At the picturesque Belfry Hotel and Resort in Sutton Coldfield from 14-15 June, Aptos held its first annual European conference – Engage Europe 2017. Customers, colleagues, partners and friends from all across the country came to share news and insights about what’s new and next in our retail community, to discuss the issues that matter most to retailers, and to be inspired by ideas that will help them move their businesses forward in the years ahead.
Since then, I’ve been reflecting on the theme of the conference – ‘Better Together’ – which is about celebrating what can be achieved when we all work together in the spirit of a true partnership. This theme was brought to life throughout the event, across our keynote speeches, customer-focused sessions and even throughout the evening’s entertainment.
Creating a Sense of Community
Our CEO and Culture Leader, Noel Goggin, officially opened the event by talking about how Aptos exists to do more than just support the retail industry. We’re very proud that by working together the Aptos community has raised over $150,000 for the Retail Orphan Initiative, a charity which has helped over 185,000 vulnerable kids around the world.
Celebrating Retail Success
The highlight of the event for me was our first ever Aptos Think Differently Awards, which was our opportunity to celebrate what our customers have achieved over the last year through ingenuity, innovation and determination. Our Europe Leader, Steve Towe, hosted a lively and entertaining awards show which included both SuperGroup and GO Outdoors winning ‘Better Together’ awards in recognition for the great way they embraced collaborative team work with us over recent months and years.
The full list of winners are:
- M&Co received the Singular Commerce Pioneer award
- SuperGroup and GO Outdoors were recognised for the Better Together awards
- Coast received the Customer Experience award
- Brown Thomas received the Customer Intimacy award
- Charles Clinkard received the Engaging Customers Differently award
- Edinburgh Woollen Mill received the Brand Expansion award
- Primark received the International Retailing award
- WHSmith received the Retailer of the Year award
Congratulations to all this year’s winners, I know that my colleagues and I are incredibly proud to play a part in their success. The celebrations continued long into the night and I know there were a few sore heads at breakfast the next morning!
Partnering for Retail Growth
After the entertainment of the previous evening, we got back to business and day two of the conference focused on keynote speeches and breakout sessions, all of which were intended to help retailers with their future growth.
Firstly, Aptos executives and colleagues from both sides of the pond shared how we’re growing quickly around the world and using that growth to invest heavily in our Singular Commerce platform – so that it can support the future needs of retailers. Aptos experts also shared how to extract the most value from IT investments, how to turn data into actionable insights and how to excel at omni-channel.
Thirdly, we had customer speakers sharing how they have been working with Aptos to deliver their IT and operational strategies and the benefits they have seen as a result. I’d personally like to thank Jamie Finer from Karen Millen, Ralph Niebles from The Art of Shaving and Graeme Boulton from Charles Clinkard for sharing their engaging stories.
Connecting and Collaborating
One of the reasons we organise conferences like this is to give our customers and partners an opportunity to connect and collaborate with each other. Retail is a highly demanding and rapidly evolving industry and it’s never been more necessary to share experiences and ideas with each other. Thankfully, we also got to do it in the glorious sunshine this year!
A special thanks goes out to our sponsors Avalara, Eagle Eye, Fingopay, Logic and Vista for their participation, engagement, support, oh…and the cocktails!
Engaging Customers Differently
I’ll finish by saying how proud I am that the event went so well. A lot of hard work from many people – too many to mention – went into making it a success and I’m really happy with the positive feedback I’ve received from customers, colleagues and partners.
I hope it came across to attendees how committed we are to our brand ethos of Engaging Customers Differently, and I do hope to see you all at next year’s conference.