In today's highly competitive job market, retailers are looking to attract the best and brightest talent to help them innovate and succeed well into the future. It was with this goal in mind that RILA established the (R)Tech Talent Pipeline and Collegiate Network designed to help retailers engage young talent at the collegiate level and expose them to the career opportunities within retail. In November, RILA hosted two events to support this initiative: the Global Retail Challenge and InfernoHack.
RILA and the Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University celebrated the finals weekend of the first inaugural Global Retail Challenge in Montreal, Canada, sponsored by Canadian Tire and VF Corporation. The competition tackled the pressing issues surrounding retail and the challenges facing our societies through an innovative retail case competition.
The Global Retail Challenge uniquely mixed 25 undergraduate and graduate level student teams who were mentored each week by retail experts from Aldo, IKEA, Oxford Properties, Closed Loop Partners, Canadian Tire, and Cirkla Modo.
This event was created to help expose students to one of the grand challenges impacting retail: sustainability and the circular economy. Its design thinking curriculum equipped teams to find solutions in innovative and forward-looking perspectives for the future of retail.
The top 12 teams from around the world came together for one weekend on November 15-17, 2018. Students participated in morning workshops before presenting their final presentations in front of judging panels.
- ESG UQAM – Second Runner Up
- University of Notre Dame
- Birla Institute of Management Technology
- ESSEC Business School
- University of Calgary
- Arizona State University
- Texas A&M University – First Place
- University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business – Runner Up
- Paris Nanterre University
- McGill University
- Asheshi University
- Florida State University
- Claremont College
Simultaneously on November 16-17, RILA teamed up with Petco to host the first "(R)Tech InfernoHack" at Arizona State University. The event consisted of 50 engineering and business graduate students on 16 teams competing in a hackathon to improve Petco's voice commerce and customer service innovations through its new digital PetCoach store.
Hackers worked with either the Amazon Echo or the Google Assistant voice platform and
presented a multitude of new innovative possibilities for PetCoach. The winning team created a machine learning application called "Hungry No More!" designed to better coordinate automated shipments of pet food for Petco's online customers. The team will now have the opportunity to visit Petco's headquarters in San Deigo, CA to present their application to the company's chief innovation executives.
If you have any questions about RILA's (R)Tech Talent Pipeline or Collegiate Network, please contact Katie Nicholos.
By Tiffin Shewmake, Executive Director of the Center for Retail Compliance & VP, RILA
Retailers talk a lot about the ways in which technology is enabling the future of our industry. With the help of things like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and big data, retailers' approach in areas like product marketing, customer service, delivery, and everything in between is changing every day. But, what often gets overlooked, is not just how these technologies impact consumer-facing operations, but how they can transform internal operations for retailers as well. As RILA and the Center for Retail Compliance (CRC) worked on developing environmental compliance resources for retail, it became clear that this was an area that could stand to benefit from advanced technology.
While retail has not historically been the focus of environmental regulations and enforcement, the complexity and number of environmental regulations that apply in retail at the federal, state, and even local level, as well as recent settlements in areas such as hazardous waste and refrigeration management, illustrate the need for better compliance programs in retail.
That's why we developed the CRC Advisor—a secure and intuitive web-based application that helps retailers design and implement more effective programs. The CRC Advisor empowers corporate compliance managers to assess their programs in real time across areas like leadership and planning, compliance operations, support systems, and continual improvement. Users can also use the Advisor to conduct self-assessments and gap analysis, benchmark internally and with industry peers, set goals, track progress, and implement continuous improvement.
The CRC Advisor helps answer some of the most difficult questions that retailers face in building out their compliance efforts, such as:
- Where are our greatest risks?
- Are we over-complying and therefore wasting money?
- Is there a big issue we are unaware of?
- Are we missing opportunities to extract value from our compliance program?
Of course, there is no off-the-shelf program that would work for all companies. Consider the difference between a home improvement store that provides home renovation services and a clothing retailer in a mall. Or, the difference between a grocery store with refrigeration, bakery, and gas station and a pet store. Given this, each companies' approach to environmental compliance will be a little different, and the CRC Advisor handles that through delivering customized assessments.
For more information about the CRC and these new programs, please contact Tiffin Shewmake.
Day 2 began with the "back by popular demand" retailer-only roundtable style sessions. Privacy, crisis management, employment and talent retention were key points of discussion among counsel from the top retail brands in the country.
