Taking place from 7 – 9 October 2019 at the wonderful Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa in Wicklow, Ireland, the European edition of our NG Retail Summit will bring together Directors, VPs & Chiefs of Retail, Technology, Marketing & Operations from across the continent to share experiences, discuss current challenges – and find pragmatic solutions to help deliver meaningful results.

The summit will look at a number of key themes, including: personalisation, AI, data & analytics, the new consumer, retail employees & what happened to omnichannel?

From case studies that lift the lid on operations inside best-in-class organisations, to workshops, panels and oxford style debates that focus on real challenges and future innovations, to one-to-one meetings with industry peers offering practical advice tailored to your specific needs, the summit provides you with everything you need to implement your key projects more effectively.

Our Approach

Every GDS Summit has one stated aim: to help attending executives implement their key projects more effectively. We do this by developing an in-depth understanding of those executives' project needs, the business outcomes they want to achieve, and the challenges they face in terms of hitting those goals.

Who Attends

Our summits are designed for executives looking to take their business to the next level – from market-leading brands to disruptive new entrants. As such, we’ve worked with some of the world’s best-loved and most forward-thinking businesses.
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Attendees Include

The upcoming summit will welcome executives from some of the world's biggest and most recognisable firms - as well as the most forward-thinking - as they look to address their project challenges.
Image of Seth Ellison
Seth Ellison
President & EVP
Image of Rien Jansen
Rien Jansen
Image of Marcin Jasiak
Marcin Jasiak
President Europe & Russia
L’Occitane Group
Image of Katharina Sutch
Katharina Sutch
Director Shopper & Omnichannel Activation
LEGO Group
Image of Chris Lamontagne
Chris Lamontagne
Image of Hash Ladha
Hash Ladha
Oasis & Warehouse
Image of Thomas Rasmussen
Thomas Rasmussen
Image of Maria Murphy
Maria Murphy
Head of UX
Image of James McGhee
James McGhee
Head of UX
Image of Kai Herzberger
Kai Herzberger
Group Director DACH & EMEA, eCommerce & Transformational Retail
Image of Stuart Hill
Stuart Hill
VP Logistics
Image of Stefan Hesse
Stefan Hesse
Board Member

6 Challenges in Retail

Our summit is focused on solving your strategic challenges
  • Identifying the differences in the new generation; employees, customers
  • Recognising which technologies will solve a problem you have, and which are searching for a problem to fix
  • Determining the role of the future store in a world of experience economy
  • Understanding the online & offline power play & knowing how these two channels can work best together
  • Leveraging your data to provide truly personal, relevant recommendations to better customer experience without being creepy 
  • Gaining & protecting market share 
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Summit Schedule

3 Days - 3 Summit Themes - 5 Workshops
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Monday October 7, 2019
Summit registration
1:00pm - 6:00pm
Welcome remarks and briefings
2:30pm - 2:45pm
Panel Discussion
2:45pm - 3:30pm
The End of the World [as we know it]
headshot of Kai Herzberger
Kai Herzberger
Group Director DACH & EMEA, eCommerce & Transformational Retail - Facebook
headshot of Dragan Radojevic
Dragan Radojevic
Retail Innovation Director - Euronics
headshot of Thomas Marzano
Thomas Marzano
Global Head of Brand Experience - Philips

The pace of change has never been this fast. Retailers need to constantly be innovating to stay abreast of competition. Consumers expect more than ever before. Technology is progressing faster than ever before. How do we innovate & keep up with the increasing pressures of this new world?

3:30pm - 3:50pm
Leading the pack – spearheading the revolution

An exclusive interview with a global leader

3:50pm - 5:00pm
Personalisation: No longer an option
headshot of Elena Golubeva
Elena Golubeva
Omnichannel Customer Communications Director - Leroy Merlin

1. How is personalisation impacting the customer journey?
2. Should we build out our channels to allow customers to engage directly 1-1 using chat/tools?
3. What are the personalisation tools we should strongly consider?
4. Is personalisation getting too personal?

3:50pm - 5:00pm
Omnichannel – what happened?
headshot of Stefan Hesse
Stefan Hesse
Board Member - GS1

1.  Where do you start investing first?
2.  Do you think that you are prepared today to deliver seamless experiences no matter when, where or how your customers are expecting to interact with you?
3.  Online & offline power play – how can these two channels work best together?
4.  How do you bring together physical and digital technology along with data and systems?
5.  The move from Omnichannel to New Retail – what does that mean?

3:50pm - 5:00pm
AI, Data & Analytics

1. How do you leverage data to benefit the customer?

  • Understanding customer behaviour using data available to make relevant & timely recommendations

2. How do you create accurate profiles from imperfect data?

3. How do you identify which data is the most relevant & how do you trust the data that is already connected?

4. Attempting to combat the skill shortage

  • Data Science – as – a – Service or inhouse data science teams?
3:50pm - 5:00pm
Retail Employees
headshot of Niko Kontoyannis
Niko Kontoyannis
Head of Retail - Breitling

1. What is the role of employees going forward?

  • How do they add value to the customer experience?
  • How can technology can make it easier for store employees?

