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Retail Technology Forum 2012 - 29-30 October 2012, The Arabella Hotel, Western Cape, South Africa
October saw retailing IT teams and technology service and solution providers from across Southern Africa and beyond descend upon the Arabella Hotel, Hermanus for the 2012 Retail Technology Forum.
Renée Jain, Central Planning Manager at Ackermans says “It was a really well balanced, focused and energising approach to meeting multiple IT vendors in a very short space of time, whilst being able to network with other retailers and learn from the interesting keynotes and presentations. Well worth the time!”
The forum kicked off with a conference chaired by Syd Vianello, Retail Analyst at Nedbank Group. Planet Retail’s Paul Martin opened with an insight into global consumer trends and a look at Planet Retail’s store of 2020. Next up were two case studies: Sat Vijayararghavan of Thoughtworks teamed up with Marco Bon of Gruppo PAM, to look at adaptive retailing; and Norman Annette, Smart Axess and Glen Rabie, Shoprite talked about the mobility of the office and the need for executives to stay connected wherever they are. The Forum’s Gold partner, Argility followed with a presentation from Neels van Tonder on how the digital revolution is changing the Southern Africa retail industry.
The conference sessions ended with a panel discussion, led by Paul Martin. Each panellist brought a unique insight into the ever-changing landscape of the Southern Africa retailing market, with Renée Jain of Ackermans offering a business perspective, talking about the need for an agile and responsive IT department; Ryan Bacher of Netflorist, representing e-tailing, highlighting the fickleness of the online customer; and Melody Fourie of Tiger Wheel & Tyre giving us an insight into selling niche products and shopper centricity. The discussion sparked much interest and the debate continued on through dinner as retailers discussed the issues raised whilst being entertained by Larry Soffer’s mind tricks and fork-bending.
The next morning saw the meetings room buzz to life as the 35 retail groups sat down at their tables to meet with the various vendors at the forum."It is rare that we get the time to engage with so many retailers in such a short space of time, but the mix of formal meetings and informal meeting opportunities worked extremely well. We have been able to initiate some new relationships as well as build on existing ones." says Mark Thomson, Director Retail Industry Solutions EMEA at Motorola Solutions.
Overall the forum was a resounding success, sparking the interest in the forum running again next year, Emma Faure one of OpenRoom Event’s directors says “we were considering the forum running biannually as we do with many of our other forums, but after speaking with so many delegates at the forum we are already looking at 2013 dates”.
in terms of productivity, this event is excellent. We have met all the leading suppliers – and have been introduced to some interesting new companies.
Kenneth Teo, Retail Engineering & Maintenance Manager, Total Asia Pacific Ptd Ltd
OpenRoom runs a global portfolio of B2B forums and its business model is built around the success of combining networking with focused, pre-matched appointments.
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