Retailer-Only Roundtable: Compliance with New Privacy Regimes: GDPR
The Entrepreneurial GC
In the age of digital disruption panelist discuss how general counsel today must be more entrepreneurial than ever as they navigate powerful new technologies that are driving the world.
Moderator: Linda Norman, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Panelists: Jodi Caro, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer & Corporate Secretary, Ulta Beauty, Inc., Chris Gassett, Vice President & General Counsel, HSN, Inc., Alon Rotem, General Counsel, thredUP
Journey to the Supreme Court
Pioneers behind the South Dakota v. Wayfair case provide an inside look on the years-long strategy to support the case and how they built a robust amicus strategy at both the cert and merit stages.
Moderator: Deborah White, SEVP & General Counsel, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)
Panelists: Tom Goldstein, Partner & SCOTUSblog Publisher, Goldstein & Russell, Sarah Harrington, Partner, Goldstein & Russell, Eric Citron, Partner, Goldstein & Russell
Breakout Session Highlights
With five breakout tracks to choose from, inside and outside counsel attended sessions on the hottest topics in retail law, including class action exposure in the digital age, developing & managing retail store food safety programs, investigating and defending in the #MeToo movement, and more – from the practitioners themselves!
Breakout Session: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): First 180 Days
Breakout Session: The Future of Retail and E-Commerce - Are You Ready?
Breakout Session: Cybersecurity: Better Security Through Collaboration
That's a wrap. The night ends with a reception for attendees to relax and recap the day's events.
Did you attend #RLAW 2018? Don't forget to take the surveys in the conference app to let us know which session was your favorite! If you were weren’t able to attend this year, be sure to join us in Nashville for the 2019 Retail Law Conference!
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Follow us on Twitter @RILAtweets and use #RLAW to share your favorite moments from the conference with us!
To learn more about the conference, visit www.rila.org/rlaw
Austin Welcomes #RLAW 2018
Over 300 attendees touched down in Austin, TX today for the 2018 Retail Law Conference to network, share challenges and find solutions to the industry's most pressing problems with the leaders of the retail law community.
Who's attending the 2018 Retail Law Conference?
Kicking it off
RILA's Deborah White, Senior EVP and General Counsel, kicks off the first official day of the 2018 #RLAW Conference. This year, RILA and the Retail Litigation Center (RLC) achieved their greatest litigation accomplishment when the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the South Dakota v. Wayfair case. White shared the behind scenes of journey to #SCOTUS and the next chapter for the RLC.
Collaboration is Key
Learning how to navigate working with state attorney generals can be a challenge. Tim Cheatham, @Walmart SVP & GC & @marthacoakley share how general counsel and attorneys general can work together to achieve shared objectives and foster ongoing working relationships.
Don't let someone dictate your narrative, make sure you get in their office.
- Martha Coakley, Former Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Partner, Foley Hoag
Disruption in a Time of Change
Erica Orange discussed emerging trends that are revolutionizing the future and how it will transform the current landscape for retail corporate counsel.
Having new eyes will get you closer to objectivity.
- Erica Orange, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, The Future Hunters
Best in Class Networking
Day 1 of the #RLAW conference concludes with a night of networking and good company. Tonight, was great opportunity for attendees to connect with new and old friends.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for day 1 of the 2018 #RLAW conference. We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow for another jam-packed day.
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Follow us on Twitter @RILAtweets and use #RLAW to share your favorite moments from the conference with us!
To learn more about the conference, visit www.rila.org/rlaw
It's no secret that retail is in a time of transformation. There has been a tectonic shift in the way consumers shop and what they demand. Consumer expectations have risen. The values, ethics, and core principals of a brand have moved to the forefront of customers' purchasing decisions. At the same time, retailers are navigating a myriad of regulations to ensure they are fully meeting those requirements efficiently. That is why it is important, now more than ever, for America's retailers to focus on integrating robust ethics and compliance programs into all areas of their business.
Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), in collaboration with Deloitte, surveyed RILA members—compliance and legal executives from America's largest retailers—about their companies' ethics and compliance programs. Our survey explored the different ways in which retailers' compliance programs have developed and matured in recent years to address increasingly varied risks as companies confront forces that are reshaping the industry.
