The Greatest Showman? TRB talks to Matt Bradley from the Retail Technology Show
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved with launching RTS with Nineteen?
I’ve worked on various events over the past 20 years but I’m best known for being the founder of RBTE in 2010 which, alongside my business partners we launched and eventually sold to RX Global. As part of that acquisition I moved with the show that we later re-branded to RetailEXPO. Sadly, as the pandemic took hold, RX made the decision to cancel RetailEXPO indefinitely. This left both me and any sort of retail event without a home.
What does Nineteen do and why were you so impressed?
Nineteen are a young, ambitious and disruptive events company and that’s exactly why I was attracted to them. I was fortunate that following RX Global’ announcement, I was approached by several events companies to run a retail show with them. This gave me the chance to really look at the companies and their vision and choose one which suited the plans I had for RTS. Nineteen’ culture, value and ambitions are perfectly aligned with my own and I’m very pleased to be here.
What’s special about the RTS and why is it different from all the other shows you have worked with over your career?
The work I’ve done in the retail sector has been the most important and rewarding in my career. I’ve met clients that have become colleagues and colleagues who have become friends. But RTS is extra special. Three years without a show and unprecedented disruption in the retail sector makes RTS the most important event I’ve ever run, both for the exhibitors and visitors. The launch of RBTE was special but also terrifying so I’m not sure I really took the time to enjoy it. I’m older now and (although my team will probably disagree) I think I’m calmer and wiser so I plan to enjoy RTS a lot more.
What advantage does it add for Exhibitors?
What I’ve been really impressed with is the incredible amount of development and innovation throughout the pandemic. It’s been a credit to our industry how quickly these suppliers were able to respond to a whole new level of disruption. We run the innovation awards in association with Google Cloud at the show and we’ve never had such a high level of entries. RTS gives these suppliers the platform they deserve to truly showcase their technology.
What advantage does it have for visitors?
Over 200 exhibitors showcasing the most innovative and exciting technologies, 3 theatres and over 90 of the brightest minds in our industry sharing insights and advice to help resolve the issues facing retailers today. Unprecedented opportunities to network, with friends, peers and colleagues, not forgetting The Big Retail Reunion Party on night one where the world of retail finally gets back together with a free bar and live entertainment – what’s not to love?!
What can visitors expect to see that’s different?
As a rule we banned the expression “that’s what’s we’ve always done”. From the start we wanted to rip up the rule book and have intentionally tried to get away from the “traditional” business exhibition look so I’d like to think visitors will notice an immediate difference with the look and feel of the show. On arrival the whole experience will feel sleek, sexy and cool. We’ve worked closely with our exhibitors to make sure that they are embracing our new approach so expect to see a whole new level of stand design and demos. In the conference programme we’ve set a new standard when it comes to speakers with the likes of Mike Coupe, Mike Logue mixed in with Deliciously Ella, Sam Jones and Tinie Tempah. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making RTS a more immersive and aspirational event and feel very proud of what we have achieved.
How will you address the challenges facing retailers at the show?
The entire shows content is developed around ongoing feedback from the retail industry. We are incredibly close to our market and are fortunate enough to be able to bounce ideas of the people that matter whenever we want. The insights and tips given in the conference theatres are matched by the innovative technology available on the show floor. I can promise anyone reading this, you will not leave RTS disappointed.
What is on the horizon for you?
Endless possibilities. I’ve got a great team and am well supported by Nineteen. This is only the beginning…
Any final thoughts?
Just a massive thank you to all of you at TRB. Your support, love and kindness is truly appreciated.
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