cool to give everyone a Tablet on the shop floor, but make sure that it’s not getting in the way of
the human interaction customers are expecting in-stores.
Customers elect to come into stores, expect, and in many cases prefer, the human touch. Digital needs to
be un-intrusive and complementary during customer interactions.
On the operational side there is a considerable amount that can be done to improve internal processes
and operational efficiency more generally. Converging around fewer types of devices, building store
operations around event based task management, reducing duplicated efforts and the like are all strong
candidates for digital solutions.
Why are you attending Future Stores this year?
Future Stores gives is a great opportunity to network with colleagues from adjacent businesses and get a
picture of what common challenges there are. Seeing what’s coming on the horizon from new and
existing vendors is always good and I’m looking forward to being wowed by the amazing new things that
are bound to be on display.
Richard will share his insights live at Future Stores, in the following session:
PANEL REVOLUTION: Fostering a culture of innovation: How can you encourage your staff
to overcome a fear of failure mindset and embrace an ethos for staying ahead of the game
with new digital business transformation concepts?
Paul Wills, Director Dealer Development, Hyundai Motor UK
Richard Hewitt, Head of Digital Stores, Marks and Spencer
Moderator: Francesca Danzi, Former Director of Global Beauty- Burberry, Managing Director & Founder- Danzi
You can see the full agenda here to find out who else is speaking, and how attending this event can
benefit your omni-channel strategy. If you want to attend at 31 May – 1 June in London, be sure to use
code FASHION15 when booking online, to guarantee 15% off the ticket price.