Representatives from Tesco, Carpetright, Dune Group and Blackwell's sat down with Essential Retail and event sponsor Hitachi Solutions for a breakfast roundtable discussion to talk about the modern retail customer journey and how to iron out the pain points for today's shoppers.

It was a broad debate covering topics such as the impact technology is having on the shopping experience, new ways of encouraging loyalty, and how ensuring quality customer service is now central to most retailers' strategies as they battle for market share and revenue growth.

Chris Huntingford, customer relationship management consultant at Hitachi Solutions and one of the roundtable participants, said: "In today's society, people are quick to quit a purchase or hang up a phone because of service or interaction that does not suit them and the way they prefer to shop.

"We believe that by utilising the Microsoft technology stack, we can help retailers provide a personalised service to customers across all areas within retail and across all channels."

Download the first of two white papers from Hitachi Solutions and Essential Retail on Cutting Customer Irritation, which specifically looks at ways of encouraging brand advocacy in retail.