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'Gloucester will show the rest of the country the way on retail innovation'

Gloucester will show the rest of the country the way when it comes to digital retail innovation.

Today marked the landmark opening of the UK Digital Retail Innovation Centre - the first of a kind hub for helping retailers adapt in an age where customers are abandoning High Streets.

The centre was officially opened this morning by Diane Savory OBE, chair of the GFIrst LEP, who sourced £400,000 of funding to Marketing Gloucester to run the UK:DRIC.

After cutting the ribbon she said: "Our places, our high streets and our retail centres are hugely important to the UK. This Digital Retail Innovation is the first of its kind and it's putting Gloucester on the map.


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"Thank you to Gloucester for helping us to show the UK the way forward with retail and digital."

Diane Savory speaking at the opening of UK:DRIC

Gloucester was chosen because of its history of innovation.

The city was the in the world to adopt a three-in-one solution on CCTV over IP, WiFI and 4G installation - an approach since copied in Glasgow, Nottingham and Newcastle among others.

It was also the second place on the planet to partner with Niantic Labs on the Google FieldTrip App which allowed location-based tourist information to be shared via smartphones.

Jason Smith, chief executive of Marketing Gloucester who run the UK:DRIC on the promenade floor of the Eastgate Shopping centre said that the city's 'testbed' reputation made it the perfect site.

Speaking to a room packed full of invited guests from the industry, he said: "Places have changed over the year, we've gone from shoeing horses, to making gloves to the current retail area,"

"Now, we are seeing an unprecedented level of change with the way people are engaging with the places they are at.

"That change has been driven by digital. The effects of Amazon and the way we shop has changed and our town and city centres are going to have to change as well.

"This centre will work with other locations and retailers across the country to continue the innovation this city has shown.

"This is taking place in Gloucester because of that innovation and because of the support from GFirst Lep, the City Council and all our other partners to grasp the nettle.

"Welcome to the first national centre for digital retail innovation, please use it."

Jayden Halliday from Leading Edge Only, a digital and global innovation market place that links innovators to customers also spoke to attendees

AS did Steve Weston from Localy.co.uk, a store to door delivery innovation that has chosen Gloucester as its first city to operate in.

There will also be a Google Digital Garage workshops to learn new skills in data, tech and digital marketing as part of the launch.

On Thursday afternoon, Margot James MP, minister for digital and creative industries will attend alongside Gloucester MP Richard Graham.

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