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Six things PRW 2023 revealed

There was plenty of buzz at this year’s PRW. Over 20,000 professionals came through the doors over 3 days to trawl the stands and attend the 30 talks and 150 workshops.

While the theme of this year’s Paris Retail Week was ‘Back to Basics’, for many visitors the focus was on being prepared for the future. From our conversations with merchants and partners, here are our six top learning points from the show.

There was plenty of buzz at this year’s PRW. Over 20,000 professionals came through the doors over 3 days to trawl the stands and attend the 30 talks and 150 workshops.

As a meeting point for major brands and retailers, the event is unrivalled as a platform for the exchange of ideas and new innovations. It also highlights the main challenges faced by the industry and serves as a sounding board to tackle some of the big issues that impact everyone involved in the growing retail ecosystem.

Top PRW 2023 takeaways

1. There is no shortage of innovative solutions and in-store ambition

While there was much emphasis on e-commerce, it was physical’s turn to shine under the digital spotlight of hybrid services which are now helping to redefine retail experiences for customers. Using technology to drive more interactive engagement in-store was high on attendees’ agendas.

2. Merchants are eager for ways to remove barriers to sales

Finding new ways to integrate complementary and hybrid services seamlessly was a common talking point. On our Castles Technology stand, retailers were eager to understand the role of Android POS and how it could help connect the physical and digital worlds, without adding complexity.

3. There was consensus that shopper expectations have changed exponentially

Consumers’ needs continue to evolve in line with economic pressure, new tech, more choice and increased competition. Today’s consumers have become more informed, more demanding and less loyal. This means that every experience must now be optimised at every touchpoint to boost conversion and reduce churn.

4. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to change things for good and bad

The role of AI and the ramifications of developments like CHAT GPT received a lot of attention. People want to know what it means for retail interaction, and where the opportunities are, particularly in relation to marketing, anti-fraud and CRM. At the same time, they also want to explore the dangers and the risks, e.g. AI-powered automated fraud.

5. The debate around sustainability continues at pace

Both from a customer and operational perspective, many companies are eager for solutions that help them support more eco-friendly and ethically acceptable practices. It’s clear that merchants want to work with suppliers and vendors that support their sustainability goals.

6. There was general recognition that hyper-personalization, a deeper brand connection, and two-way information flows are now crucial to drive sales

Economic challenges, advances in technology and new generations of shoppers with increasing purchasing power are all contributing to the emergence of new needs. Being customer-centric and not just tech-centric is seen as key.

An overriding message was that ‘experience’ remains king – today and in the future.

A common thread in many of our conversations was ‘how can merchants create the sales environments and journeys that will continue to attract the broadest range of customers in store and keep them coming back for more’.

What happens at the checkout is central to this debate. Uniquely placed at the intersection of payments and experience, the point of sale plays a valuable role in helping merchants get it right. Using next-generation POS devices, such as Android POS from Castles Technology, merchants can analyse usage patterns and trends, connect processes, smooth journeys and deliver value-rich services. Everything they need to ensure their payment and checkout strategies remain on track today and tomorrow.

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