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The AIS 2015 Conference recently took place at the Forest of Arden Hotel with an exceptionally strong line-up of speakers as well as a bigger and better supplier exhibition.

To highlight the benefits of AIS membership, we commissioned a short video.

“Looking Out, Looking In … a window on retail” is a theme that reflects our approach to the customer and their perception of us and that theme recurred throughout the day which was facilitated by Philip Hesketh.

ian philp

Lord Digby Jones provided the opening keynote speech and set our retail world in a wider context and, with the General Election just over a week away, he had some interesting observations.

Lord Digby Jones

Marcus Child and Ellis Watson talked about Team Motivation and Customer Service respectively. These topics are central to the way we treat our customers, as well as our own teams, and how good we are at these impacts greatly on our business success.

marcus child

After lunch the Furniture group with Peter Mallinson, heard from Tace Traviss and Ben Traviss from one of our newer members, Dickinsons, on the crucial challenge of how to attract new younger customers. Also speaking was Matt Eames, a founder of Feefo the customer feedback specialists, and Matt conveyed the importance of harnessing feedback and leveraging it positively.

ellis watson

In the department store session we heard from Peter Creasey of Creasey’s, Guernsey, as well as internal presentations on our fashion strategy and housewares.

We closed with another Lord of the Realm with Lord Stuart Rose sharing his views on retail. With his wealth of experience and relevance he provided a stimulating address.

Lord Stuart Rose

The evening black tie dinner featured Clare Balding, a naturally warm and humorous presenter who has won the admiration of many through her sports coverage at high profile events and her talk was enjoyed very much.

Our thanks go out to our many sponsors and supporters who help to defray the costs of this important event and thank you to all the Members for taking time to visit the exhibitors in the Marquee where there was also a drinks reception between 5.00 pm and 6.00 pm. Thank you also for wearing your name badge throughout the event so that new members in particular, who wear blue badges, could be identified.