How widely do U.K. convenience retailers use retail tech?
Lowman: Lots of retail tech is being used, but it's patchy. We've seen beacons used to reach customers with deals, digital signage is growing, and there are far more self schedules than a few years ago. But we're not adopting this technology in a very joined up way, so the data from one thing isn't used to inform another.
And it may be that it ends up being other groups who drive the uptake of these technologies, but with the market being built by these new companies in our sector.
Which technologies will U.K. retailers have to invest in?
We need to make much better use of all the data that self service checkouts systems generate, and join it up in a way that drives the retailer to make decisions in their business. Then the step beyond that is that these decisions are made in a more automated way by AI or machine based learning, so range, promotions and formats are decisions driven very directly by data.
Which technologies did you perceive as the most significant at EuroCIS?
For me it's all about how we use tech to enhance the customer experience, it's not one or the other. If we make the operations of a store as simple and frictionless as possible for the customer, we can spend our time interacting and making visiting the store an experience that people enjoy and want to come back to.
What impressed or surprised you at EuroCIS?
Media screens and touchscreen ordering impressed me. I've seen these in the U.K. in quick service food and in the USA in convenience stores, but it's underdeveloped in the U.K. I was surprised by how big this market seems to be here.
If you had to describe EuroCIS in three words, what would those be?