Retailers and retail technology vendors alike have hailed this year's RBTE as a success, with visitor numbers up by more than 20% compared to 2013.

Feedback from attendees has been that the conference and workshop programme was the "best ever" with all sessions playing out to packed theatres. It was standing room only for the 'power panel' session, which featured experienced industry executives Steven Esom, Andrew Harrison, Stephen Robertson (see image below), David Wild and Peter Williams – with all the panellists agreeing that retailers must put customers at the forefront of their strategies

New features included The Retail Innovation Theatre (sponsored by Epson) which kicked off in style with an opening address from Nick Wheeler, owner of Charles Tyrwhitt, and the eCommerce Bootcamps, which were well attended and are set to return to RBTE 2015.  

The new look Retail Payments Theatre (sponsored by Amazon Payments) took a huge leap forward with a reinvigorated retailer-oriented programme. The Loyalty Roundtable under the chairmanship of Essential Retail editor Ben Sillitoe was yet another highlight. 

Alan Mason, IT Manager at Kurt Geiger, said: "My visit to RBTE is really valuable, because so much of what we’ve got going on is with companies that are here and things that are going on here.

"It gives us the idea that what we commit to doing and we’re going to be doing over the next 12 months is the right way to go, so there’s valuable insight gained here."

Neil Gibson, IT manager for retail business systems at Starbucks, added: “RBTE is all under one roof, so you don’t have to go too far to see the major competition and the major brand leaders.”

Ian Lenton, application architect at fashion retailer New Look, remarked: "RBTE has been useful, it’s been good to come and see it and good to see the amount of people that are here.

"As a business we’re growing, we’re growing internationally, we’re growing in the UK, we’re growing online as well, that’s where we’re growing as a business – so to be able to see all these things, see where the market is going and … see the innovations that are happening within the technology side of things helps us to grow our business."     

The Champagne Bar sponsored by Dell and the Wi-Fi and Networking Lounge sponsored by Paypal were consistently full of business meetings and networking activity.

Matt Bradley, event director of RBTE, said: "RBTE has again raised the bar in running a world beating industry event totally in tune its market. We’re looking forward to RBTE 2015, especially as we’ll be moving to our new venue at Olympia’s Grand Hall."

The dates for RBTE 2015 have been announced as 10-11 March.