2. Driving task efficiency so that staff spend more time with the customer

3. How to ensure staff are true product experts & brand advocates?

3:50pm - 5:00pm
The New Consumer: Principles, wants, spending habits, lifestyle, expectations
headshot of Katharina Sutch
Katharina Sutch
Director Shopper & Omnichannel Activation - LEGO Group

1. How to identify your new customer?

  • How have their needs changed?
  • How do you respond to this change?

2. How to best reward the consumer to build & cement that relationship?

3. How to drive loyalty out of these newer generations?

  • How to form habits and engagement that doesn’t mean burning cash on paid search or other marketing

4. How do you serve a customer that has got so much choice in front of them? How do you keep up with what the consumer is actually looking for?

  • If a customer is given so much choice, then how can you truly compete with providing a consumer with what they want?

5. What does the consumer of the future look like?

5:00pm - 5:30pm
Roundtable feedback
Networking drinks
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Gala Dinner
7:00pm - 10:00pm
8:00pm - 8:30pm
Reinventing the retail wheel: Levi Strauss & Co; the story of a 160 year old startup
headshot of Seth Ellison
Seth Ellison
President & EVP - Levi’s

Detail To Follow.

Tuesday October 8, 2019
7:00am - 7:50am
Welcome remarks
7:50am - 8:00am
The Age of the Customer
8:00am - 8:20am
headshot of Hash Ladha
Hash Ladha
CEO - Oasis & Warehouse

Retailers are taking a more customer-centric approach to business. In an era of instant gratification, increased choices & convenience; how do you increase brand loyalty when a consumer is only interested in how fast you get to them?
– Why customer service matters?
– Evaluating how to use customer service as a competitive differentiator
– How to ensure a consistent experience across all channel?- What role do physical retail stores play in this? How can they differentiate?
– Customer insight is invaluable; how do we harness, analyse & utilise it to improve customer experience?
– Building a fanatical customer base…the tips & tricks.

8:20am - 8:50am
Adapting to living in an Experience Economy

Details To Follow.

Panel Discussion
8:50am - 9:20am
Panel: Retail Tech: Gimmick or Game-Changer?
headshot of Thomas Rasmussen
Thomas Rasmussen
COO - Intersport

As new technologies continue to disrupt the retail industry, how do you identify meaningful solutions?
– Evaluating what emerging technologies will help retailers stay relevant & competitive
o AI & Machine Learning
o Voice
– How can we best utilise the technology we invest in?
– How can we minimise the risk of adopting new technologies?
– How will technology change retail in the next 20 years?

Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
9:20am - 10:00am
A level playing field: Bricks vs. Clicks
headshot of Simon Calvert
Simon Calvert
Director Trading - Bonmarché

Traditional retailers are weighed down with superior taxes, rent & rates however nearly 20% of all retail sales in the UK last year were done online. Consumer preferences are changing, more & more money is being spent online.
– Should we introduce an “Amazon Tax”?
– Are internet retailers as socially responsible?
– Should traditional retailers consider consolidate stores & investing more heavily in other channels?
– Is eCommerce the biggest threat to brick & mortar?
– Does eCommerce have an unfair advantage?

Coffee & networking
10:00am - 10:20am
Panel Discussion
10:20am - 11:00am
The Welcome Stranger – how do you make the most of a first impression?
headshot of Maria Murphy
Maria Murphy
Head of UX - FeelUnique
headshot of James McGhee
James McGhee
Head of UX - Footasylum
headshot of Jens-Ole Boelsen
Jens-Ole Boelsen
Head of UX - Otto Group
headshot of Jakob Mølgaard Holm
Jakob Mølgaard Holm
Director Consumer Insight EMEA - PANDORA

Consumers now expect you to know who they are and respond accordingly but how do you personalise the experience to a complete stranger?
– What does personalisation look like to me?
– Can we personalise the experience in real-time without the user realising that is it personalised?
– What can we do with our profile data to build a direct link with the customer?
– How do you meet expectations without being too intrusive?

11:00am - 11:40am
Mobile - the link between online & offline

We spend on average 24 hours a week online, with traffic from mobiles reaching 66% it is time for retailers to adopt a mobile first approach. Mobile is now being used in all areas of retail from browsing to check out; so how do you create a superlative mobile experience?

– Exploring the pros & cons of native apps vs. PWA’s

– How to utilise mobile in every step of the journey?

Panel Discussion
11:40am - 12:20pm
Winning the market share battle
headshot of Massimo Martini
Massimo Martini
Marketing Director - VF Corporation

The online share of retail is still growing but not as rapidly as in previous years. With bricks & mortar retailers taking up more of the ‘pie’.
– How do you maintain & grow share online when brick & mortar retailers are penetrating the market?
– How do you compete when companies disrupting the market with an unprofitable business model?
– How do you protect existing market share?
– Evaluating different ways to improve market share

12:20pm - 12:50pm
Differentiate. Don’t compete.

Amazon standards put a real strain on other retailers; delivery, choice, returns. How do you truly compete? It’s simple. You don’t.

