ARLINGTON, Va — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has teamed with Accenture to launch a new innovation center aimed at helping retailers explore such new technologies as artificial intelligence and virtual reality and apply them to their businesses.
With the new (R)Tech Center for Innovation, Accenture will work with RILA to conduct joint research and bring together retailers and technology start-ups to explore the industry transformation that is being driven by digital technologies.
“We are excited to collaborate with Accenture as we launch our (R)Tech Center for Innovation,” RILA president Sandy Kennedy said in a statement. “Today’s most recognized retailers are entering a new age and it all starts with (R)Tech– where retail meets technology. The Center will bring together some of today’s most beloved retail brands with tech’s brightest stars. Through research and relationships, we hope to further retail’s commitment to fostering cultures of innovation that benefit industry and our customers.”
(R)Tech is a term coined by RILA to describe the confluence of retail and technology.
According to RILA, the new (R)Tech Center will address five key industry needs by:
- Providing authoritative research, including retail innovation benchmarking, trends, and analysis.
- Connecting retailers to innovation, in the form of innovative technologies, companies and ventures from around the world.
- Fostering innovation, by helping the retailers create cultures where innovation, creativity and change can flourish.
- Activating innovation, by helping retailers implement change management, putting new insights into action and integrate emerging technologies and new innovations across their companies.
- Burnishing retail’s reputation for innovation, which should help boost the industry’s credibility with policymakers and help attract retail talent.
To coincide with the launch, the two organizations have released an inaugural document, “The Emergence of (R)Tech: A Blueprint for the Confluence of Retail and Technology,” to highlight how technology is disrupting the retail industry, the associated challenges and opportunities, including details of the steps needed for retailers to succeed by taking advantage of the technological disruption.
RILA has also formed an (R)Tech Advisory Council, with members representing such retailers as Kroger Co., Target Corp., and Walgreens. Such suppliers as Coca-Coca, Energizer and Unilever are also represented on the new advisory councel.
Another part of the initiative is the establishment of a new (R)Tech Innovation Network which will connect recognized tech innovators and Venture Capital firms with retail brands. Network members include: Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, Commerce Ventures, Facebook, Greylock Partners, Google, GSVlabs, Shoptalk, Techstars, and XRC Labs.
“Today, U.S. and global consumers are driving change in retail at an unprecedented rate. Changing consumer values, preferences, and lifestyles, have led to disruption in virtually every industry; retail perhaps more than any other,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director of Retail at Accenture. “Through (R)Tech we believe Accenture and RILA can foster innovative business practices that will help shepherd retail into the future.”