The Art of Retention

Wednesday 23rd September, 8:20am - 12:30pm
The RSA (just off the Strand), London

The season of record sales and frantic customer acquisition is fast approaching, so it is vital to keep those consumers you have fought so hard to acquire this year at the front of your mind. A little like “hard-working families”, new online customers are hard to come by today and easily lost, so how do you retain them?

This morning conference will feature content from businesses with a variety of models - from irregular and impulse purchases through to daily interactions and weekly transactions. 

Our speakers will talk about:

  • Loyalty and what that means today
  • How email is still the bedrock upon which real interaction is based
  • Whether customer engagement is so momentary that there's little or no value in all that lovely content you create

The speakers will also talk about the “post-email” world, where chat services need to be embraced and where the aspect of social media looms even larger.  

Speakers will include:

  • Joe McEwan - Head of Digital and Communities, innocent drinks
  • James Fairbank - Head of Brand Marketing, Rapha Racing Ltd
  • Paul Sulyok - Founder & CEO, Green Man Gaming
  • Michel Koch - Senior eCommerce Consultant, HomeServe
  • Matthew Henton - Head of eCommerce, Moss Bros Group Plc
  • Steven Irwin - Director of eCommerce, SiS (Science in Sport)

So, come and be inspired by the speakers, network with your peers, and remind yourself why keeping customers is even more important than winning them! 

Who should attend?

  • eCommerce Leaders
  • Content & CRM Leaders
  • Heads of Digital
  • Customer Experience Leaders
  • Chief Executives


8.50am Introductions – Sarah Hengeveld – Commercial Director, Commerce Futures

9.05am Keynote – Joe McEwan – Head of Digital and Communities – innocent drinks

Joe will kick off the morning’s proceedings by outlining the journey innocent has taken, from smoothie & juice producer to a truly modern brand that embraces digital channels whilst finding unique ways to create dialogue with its consumers. He will bring to life the many ways innocent has placed consumers firmly at the heart of the business, showing how a willingness to communicate openly and naturally with consumers at every touch point has proved invaluable to innocent’s growth

9.40am The Retention Panel

Our industry panel will lead a debate about some of the crucial issues faced by brands and retailers running customer retention programs within their digital commerce businesses.

  • Paul Sulyok – Founder & CEO, Green Man Gaming
  • Michel Koch – Senior eCommerce Consultant, HomeServe
  • Matthew Henton – Head of eCommerce, Moss Bros Group Plc
  • Steven Irwin – Director of eCommerce, SiS (Science in Sport)

None of the panelists would claim to be the finished article, and in fact (as ever) most of the real value for the audience comes from hearing from their peers about the challenges that they face in integrating the digital side of the organisation with the store business. The issues under moderated discussion and audience interaction will be:

  • The practical priorities for improved customer engagement
  • The battle for retention budget – how to justify this investment?
  • The competitive landscape – When can you call them a customer?
  • Do you have patience when sales targets are demanding?

10.50am Coffee break and networking

11.15am Keynote – James Fairbank – Head of Brand Marketing – Rapha Racing Limited

James will outline the journey Rapha are taking from being a small business with a mission – to a global business that’s turning its fans into customers, and its customers into members. Always a “club” but without membership – Rapha is facing up to the challenges of retaining and developing customers alongside its own membership project (and global expansion on the side).

James will talk about the data, the brand, the need to learn constantly and above all else – the need to have a mission. Bring it on!

12.00pm Event wrap up and networking

12.30pm Event close


Joe McEwan
Head of Digital and Communities, innocent drinks

Joe is Head of Digital & Communities at innocent, where he began working in 2007. He has dedicated all of his time there to building a thriving two-way relationship with the smoothie and juice brand’s community of drinkers. His leadership has helped cement innocent’s reputation as one of the few brands that understands how to best to engage with consumers.

Joe tells the inspiring story of the innocent brand from West London start-up fifteen years ago to its position as one of Europe’s favourite brands today. He brings to life the many ways innocent has placed consumers firmly at the heart of the business, showing how a willingness to communicate openly and naturally with consumers at every touch point has proved invaluable to innocent’s growth.

