Technology

Retail Group Launches Innovation Center to Prepare Members for Industry Changes

By / Mar 15, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

In an effort to help its members adapt to the quickly changing technology landscape, the Retail Industry Leaders Association introduced the (R)Tech Center for Innovation.

Technology has disrupted the retail industry. The days of purchasing products from a catalog or during big sales at the mall have been replaced by online shopping with next-day delivery and coupons that pop up on mobile phones as customers enter various stores.

To help its members navigate these changes, explore the impact technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual will have on the retail space, and establish tech-fueled business practices, the Retail Industry Leaders Association launched the (R)Tech Center for Innovation.

(R)Tech is a new term that RILA coined to describe the “confluence of retail and techonology.” The new (R)Tech Center will not only research trends, as well as provide benchmarking and analysis, but will also help retailers build cultures where creativity and innovation thrive.

“We are excited to collaborate with Accenture as we launch our (R)Tech Center for Innovation,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy in a press release. “Today’s most recognized retailers are entering a new age and it all starts with (R)Tech—where retail meets technology.”

Accenture will power the innovation center, and four new RILA councils will work to achieve its objectives. One of their first collaborations was a whitepaper—or blueprint [PDF], as they refer to it—which underscores both the challenges and opportunities technology creates for the retail industry.

Another goal of the initiative is to connect retailers to innovative technology opportunities, and two of its councils—the (R)Tech Advisory Council and (R)Tech Innovation Network—are expected to drive those efforts.

(R)Tech Advisory Council members come from from top retail companies, including Best Buy, Lowe’s, QVC, and Target, while its (R)Tech Innovation Network includes members from tech companies and venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, Facebook, and XRC Labs.

“The Center will bring together some of today’s most beloved retail brands with tech’s brightest stars,” Kennedy said in a press release. “Through research and relationships, we hope to further retail’s commitment to fostering cultures of innovation that benefit industry and our customers.”

Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is an Associate Editor for Associations Now. More »

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