Retail is a multi-regulated industry. There are legal compliance requirements that touch nearly all areas of retail operations from employment, environmental health and safety, product and food safety, and others that apply to more specialized retail operations, such as consumer finance and retail health and wellness/pharmacy. Retailers also support over 42 million Americans jobs and have global supply chains and national distribution networks. Because of this, retail operates in an environment of regulation at all levels of government- local, state and federal. These factors combine to make an organized response to ethics and compliance risks imperative.
The retail industry is rising to this challenge. Survey respondents indicated their companies' unanimous support for maintaining robust risk and compliance programs with nearly one-third of responding companies identifying their programs as "modernized" or mature enough to operate in synergy with business units, make use of advanced analytics, and articulate their value through a measurable return on investment.
While the results indicate there is still room for retailers' compliance programs to grow and mature, it is encouraging to see the integration and acceptance of compliance throughout retailers' core business. Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents say that their company's compliance team is viewed as a partner to business units company-wide, hinting at how compliance might promote stability and competitive differentiation in times of change.
Nearly two thirds of respondents say their company performs an enterprise-wide compliance risk assessment. Three-quarters of those whose company performs such risk assessments indicate that they are done at least once a year and almost 60 percent of respondents also indicate that their organization measures compliance program effectiveness. These results show that not only are retailers focusing on moving their compliance programs from being reactive to proactive, but they are also taking measures to hold their programs accountable.
Looking to the future, nearly 40 percent of respondents expect to increase their compliance program budgets in 2018 and beyond. Retailers must continue to meet a changing regulatory environment and increased consumer demand with a structured, pragmatic approach to ethics and compliance. Budgeting wisely and increasing focus on integration can help reinforce and activate compliance throughout the company, help the business collaborate more effectively, make better decisions, and take smarter risks.
You can download your free copy of the report here.
Kathleen McGuigan, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for the Retail Industry Leaders Association and Kevin Lane, Principal, Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, Deloitte & Touche LLP
This publication contains general information only and Deloitte and RILA are not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.
Deloitte and RILA shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
By Katie Nicholos, Manager, Research & Innovation
Each year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hosts over 1,000 "hackers" – tech-savvy students – on campus for HackMIT. The event brings the next generation of tech talent together with companies looking for innovative solutions to the challenges they may face in real world business operations.
This year, RILA's (R)Tech Center for Innovation partnered with Qurate Retail Group to sponsor a retail-focused challenge at the hackathon. Qurate Retail Group, which is comprised of eight leading retail brands including QVC, HSN, zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgrate, Garnett Hill, Grandin Road, and Improvements, came to Boston looking to tap the cutting edge in tech talent and creativity of students. They teamed up with Brand3D to provide 3D technology assets and environments to inspire students – but were looking for the most creative ways to engage customers, create new shopping experiences, and to change the way businesses operate. Amber Otero, Vice President of Customer Journey led the Qurate Retail Group team as they brought a retail perspective to the tech firm dominated weekend.
To kick-off the event, Qurate Retail Group sponsored an interactive workshop centered around video retailing and 3D augmentation. Students learned how to use gamification and 3D modeling to manipulate objects and apply that to their projects. Qurate Retail Group also highlighted the team's business goals and how the ideas presented could be applied to drive consumer engagement.
Hackers had the opportunity to engage with the Qurate Retail Group sponsor table by grabbing some cool swag, learning about IT internship and sponsor opportunities, and asking for help on technical questions related to their projects.
In the end, three teams walked away with Qurate Retail Group prizes. The grand prize went to a team that created a life size gamification tool that utilizes live stream messaging to manipulate a remote machine and view the results happening in real time. This group will have the opportunity to present at Qurate Retail Group's headquarters and receive a VIP tour. The runner up teams created a 3D shopping environment that can be personalized to the shopper, and a way to video conference in virtual reality with hologram like avatars, respectively.
The main takeaway from HackMIT? Students are starting to interact with retail differently. While the initial instinct is for technology and computer science students to set their sights on Silicon Valley for post-graduate plans, more students are seeing the retail industry as a great pathway to pursuing a career in tech.
Participating in collegiate hackathons is just one component of the (R)Tech Talent Pipeline strategy, which exposes and attracts young people with tech backgrounds – data science, engineering, behavior science, design, and strategy – to opportunities in retail. For more information or to get involved, contact RILA's Manager of Research & Innovation Katie Nicholos.
