Five retail technology questions for Pricer’s Duncan Potter – Retail Technology Innovation Hub

RTIH: Which retail technology trend is overrated in your opinion?

DP: Albeit it a slightly gray answer, it is difficult to call out one, because so many technology trends are initially misconceived or mispositioned.

They may fail to capture imaginations or drive retail ROI the first time around, only to be resurrected later in a different form to solve a different problem.

Also, so much gets written about technologies that have seen very small roll-outs – a 30-40 store roll-out does not change much globally, but may act as a great proof of concept – it’s only when that technology sees very broad adoption that we see fundamental change.

RTIH: What are the top five retail tech Twitter/LinkedIn accounts you can’t do without, and why?

DP: IGD’s Toby Pickard is my go to when it comes to following grocery trends and innovation.

From a media perspective, George Nott at The Grocer is always a good source of news about how retailers and supermarkets are embracing innovation and driving change.

Elodie Perthuisot, Chief E Commerce, Digital Transformation and Data Officer at Carrefour, because not only do we work closely with her as one of our customers here at Pricer, but she is always looking for new ways the French grocery business can push the envelope on innovation.

She’s not only a good follow on social, but she’s delivered some great keynotes of late, most recently over at Shoptalk Europe, so she’s one to watch out for on the speaker circuit too.

Simon Sinek’s LinkedIn is a good source of business leadership advice and views – incidentally, his podcast, ‘A bit of optimism’ is also a good listen.

Richard Branson is also always a good follow for new and blue sky thinking.

RTIH: If you could have a dinner party with any five retail pioneers, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

DP: I am sure that my first guest, Jeff Bezos, needs no explanation as to why he’d be on the invite list as the Amazon visionary.

Next up would be Clarence Saunders of Piggly Wiggly.

They started the self-service revolution in 1916, and later tried full-service concepts, like Keedoozle and Foodelectric, setting a new standard for service and format for retail that many of today’s retailing premises are founded on.

Then there would have to be either Jasper Meek or Henry Beach – the fathers of promotional products – burlap bags and metal trays and signs.

Lilian Beckwiths – or probably more correctly her father as portrayed in “About my father’s business”, who started and ran an old fashioned grocer’s shop in a Midlands town, and who gave me my first insight into retail when I was about 10.

Finally, there would be Mrs Cusick (and her husband) who owned the corner shop where I grew up and knew more about personalized customer service than any other living person (as far as I was concerned at 11 years old).

RTIH: If someone wrote a biography about you, what would you like the title to be?

Title: A Full, Varied and Interesting Life

Subtitle: How the heck did he fit all that in and why-oh-why did he make all those mistakes?!?

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