Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE - Revo Radar.
Want to know what you should be looking out for in 2018? We've been talking to industry figures on what the future holds!
Lord Chris Holmes, Britain's most successful Paralympic swimmer and campaigner for accessible environments has his say...
What will be the biggest challenge for our industry over the next 12 months?
The biggest challenge, bigger than Brexit, will continue to be the battle to innovate and change in order to effectively compete with the major tech giants such as Amazon. Success will depend on collaboration, creativity, reimagining how to do things and being prepared to be courageous. To compete successfully is entirely possible. Service, great service, will always find a fine market.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities for the next 12 months?
The biggest opportunities are, without doubt, to ensure that all of the possibilities from the 4th industrial revolution have been considered and begun, at least to be implemented in your business. This is not a question of having to have scale; whatever the size, the opportunities are immense. My local coffee shop now takes contactless payment through an IPhone app, a small example but one which demonstrates the opportunity to speed up payment, improve the customer experience, adapt to new technology and reduce business costs.
What is the one major challenge facing retailers in 2018?
To connect people and places and recreate that amazing sense of place and purpose that comes from that connection. Collaborating with all parties; public and private to excite people about their local area, to connect people to place and to enable a sense of pride. Retail can, as ever, play a critical part in this.
What piece of tech do you think will make an impact in 2018?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) generally and chatbots in particular will become an increasing part of the customer and user experience. Who could have known that it would be possible to have a job as a conversation designer. The key is always to be positive, understanding the challenges of technology but through that, embracing the potential to drive up customer experience and reduce cost. The golden duality but one now very much achievable.
Who do you admire in politics currently and why?
Graham [Lord] Kirkham, a colleague in the House of Lords. His personal story is extraordinary, what he achieved in retail is phenomenal, what he now does in the charitable sector through Duke of Edinburgh awards admirable. He is sound, straight forward and so solid.
Do you have a saying or piece of wisdom which inspires you?
“The fault Dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” I’m constantly looking for ways to improve myself and this inspires!
Who’s your mentor or someone you’d always seek advice from?
Friends and family always. They know me the best.
Where would your ideal holiday be to this year?
Bermuda: but I don’t have the dough for that, so walking in the Alps will be very enjoyable indeed and enable much rosti and red wine to be enjoyed at the end of each day.