- Global retail directors meet Microsoft, other global tech giants and indigenous start-ups during tour
May, 2019 – The world’s largest voluntary food retail chain, SPAR International, has completed a comprehensive educational tour to Ireland aimed at connecting directly into Ireland’s global technology innovation hub to inspire its next generation retail technologies.
Dublin was selected as the host country for the study tour on the basis that it is now widely regarded as the primary hub for technology innovation in Europe with 16 of the world’s top software companies based in Ireland, including Microsoft, along with an increasingly strong base of fast growing indigenous technology companies that boast pioneering retail solutions.
The two-day look and learn tour, which was hosted by BWG Foods, owner of SPAR Ireland, was attended by retail directors from SPAR partner countries including Austria, Spain, Hungary, Russia and the UK. The tour featured a number of high-level interactive meetings with a variety of the world’s leading technology companies in their respective fields including Microsoft, Intel, Checkpoint, Google, IBM, NCR, and Ireland’s own Pointy. Each company used the opportunity to showcase the latest technology solutions that will in the near future revolutionise how stores operate and how consumers shop.
Commenting, Chris Donnelly, IT Director, BWG Foods said, “We’ve long believed Ireland to be at the very forefront of retail technology globally and this scouting mission by one of the world’s leading retail groups illustrates this. Our unique concentration of the world’s largest tech companies, in addition to a bustling indigenous sector that is creating some of the most awe inspiring next generation retail solutions, has helped push Ireland’s retail sector, and convenience in particular, to the forefront of innovation globally.
The tour also visited DCU’s Alpha Campus and Talent Garden where select technology start-ups used the opportunity to pitch their latest innovations to the cohort of retail directors, EUROSPAR Barrow Street in the heart of the Silicon Docks where some of the world’s latest innovations have been put into practice, and SPAR Millennium Walkway. Millennium Walkway provided inspiration around new pioneering retail practice innovations that radically transform the customer experience by placing a greater emphasis on convenience such as tailoring store offerings in real-time to different periods of the day and delivering consumer facing technology solutions to cater for customers’ fast paced on-the-go needs.
Speaking at the end of the successful tour, SPAR International head of international operations, Tom Rose, said “Being able to view and discuss successful practices in SPAR Ireland’s stores is a prime example of sharing best practice within the SPAR network. The interest of this tour reflects the desire by SPAR Partners to capitalise on advances in technology driving the digitisation of retail, thereby embracing opportunities to maximise customer engagement.”
SPAR International is the world’s largest voluntary food retail chain, with 12,700 stores in 48 countries and sales of €34.5 billion. BWG Foods and its SPAR, EUROSPAR, MACE, Londis, and XL retail brands have been at the forefront of grocery retailing in Ireland for over 50 years. Through its branded retail estate of over 1,000 community based stores, BWG Foods is a market leader in the convenience sector, employing 22,000 people across Ireland and serving in excess of one million shoppers per day.