Today is an exciting time to be a consumer! Retailers work hard to establish trusted relationships with consumers. Every day, retailers and brands are launching innovative consumer products incorporating cutting edge technologies to meet customers' demands for new services and increased efficiencies. The ever-increasing volume of new products and rapid speed to market have created regulatory compliance, product safety and consumer privacy challenges for retailers. RILA maintains a community of member executives to help retailers navigate these new challenges and develop strong consumer product compliance programs.
The Consumer Products Committee serves as a forum for product compliance, quality assurance, product stewardship, sourcing, legal, and government affairs professionals to benchmark, network, and share information specific to retailers' product safety and compliance challenges and trends. Last week, RILA hosted the group for its Fall meeting in Washington, DC. Highlights from the event are below.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Commissioner Dana Baiocco presented on her priorities as a Commissioner for the year ahead including urging the agency to update its data sources and seek additional avenues of injury data to rely upon.
- CPSC General Counsel Patty Hanz presented to the group on where the agency's legal staff will focus their efforts in the coming year including urging RILA and RILA members to get involved in the CPSC budget process to help determine agency priorities.
- Mintz Levin P.C. Partners Chuck Samuels and Matt Howsare presented on CPSC regulatory reform and what to expect from the Commission into 2019.
- Founder and CEO of Whystle Lauren Bell provided a demonstration of the new app, which allows consumers to easily monitor and track relevant product recall notices.
- UL Connected Technologies VP & Chief Technical Officer Tom Blewitt and Bureau Veritas' Technical Director for Consumer Product Services Travis Norton presented on how testing labs are reviewing new technologies in the consumer safety world.
- Members also had robust benchmarking sessions on topics such as state chemical reporting programs and recall effectiveness measures being taken.
To learn more about RILA's Consumer Products Committee, please contact Autumn Moore, RILA's director of regulatory affairs and compliance.
By Evan Armstrong, Vice President, Government Affairs
A lot has been said about the way technology has transformed the retail experience for consumers. From new apps to VR to new delivery methods, the way retailers interact with their customers is drastically different today than even five years ago. But in my role as RILA's vice president of government affairs handling workforce issues, I'm focused on how innovation in the industry has changed the way retailers interact with the people powering their organizations from the stores, through the supply chain and at headquarters.
New technologies have enabled new workforce trends across every business sector – the way people search, apply, and secure jobs is all changing drastically. It is up to companies to adapt and integrate components of these trends into their organizations to compete for top talent in this new economy. In addition, the rise of the platform and technology-based economy is challenging retailers to provide more flexible opportunities and find new ways of approaching the hiring process and constructing their workforce mix.
In talking with HR executives from our retail member companies, they're increasingly investing in technologies to help them address their biggest challenges and exploring innovations that enable the future of work.
To that end, RILA recently launched our first ever (R)Tech HR Innovation Awards. The Awards call on solution providers dedicated to helping employers innovate in areas like delivery, portable benefits, staffing & hiring, payroll management, and shift sharing to apply. Submissions will be evaluated by top HR executives from RILA member companies and finalists will be chosen to present their technology before CHROs at RILA's Human Resources Leaders Council meeting in January 2019.
Engaging directly with startups that help enable innovation within the industry is just one key to building a 21st century workforce. The recently established (R)Tech Talent Pipeline connects retailers with tech talent and exposes young people with tech backgrounds to the opportunities in retail. In addition, retailers are investing substantially in the personal and professional growth of current team members by offering training opportunities and career development programs that establish a clear path for growth within the industry.
We're excited about the transformation taking place across the industry and even more excited that retailers – particularly in the HR field – are helping drive it. In supporting over 42 million American jobs, we've always known retail is a place of opportunity; with this commitment to innovating for our workforce, retailers are ensuring those opportunities remain in today's economy and beyond.
To learn more about how retailers are innovating in the workforce space, contact Evan Armstrong.
With more than 4,500 stores worldwide, H&M is one of the world's most well-known leaders in fashion for men, women, teenagers and children. After previously keeping many exterior storefront doors propped open, the clothing retailer used a 2015 NYC law as an opportunity to understand if closing the doors to save money and energy would impact their consumer foot traffic.
Like any retailer, H&M wants customers to feel welcome and excited to enter their stores, and historically, propping exterior doors open was thought of as one way to entice customers in. However, open doors have financial and energy efficiency consequences that are not insignificant. Many retailers are concerned that shutting their doors, though it saves energy, would discourage foot traffic.
