Phrases like ‘omnichannel’, ‘multichannel’ and ‘m-commerce’, the latest retail buzzwords, continue to be coined by brands seeking to describe the right way to communicate with the modern day consumer. Both in and out of stores, it is now more important than ever to ensure products are always available and constantly visible.

Early this month, Redwood joined Appear Here, the online pop up market place, at the first in a series of Underground Sessions where the digital retail revolution was up for debate. A panel of leading industry experts including Jonathan Chippendale (Holition), Jon Lee (20.20 Retail), Ben Moffitt (Bailey Nelson), and Lili Papadimitriou (Google Retail) all sought to determine what this new world actually looks like and asses what it means to have a presence in the digital world.

The evening was set against the backdrop of a vacant unit in Old Street underground station and aided by a Shoreditch Grind espresso martini. The choice of venue corresponded with the recent appointment of Appear Here to market vacant underground commercial units, which for the first time, TfL will be using as pop-up space to boost retail revenue.

The experts gave their views on the brands they believe are the best at integrating technology and explored some of the forward-thinking ideas that could, one day, become part of the fabric of the retail experience – such as changing the colour of a jacket via a tweet. A closer look was taken at those retailers operating solely online and the obstacles a brand like ASOS would have to overcome to function as a physical store.

So, where is the future of retail? Well according to the expert panel, the answer is simply… retail. Although the world of omnichannel is here, 75 per cent of people still prefer the in store experience. Therefore, it is not just about taking a brand from bricks and mortar to an online presence, it is a two way street. As Bailey Nelson’s Ben Moffitt pointed out, “the shop is the cheapest billboard we’ll ever have.”

Brands need to catch up with the technology and stop thinking in silos. They need to start looking at the retail experience in its entirety, to transcend the online/offline dichotomy and use it to create a seamless retail experience for the customer.

To view the video from the event please click here or follow the discussion on Twitter #spaceforideas.