We were oversubscribed for our retail event at Harvey Nichols in London last week, so we had a full house – despite it being a Friday.

The event focused on the retail industry in a futuristic world, how businesses will need to change the way they engage with customers and implement new technology to ensure their loyalty. It was great to see so many of our partners, customers, friends, industry analysts and journalists in attendance, and we would like to thank everyone for helping to make the event a success. We would also like to say a special thank you to Cisco, who sponsored the event.

After our guests had enjoyed some purple cocktails as a welcome treat (Purple Rain of course), we kicked off the event with a talk from Helen Fridell. Helen leads the retail consulting team at Cisco UK and Ireland and focused on what loyalty really means for retailers in today’s connected world. She talked about some research that Cisco had recently completed, containing the information that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of a retailer’s customer base, highlighting the importance of nurturing relationships with loyal customers. Helen said that retailers should not focus on the omni-channel experience any more, but implement a “customer channel” strategy.

Next up was Craig Hanna, a digital marketing guru who helped set up Econsultancy’s consulting and training business in New York City, where he helped marketing teams for major retailers to understand customer loyalty. Craig discussed the move from transactional loyalty to full service loyalty and how the concept of value exchange will extend to tomorrow’s landscape. What’s interesting about Helen and Craig’s talks is that although they were speaking from entirely different perspectives, the conclusions they drew were largely the same.

2 minute event highlights video

After a short break where the champagne was flowing, we welcomed retail expert Sir Terry Leahy to the stage. Sir Terry is the ex-CEO of Tesco and now invests in technology businesses, including Purple WiFi. He took us on a trip down memory lane, taking us through the story of how and why ClubCard came about. Tesco have essentially been frontrunners in using big data to personalise experiences since the launch of ClubCard back in 1995. He said that the key to implementing big data successfully is ensuring customers know it will be used responsibly and securely – and only to improve and personalise their shopping experience. The Drum put together a write up of Sir Terry Leahy’s insights from the afternoon, which you can read here.

Sir Terry’s talk resulted in a lively debate afterwards, where many guests were discussing if we will need to carry any kind of loyalty card at all in the near future. It was discussed that there may come a point where we may not even be aware of loyalty any more; things like rewards and offers will be applied automatically when we pay for goods, via a smartwatch and Apple Pay for example.

Sir Terry concluded with a summary of the four technology businesses he invests in now (one of them Purple WiFi), all of which were selected because they are game-changers in their industry.

Last but by no means least, our very own Bill Williams, Sales Director the UK and Africa, talked about how Purple WiFi is creating connected intelligent spaces for retailers. He brought his presentation to life with an enthusiastic overview of Purple WiFi, an overview of the product, a view of how far we have come since investment and the work we are currently doing with a selection of customers including Merlin Group. Plus a taster of what’s coming next.

Finally, congratulations to James Scutt from the Post Office who won the £100 prize in our Twitter competition.

Our next Purple WiFi event is all about hospitality, exploring what the bar and restaurant experience will look like in 2025. The event will take place on Thursday 22nd October, from 2pm – 7pm, at Gilgamesh, London.

Register for free here.