Under a new campaign and legislation passed in 2015, stores and restaurants in New York City are obligated to keep front doors closed while building air conditioning is running. After its first year in compliance with the law, H&M decided to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts of both energy usage and foot traffic of open versus closed exterior doors. Based on the operational change in New York, H&M began to evaluate its implications on future savings in various US locations.
The challenge was examined in two ways: one, as an energy and financial savings opportunity and two, as a factor potentially impacting store foot traffic. H&M's North America sustainability team started off by determining the total volume of air that infiltrates the store when doors are left open. By using average weather data for their New York store, they were able to calculate the amount of energy it takes to cool the excess air for one summer. Under the assumption of a two-door store and the electric cost of $0.129/kWh, H&M Energy Specialist Kyle Hopkins was able to estimate a potential savings of roughly $10,000 in annual savings per store with an open exterior door.
To understand the implications for customer shopping, H&M analyzed any changes in foot traffic in New York City stores after the law passed. They were unable to find any discernable change after the city implemented the closed-door law.
With both key results in alignment with H&M's sustainability initiatives, they proceeded with making the business case for a closed-door policy.
- In spring 2016, H&M's senior leadership was presented with the low-cost and low-risk savings from their findings.
- By summer of 2016, the H&M North America President approved a company-wide closed-door policy with special case exceptions
- The H&M energy team collaborated with the marketing department to create a simple, yet informative vinyl sticker to be placed on doors
- H&M ensures that there are both physical and training reminders to keep doors closed
"For H&M, sustainability is an integral part of all that we do and is shown in our business concept of 'fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way.' It is important for us to also put that into practice in our stores. Keeping the doors shut and lowering our environmental impact on the planet by conserving energy shows our customers through concrete actions that being sustainable isn't just something we say, it's something we do every day, in every place we operate." - John Ehrnst, Sales Manager US, H&M
Our new case study shines a spotlight on the internal process by which H&M assessed and advanced energy savings without impacting consumer traffic. Access the full Implementation Model by H&M here. For more information about RILA's energy management initiatives, contact Erin Hiatt.
By Deborah White, RILA Senior EVP & General Counsel and RLC President
RILA's legal affairs and compliance offerings are designed to give retail executives opportunities to network, share best practices, and act on the most pressing legal issues of the day. Together with legal executives from our member companies, we address a broad array of legal, operational, and policy challenges that retailers face. With an ever-changing retail and legal landscape, including evolutions in technology and consumer demands, that charge increasingly requires considering retail innovation.
Accordingly, RILA has been engaging our legal and compliance communities on the topic of innovation with increasing frequency over the last several years. In addition to providing a forum for benchmarking with peers about how a growing (R)Tech culture is informing legal activities internally and externally, we are bringing executives together to help address key questions facing their companies from a legal and compliance perspective. Questions like:
- How can legal departments adapt to support transformation in the retail industry?
- How can we support new, personalized shopping experiences while delivering high-quality, safe products and respecting consumer privacy?
- How can new technologies support more efficient legal practices internally?
We're also bringing our legal communities together with startups, thought leaders, and trusted partners on the front lines of innovation to witness industry transformation firsthand. Notably, we recently led a group of deputy general counsel to San Francisco where they visited the Salesforce headquarters and talked with industry peers about regulatory trends, new technology, best practices, and shared challenges. Read the full recap of that meeting here.
And this year, we're excited to bring the conversation around innovation to our annual Retail Law Conference, just a few weeks away in Austin, Texas. The program includes multiple sessions that consider the legal ramifications of the growing (R)Tech culture, including the legal implications of technology like machine learning in retail, blockchain, and new payment programs. In addition, we'll have a keynote session on the "entrepreneurial" general counsel, moderated by Microsoft. Learn more and register to join us at the 2018 Retail Law Conference October 10-12 here.
In addition, RILA's Center for Retail Compliance, which helps retailers navigate the complex world of environmental and sustainability compliance at the national, state, and local level, is now implementing AI-based technology to make "real-time" peer-to-peer benchmarking accompanied by delivery of guidance tools tailored to the retailer's specific needs possible.
Retail legal departments are more than just company watchdogs; these days, general counsel are empowering their teams more than ever before to enable innovation within their companies. We at RILA are excited to continue working with our legal and compliance communities to move the industry forward together.
For more information about RILA's legal offerings, contact Deborah White.