Retail technology companies that exhibited at RBTE 2015 have rushed to sign up to next year's event at a record rate, and Essential Retail is running a series of Q&As with the early re-bookers over the coming months.

Today it is the turn of DED. The company's sales manager, Gordon Atkins, explains why the business is returning to RBTE for 2016, and what key challenges retailers are set to face over the coming months.

What were your highlights from RBTE 2015?

We were impressed with the amount of potentially high value customers that came to our stand to see the products we have to offer. We also enjoyed networking with our current customers, it's always beneficial to meet face to face to discuss ongoing business. As in previous years, we enjoyed the overall buzz and vibe of the show.

What were the hot topics at RBTE 2015 compared to previous years and what's your overall view of how the show has developed?

We feel that the show has developed well over the past few years. This is reflected in our re-booking year on year. We do not have large budgets but are happy to commit to RBTE because we know it's definitely worth the investment. It has without a doubt become the number one show for the retail technology sector.

What were the top three reasons for re-booking a stand and confirming your appearance at RBTE 2016?

1.) Quality of visitors

2.) Quantity of visitors

3.) London location

What are the main areas of focus for your business in the year ahead?

This year we will mostly be focusing on MPoS. We have seen real growth in this area over the past couple of years and expect to see this trend continue. We will also focus on our EPoS product range and continue to push plastic card printers out to the retail marketplace for applications such as loyalty cards and gift cards.

Which technologies in particular do you predict will shake up retail in 2015/16?

We feel that MPoS will continue to develop and become more commonplace in the retail industry, particularly amongst street vendors and market stalls. We have seen a real move towards the independent seller managing their entire business via apps on iPads etc., whilst using mobile printers for receipting. We believe this trend will only grow as more people see how this technology can benefit them and they become comfortable using it.

What is currently the greatest challenge to (a) your business and (b) the wider retailer industry?

a) The greatest challenge to our business at the moment is communicating the vast range of products that we have available to all the market sectors that we wish to reach. Our product range is growing constantly and as technology changes so fast (particularly with the MPoS side of things), we find it a challenge to keep our customers informed on all the technologies available to them. This is one of the reasons why we find RBTE such a relevant platform for us – we can reach hundreds of people who have expressed an interest in the products and technologies we specialise in.

b) At the moment, we feel that the retail industry is in a transitional phase between traditional till based EPoS and the more customer focused MPoS. We see it as a challenge for the retail industry to make this transition and begin communicating with their customers more effectively. MPoS gives retailers the opportunity to come out from behind the counter, walk around the store and engage with customers, inform them on products and encourage purchases. Being based behind the counter limits opportunities to interact with customers and could often result in lost sales in certain situations.

The next RBTE takes place at London's Olympia between 9-10 March 2016.

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