RBTE 2016: Datalogic in focus

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 Datalogic. The company's regional director for UK & Ireland, Mike Doyle, explains why the business is returning to RBTE 2016 and promises that the vendor will continue inventing, adapting and applying advanced technology to help retailers improve the shopping experience.

What were your highlights from RBTE 2015?

The quality and breadth of visitors was better than ever in 2015. The show always provides us with valuable opportunities to meet face-to-face with existing and potential customers and this year was no exception. In a lot of cases we are also extended the rare opportunity to engage with people from other areas of the retail business such as merchandising, loss prevention, and operations personnel. Quite often these individuals will provide a unique point of view that enables us to refine and improve our solutions.

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

In 2015 we had a lot more people talking to us about how Datalogic's technology can be used to improve the customer experience and held a number of discussions around how data capture can aid omnichannel retailing. Over the years the conference and seminar programme has really developed to provide attendees with some extremely thought provoking sessions that they can discuss immediately with relevant technology suppliers.

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

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

Datalogic's immediate focus is really a continuation of our current strategy which has already made us a leader in retail automation. We will continue to invent, adapt, and apply advanced technology to help retailers improve the shopping experience while also driving operational efficiencies. The solutions that will be part of this focus include; automated checkout, self-shopping, queue busting, eCommerce, reverse logistics, order fulfilment, loss prevention, and distribution centre automation.

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

For us, imaging has real potential to shake up retail in the next 12 to 18 months. Imaging is at the core of every solution that Datalogic provides and is a vital component in the drive towards developing more robust data collection systems to drive efficiencies within retail. By leveraging the continued innovations in advanced imaging technology, retailers can benefit from a range of new solutions including automated barcode scanning systems, item recognition and machine-vision systems and intelligent shelf management systems; to mention just a few.

In addition to traditional barcode scanning technologies we are now enabling all our devices to decode digital watermarks. The digital watermarking method allows barcode data to be embedded in packaging graphics on all sides of a product but it's completely invisible to the human eye. Not only does this have the potential to dramatically reduce checkout times, the technology frees up valuable space on packaging to advertise promotions, nutritional information, or product comparisons.

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

The retail landscape is changing on an almost daily basis. With the emergence and constant evolution of new channels including online and mobile shopping, more and more power is being placed into the consumer's hands. The expectations bar has been dramatically raised by this paradigm shift and the main challenge for retailers and suppliers alike is to ensure that our rate of technological innovation can keep pace to provide the customer with the most relevant and valuable shopping experience possible, regardless of the channel.

Another challenge that is coming to the forefront is the increasing volume and variety of data, collected in-store and online. Making sure that we are developing the correct tools to capture the right data, at the right time and converting this data into actionable business intelligence that can be leveraged by retailers to improve customer experience and streamline operations is a high priority for the future. 

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

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