Sage Summit 2017: Ideas and Insight for the High-Street
Hosted by enterprise software developers Sage, the Sage Summit – now, Sage Summit Tour - has grown to become one of Europe’s biggest business events. The annual convention brings together over 5,000 industry experts, inspirational speakers, and small business owners in a space dedicated to fuelling ideas with insight. And this year, Liberis went along too!
2017 is the first year that Sage’s event has come to London, and was held at the ExCel London on the 5th – 6th April. With the aim to both educate and entertain, it was comprised of a rich balance of upskilling masterclasses, talks from industry leaders, and interactive unveilings of new business technology.
“The whole atmosphere of the summit was really positive,” says Rob Straathof, CEO of Liberis. “It was clear that everybody there was willing to significantly invest in small businesses, and to help them to gain the information and resources they need to grow. And I mean everybody, from Verifone to Sage Pay, and of course, Liberis.”
Amongst the product presentations and inspirational discussions of the event, this year the summit also ran a panel discussing the future of the high-street, and how small business retailers might compete with the increasing pressures of e-commerce.
The panel - which included speakers from Elavon, Verifone, and Liberis’ very own Rob Straathof - focused on how business owners can keep up with online stores by improving their own instore experiences and experimenting with new technology.
“A large part of staying ahead on the high-street is about making the checkout as easy in store as it is online. This involves making sure that all your payment processing is smooth and simple. People don’t want to wait in line anymore, so make transactions seamless, frictionless - even contactless! – with a well-trained team and up to date technology,” says Rob.
“You’ve got to consider integrating your offline and online customer journeys too. For instance, making sure that your customers can find you online as well as off. Make sure you have a website and keep it updated - but more importantly, have good online reviews on Google or Facebook.
“To develop customer experience even further, business owners may consider allowing customers to order products online and collect them instore; making purchasing cheaper, quicker, and much easier.”
Considering the recent development of such assets, the topic of insight tools led much of the panels’ discussion. These are tools that help owners to monitor their business’ performance, and generate comparative reports within their industries.
Rob says, “how do owners gain this additional insight? Well, this is where Liberis can lend some extra guidance as we have recently teamed up with Handle. This is a tool that allows you to track your business ratings, the operations of your website and SEO optimisation, so you can keep an eye on how your business is performing online.
“From a data perspective, it is really powerful to not only have insight on your types on customers – Verifone, for instance, have valuable data on who is shopping with you, and who is making card payments – but also to monitor the performance of your competitors with tools like Handle, or Sage’s Panintelligence.
“This system provides insight on your working capital and business performance; and is fully integrated with Sage, so users can have really easy access to all of this great information.
“Looking around the summit and listening to the speakers here, it looks like there are a whole bunch of really helpful new tools like these coming to market for small business owners. With these platforms, you can assess trends and issues in wider markets beyond your business, and gain a deeper insight to your industry.”