How can retailers use technology to expand internationally?

Fashion retailer H&M announced earlier this month that it will open its first store in India later in 2014, having already revealed that it will also open stores in the Philippines and Australia this year.

H&M plans to be operating transactional websites in four new markets by the end of 2014, too, following a successful online launch in the US in August last year. One will be in France, but the other three territories have yet to be named.

Other retailers currently undertaking ambitious international growth paths include the likes of Zara owner Inditex, online fashion house Asos and luxury department store chain Harvey Nichols, with eCommerce often used as a method of testing the water in new territories before opening physical stores once company branding has been established.

International expansion, fuelled by advancements in technology, is just one current industry trend in the global retail industry. With constant change on the agenda, technology business accelerator Eccomplished is this year working with RBTE to host the Retail Innovation Theatre, sponsored by Epson, where tech innovators will present their ideas and solutions for driving forward the new tech-focused retail industry.

One session will focus on Unlocking International Markets, which takes place on 12 March between 15:00-16:30 allowing RBTE visitors to discover the emerging technologies helping retailers extend their reach internationally.

Having been selected by RBTE's steering panel of retail thought leaders, the innovators presenting during this session are: Concrete, EpiServer, Intelligent Reach and Pensio. The session will be hosted by Graham Benson, chief information officer at discount fashion e-tailer M&M Direct.

Below are some details about the companies involved, who will be tackling the issues surrounding the technologies that seek to help retailers break down geographic barriers and extend reach and service customers wherever they may be.


About the company: Concrete is a platform for uniting your company in the cloud. Not just connecting teams socially, but giving them the tools to do their jobs.

From global planning through to project management and delivery, Concrete puts all your company in one place so you can manage it more easily. Meanwhile, its unique dashboard lets managers communicate, view and measure activity against impact on the bottom line.

Clients include many fast-expanding brands worldwide, such as Kate Spade New York, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, Marks & Spencer, Levi’s, Debenhams and Tesco F&F.


About the company: EPiServer connects eCommerce and digital marketing to help business create unique customer experiences which generates business results.

EPiServer's platform combines content, eCommerce and multichannel marketing capabilities to work full circle for businesses online, from intelligent optimisation, lead-generation through to conversion and repeat business. Sitting at the centre of the digital marketing ecosystem, EPiServer empowers online and IT professionals to create superior customer experience for more than 20,000 websites worldwide.

Built on .NET, and supported by a pioneering partner network of over 690 partners in over 30 countries, EPiServer's platform gives customers the ability to deliver the right content to the right person in the right format at a time that suits them. This approach means customers can maximise their investment in digital and increase ROI.

Intelligent Reach

Speaker: Steve Rivers, managing director and co-founder

About the company: Intelligent Reach connects online retailers' products with their customers, intelligently, wherever they are. We go deeper... Optimising reach, performance and profitability for every single product across multiple channels and territories.

We maximise trading – trading intelligence ensures best placement and price against direct competitors. We provide actionable insights – advanced insights ensure data lead decision making.

Our clients double their revenues, whilst reducing cost of sale by 30% or more.


Speaker: Jesper Beyer-Clausen, co-founder and international director of sales

About the company: Pensio is a Denmark-based payment management specialist that defines and implements the optimal solution for its clients to process payments globally.

By combining our unique payment services platform with our highly knowledgeable customer support team, Pensio provides its clients with a reliable and transparent customised payments strategy that can be implemented in just a few weeks.

Pensio's solutions are highly effective at reducing basket abandonment, providing detailed multi-currency reconciliation and fraud detection.

The other Retail Innovation Theatre sessions set to be covered over the course of the two days at RBTE are, as follows: Physical Retail Reinvented; Customer Centric Commerce; Customer Experience Transformed; Tomorrow's Retail World; Delivering the Promise.

The Innovation Theatre is free for visitors to attend, although pre-registration is recommended to secure your seat in what will be a packed-out theatre. Find out more information on the RBTE website.

Over the last few weeks, Essential Retail has been profiling each individual challenge set to be addressed at the Innovation Theatre. Read the articles, below:

The Retail Innovation Theatre provides the solutions to the biggest challenges that retailers face. Ideas and solutions highlighted in the theatre will help dramatically change and improve retailers businesses.

Technology innovators in the retail space are blurring the lines between physical and digital retail. Find out how in the new-look Retail Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014.

New research suggests retailers are missing a customer engagement trick by not setting up interactive technology in-store. The Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014 will highlight some fresh new solutions.

With recent research showing that UK customer satisfaction with businesses has fallen, the Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014 will showcase solutions that are transforming the customer experience for the better.

Retailers now employ staff to focus solely on innovation, emphasising the rapid change the industry is undertaking. The Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014 will put future technology in focus.

The point of delivery is the final experience customers have in the purchase journey, making it a crucial area of consideration. The Innovation Theatre at RBTE 2014 will showcase the latest delivery technologies.


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