It’s not long now until the retail industry head in their thousands to Olympia for the annual Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) on the 8 and 9 May. Despite packed diaries and long to-do lists, this is one event definitely not to be missed. The reasons why you need to attend RBTE include: the chance to listen for free to high quality conference sessions, network with your peers, meet with the leading suppliers and see the latest retail technology solutions on the expo show floor. You are sure to return from your visit with fresh ideas, new connections and updated knowledge. I know the RBTE event team has worked extremely hard to ensure it remains fresh, forward looking and delivers real value to all participants.

It is my pleasure once again to be chairing the RBTE Payments Theatre, which is taking place this year in partnership with Barclaycard. Over the two days you will hear case studies, keynotes and panel discussions from a great speaker line-up made up of leading retailers as well as from other key payments ecosystem stakeholders. The panels allow you to have your specific questions answered directly by the experts.

Payments continue to be an incredibly important topic for retailers thanks to the high impact it can have on customer service, the need to satisfy increasingly demanding consumers and the chance to offer competitive differentiation. As an example, retailers who were slow to introduce contactless payments faced a consumer backlash and a hit to their brand. On a personal note it is refreshing for payments now increasingly to be seen as a business enabler rather than as a mere compliance project. The payments industry continues to attract very high investment appetite and market valuations, which has seen the launch of exciting start-ups, the scaling up of payment leaders and the creation of several payment unicorns.

At RBTE you will be able to get up to speed on all the latest mobile payment news and initiatives. This is an area that has now moved from trialing payment solutions to mass adoption and rollout. We can expect many exciting new payment products to be launched on the 8 May, so watch out for all the press releases and check out the products for yourself. Payments innovation remains in a very healthy state, as you will be able to see for yourself by attending.

I hope to have the opportunity to see many of you at Olympia very soon, I am sure you will not be disappointed to have made the investment of time in attending. Please do stop by the Payments Theatre and say hello. We have a new central position on the show floor this year, but my advice is to make sure you arrive early for sessions, as it is likely that it will once again be standing room only for many keynotes.