Networking Lunch
12:50pm - 1:50pm
1:50pm - 2:40pm

a. Personalisation: No longer an option

b. Omnichannel – what happened?

c. AI, Data & Analytics

d. Retail Employees

e. The New Consumer: Principles, wants, spending habits, lifestyle, expectations

2:40pm - 3:20pm
Taking away the pain of paying

New regulations; PSD2 & 3DS 2.0 have forced retailers to reassess their payments process. With cart abandonment rate at 75% how do you maximise the good transactions?

  • How do you streamline the payment process?
  • What technology can you offer in-store & online to ease checkout?
  • What implications does PSD2 have on customer experience?
Case Study
3:20pm - 4:00pm
The Holistic In-Store Retail Experience
headshot of Rien Jansen
Rien Jansen
MD - BonPrix

Retailers are finding new ways to offer customers something unique or special in order to encourage traffic to physical stores. Consumers want to be inspired, to have a good time, to touch, to feel, to smell, to try. Digital interfaces are enhanced by the physical presence of merchandise, environment & store associates.
– Identifying which technologies will improve in-store experience
o How do you create that digital experience in-store?
– How to leverage data to benefit customer experience?
– Evaluating the ways to improve the emotional power of your brand through a multi-sensory experience
– Should we move to experience instead of product?

Panel Discussion
4:00pm - 4:40pm
The Alliance of Retail & Technology
headshot of Florent Courau
Florent Courau
MD France - JD.com

Carrefour & Tencent. Monoprix & Amazon. Harrods & Farfetch. M&S & Ocado. The leaders in this modern world are tech companies. New partnerships between tech giants & retailers are becoming increasingly common but should retailers try to become tech companies themselves?

Coffee & networking
4:40pm - 5:00pm
Oxford Style Debate and Live Polling
5:00pm - 5:40pm
Discounts - a necessary evil?

Over-exposure to discounts can shift consumer perception, decrease brand value & make products seem inferior however discounting in retail is at an all-time high.
– How do you keep your customer engaged when you take the discounts away?
– How do we move away from always-on sales & be cleverer with targeted offers?

5:40pm - 6:10pm
Instagram - the world's biggest department store?
headshot of Chris Lamontagne
Chris Lamontagne
CEO - Teespring

84% of shoppers review at least one social media post before purchasing. The power Instagram has it that it offers a hyper-personalised experience.

– What does social commerce mean for your business?

– Does social commerce provide the consumer with the personalised experience they desire?

– How to use social influencers to promote your retail business

– How can social commerce increase store footfall?

– Will social commerce replace eCommerce?

Attendee downtime
6:00pm - 7:00pm
Drinks, Gala Dinner & Entertainment
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Wednesday October 9, 2019
7:30 am - 8:20 am
Welcome remarks
8:20 am - 8:30 am
Panel Discussion
8:30 am - 8:50 am
Gen Z: The true digital natives
headshot of Marcin Jasiak
Marcin Jasiak
President Europe & Russia - L’Occitane Group

– How do you identify, attract & retain top talent?
– In a saturated retail landscape, how do you become the employer of choice?
– As Gen Z steps into the workforce how have their expectations evolved?
– What attracts the new generation of staff?

8:50 am - 9:20 am
What is next for AI?

Many retailers are already using AI for chat but what are the next applications for AI in retail?
– What is artificial intelligence and what does it truly mean?
– How do you get buy in from the board to implement AI solutions?
– How do you use AI to make real-time recommendations to a customer?
– Machine learning is relatively common but how can you prove a machine is learning & then know what AI can then be set up?

9:20 am - 10:00 am

a. Personalisation: No longer an option

b. Omnichannel – what happened?

c. AI, Data & Analytics

d. Retail Employees

e. The New Consumer: Principles, wants, spending habits, lifestyle, expectations

Coffee & networking
10:00 am - 10:30 am
10:30 am - 11:10 am
Is the future of retail drop shipping?
headshot of Stuart Hill
Stuart Hill
VP Logistics - Farfetch

Details To Follow.

11:10 am - 11:50 am
The Future of Loyalty

Acquiring a new customer costs anywhere between 5 – 25 times more than retaining an existing one. On top of this Forbes, states returning customers spend on average 67% more than new. However, your standard loyalty programme will just not cut it.
– How to update your loyalty programme to fit in line with modern consumer expectations
– How do you increase brand loyalty when a consumer is only interesting in how fast you get the product to them?
– How do you measure the effectiveness of your loyalty programme?

11:50 am - 12:30 pm
Closing panel & wrap up: So what's next…

As we contextualise everything we have learnt over the last couple of days, what will we take back to the business? How do we implement what we have learnt? What steps should we be taking moving forward?

Lunch & farewells
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Summit Location

Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa, Wicklow, Ireland

Our events take place at some of the most prestigious venues in the world. Five-star accommodation, dining and amenities make attending one of our summits both business and pleasure. Being productive has never been so much fun.

Latest Case Study

Senior executives love our summits because of the unparalleled opportunity to meet people with ideas on how to move their key projects forward. But don’t just take our word for it…

To discuss how GDS Summits can help you solve your project challenges contact us on: 0117 921 4000 or email sayhello@gdsgroup.com.

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