Gifts Today magazine

The future of digital on the high street

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

The Future High Street Summit has announced 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 25 and 26 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,” said Clare Rayner, the 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, the managing partner for Retail & Leisure at O2 Business, will speak alongside David Laycock, the 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, the founder of Rewarding Visits, and John Cutler, the 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.

The Future High Street will be held at Nottingham Conference Centre within Nottingham Trent University on 25 and 26 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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