Retail Insider Wine Event – Jon Rudoe, digital & technology director at Sainsbury’s + Julia Stafford, founder of Wine Pantry

Retail Insider held its latest Event this week – a combined talk by Jon Rudoe, digital & technology director at Sainsbury’s, discussing the challenges and opportunities of multi-channel, and an English Wine Tasting with Julia Stafford, founder of Wine Pantry.

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Jon Rudoe, digital & technology director at Sainsbury’s (right) with Dan Hartveld, CTO of Red Ant

Senior executives from John Lewis, Moss Bros, Made.com, and Snow + Rock were among those gathered in the City of London in the private room of The English Wine & Spirits Co. to taste some of England’s best wines and hear the thoughts of Rudoe on how retail is continuing to change.

He began by highlighting how his specially created position is an omni-channel building role that involves moving the company and its technology on from being channel-centric to customer-centric.

“We needed to see technology through our customer’s eyes and be channel agnostic,” he says, adding that the bar has been raised dramatically for retailers since consumers now frequently use their smart-phones in stores.

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Julia Stafford, founder of Wine Pantry

Rather than over-complicate things with technology Rudoe says Sainsbury’s is simply attempting to digitise some of the things that shoppers already do. Since 60% of people use hand-written shopping lists in its stores the Scan-and-Go app has been developed to move the list onto smartphones.

The app enables customers to create virtual lists ahead of their store visit and then scan those items as they move around the store. This creates a QR code that can be scanned at the till to make the payment. Rudoe says the next iteration will likely involve payment made direct from the phone.

As digital takes greater hold – and impacts on how stores are used and configured – he highlighted how Sainsbury’s is developing click & collect points located in its car parks and has recently agreed the opening of 10 Argos concessions in some of its larger supermarkets.

The event concluded with a tutored tasting by Stafford of Wine Pantry that gave a glimpse of the full variety of English styles that are available and are slowly helping to give the country’s wines the credit they now deserve.

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Although Stafford says there is justified recognition of the quality of English sparkling wines this should not deter drinkers from exploring the country’s other well made wines that are still being overlooked by many people.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank Jon Rudoe as well as the sponsors Red Ant, K3 Retail, Bond Dickinson and Oresa for their highly valued support, without which this Retail Insider event would not have taken place. In addition, many thanks go to Julia Stafford and the English Wine & Spirits Co. for the wines, the venue and the passion.