Today, Tech., the two-day festival of digital commerce and the technology driving it, returned to the international stage at London’s Printworks for day two. The jam-packed programme covered issues around how technology has changed established business models whilst unlocking new opportunities at an unprecedented pace for those with the agility to seize them.

Following a ‘Chair’s Introduction’ delivered by the presenter and technology journalist, Lara Lewington, Josh Builder, CTO & Head of Product at Rent The Runway joined her to talk about how the business has fashioned a new industry and disrupted their own customers’ behaviour. Builder explained how there is a continuous feedback loop from the subscriber to improve recommendations for the business.

Josh Builder, CTO & Head of Product – Rent The Runway

Later, Karolina Lewandowska, Head of Change, Transformation and Culture at Google Cloud was joined by Yulia O’Mahony, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing at John Lewis to talk about how Diversity and Inclusion Drive Innovation and Growth. At lunchtime Mike Hines, Developer Evangelist at Amazon discussed what the business has learned about creating rewards campaigns.

Joining a panel on Delivering New Tech and Cultivating Culture in a Digital Age, Head of Delivery & Transformation at River Island, Faye Roth said: “There is a danger in allowing too much time and funding for innovation. Make sure the project is ring-fenced with clear objectives”.

Later there were some unique insights from Kathleen Gambarelli, Global Product Strategist and Hannah St Paul, Head of Client Partnerships, from Snapchat, who presented a unique session on the latest trends and tech innovations in retail on smartphones. Gen Z now represents $143bn in buying power and will become the largest generation of consumers by 2020. Many of this generation are buying on Snapchat, with Snapchatters being 2x more likely to make an in-app purchase compared to non-Snapchatters. Furthermore, Snapchat’s own research revealed that 46% of millennials make a purchase online every week. However, 41% of us are more impatient today than they were five years ago, and 53% of users admitted to leaving a site if it took three seconds to load, leading Gambarelli and St Paul to explain that retailers needed to focus on making experiences easy and efficient.

Later in the afternoon Lara Lewington was joined by Sara Wood, EVP, Product at Farfetch to talk about how the brand is re-imagining the luxury landscape in an age of hyper-personalisation.

Meanwhile throughout the day delegates could go to speed mentoring sessions as part of the Tech. Catalysts programme, with mentors from Graze, SheCanCode, River Island and Kingfisher to name a few.

Poppie Mickleburgh, Event Director for Tech. said: “We’ve seen some of the biggest names in the business, and the brightest minds in commerce technology join us for discussion, debate and networking, with some fascinating insights coming to light throughout the day. New retail ecosystems are being formed, and strategic partnerships are being announced almost daily, demonstrating the commerce industry’s need to become ever more digitally savvy. Tech. provides the space for the world’s most exciting companies leading the way in retail transformation to meet and discuss the future of retail. We’ll look forward to seeing everyone in 2020!”