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 Futura Retail Solutions. The company's director of marketing, Tina Royall, explains why the business is returning to RBTE for 2016, and why she thinks click & collect will continue to become central to retailers' operations in the months ahead.

What were your highlights from RBTE 2015?

The quantity and quality of visitors was better than ever this year. We had a really busy couple of days meeting both potential new clients and discussing new developments with existing ones.

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

Like last year, the hottest topic was definitely mobile point of sale (MPoS). We were showcasing our own MPoS solution and lots of our customers came on the stand see it in action. We have exhibited at RBTE from the beginning and it has improved year on year; for us RBTE is now firmly established as the leading retail technology event.

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

1. RBTE is a great opportunity to showcase our new technology – this year we'll be introducing our web services and new 4POS technology to help lifestyle retailers expand overseas.

2. To catch up with customers and show them how our latest technologies will help them be more productive and get closer to their customers.

3. To engage new customers.

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

Omnichannel retailing providing customers with a seamless experience across all channels will continue to be a very important focus for our user base of predominantly lifestyle and fashion retailers. Fully integrating offline and online business areas with real-time live stock information and a single view of each customer in-store and online is the goal.

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

Greater move to click & collect and click & reserve, plus the ability to purchase in one channel and return in another, will continue in importance for mid-tier and smaller operators. We believe MPoS will see more interest, as retailers empower checkout staff to engage more fully with customers.

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

For a solutions company like Futura, maintaining the pace of development required by a fast moving and dynamic industry and at the same time assisting our retail clients to achieve the level of integration required to deliver the benefits of omnichannel retailing remains a big challenge, but one that we are really up for. For the wider industry, staying focused on the things that will make a difference, avoiding distractions and training, training, training – focus on these and you won't go far wrong.

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

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Futura Retail Solutions

RBTE