James Fairbank
Head of Brand Marketing, Rapha Racing Ltd

James is the head of Brand and Central Marketing at Rapha. Founded in 2004, Rapha creates the finest cycling clothing and accessories in the world. is an online emporium of performance road-wear, accessories, publications and events, all celebrating the glory and suffering of road riding. Prior to joining Rapha, James was the Head of Marketing and Retail Operations at Carhartt U.K. He is a passionate and committed road cyclist and writer.

Paul Sulyok
Founder & CEO, Green Man Gaming

Paul Sulyok.jpg

After serving as an Infantry Officer in HM Forces for six years, Paul began a career in the capital markets before entering the gaming industry. Paul was named as one of MCV’s Top 100 Most influential Brits in the gaming industry, he was recipient of the Natwest Retailer of the Year Special Merit Award at “The Great British Entrepreneur Awards” in 2014, and won an Entrepreneurial Award at the Global eCommerce Summit in 2015.

Selling games from 400 publishers in 190 territories, Green Man Gaming was winner of the Pureplay eCommerce Retailer of the Year Award and is listed in The Sunday Times Top 100 SME Export Track 2015. Green Man Gaming is also a member of the Future Fifty; the 50 hottest high growth technology companies that the British Government is ear marking to IPO.

Michel Koch
Senior eCommerce Consultant, HomeServe

Michel has been in digital and eCommerce for more than 20 years. After having played a pioneering role as Head of New Media at Sony Music Europe in the early 90’s, he has fulfilled several senior executive positions in French and international B2C and B2B multichannel companies (including Bertelsmann, Manutan International, Quelle, Conrad Electronics, and Camaïeu). Michel relocated to the UK in early 2013 to join Marks & Spencer to develop their cross-border sales capabilities, and more recently supported the omni-channel strategy of leading electronics retailer Maplin Electronics as eCommerce Director. He has since started a consultancy business in the UK to support private equity firms, investors and retailers willing to undertake their digital transformation and grow their multichannel operations internationally.

Matthew Henton
Head of eCommerce, Moss Bros Group Plc

Matthew, a Digital Marketer since the 1990’s, has extensive experience across a variety of sectors. Having launched the Waitrose and John Lewis ISPs, he went on to take spare parts retailer, eSpares, forward to become the market leader, which led him on to launching eCommerce sites in all major European markets for appliance manufacturer Electrolux. Matthew now heads up the online side of Moss Bros. Established in 1851, with stores in 150 locations, the men's formalwear specialist is in the relatively early stages of its eCommerce journey, making Matthew the perfect moderator for our retention panel.

Steven Irwin
Director of eCommerce, SiS (Science in Sport)

Having spent over eight years in the FMCG and retail space, Steven Irwin is best known for his ability to develop and implement results-focussed strategies that do nothing but support top line growth and brand reputation. He often finds himself at the centre of projects ranging from platform development and UX design through to CRM improvements – his current role at SiS (Science in Sport) is no exception.

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Q: Is there a fee for attending the Commerce Futures event?

A: Attending the event is free of charge. However, because we take great care in how we curate the audience, the event is invitation only and you must register in advance to attend. If you have not received an invitation but would like to attend, please register via the website and your place will be confirmed subject to approval.

Q: Can I bring a colleague?

A: Additional places will be subject to availability. Please ask your colleague to register via the website.

Q: Who else will be there?

A: Senior professionals in eCommerce, online marketing and sales including directors of innovation, strategy and acquisition.

Q: What is the address of the venue?

A: The RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ

Q: Is there a dress code for this event?

A: There is no formal dress code. Please come dressed in comfortable attire e.g. business casual. 

Q: Who is Commerce Futures?

A: Commerce Futures is an independent online community for retail leaders and Commerce professionals. We provide a round up of the latest news and information relating to the key challenges in Commerce today, as well as insights into future trends and technologies that are shaping the online retail landscape. And because we believe it's important to learn from our peers, the regular Commerce Futures event series brings in expert speakers from leading brands to share case studies and industry know-how. 

Since 2012, thousands of professionals have attended our events and engaged with our content. We survey them regularly to understand what problems they are wrestling with now and tailor content to help them solve those concerns.