Today, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the trade association for America's largest and most innovative retail brands, kicked off its month-long initiative "September is for RTech." Throughout the month, RILA will showcase news, initiatives and research focused on the future of retail and shopping experience.
RILA launched the Retail Innovation Center in 2017 to help retailers navigate the industry's transformation through research, insights, collaboration, and exposure to new technologies. Now in its second year, the Center will mark September with a release of brand-new research, launch its RTech Innovation Network, host a retail-focused challenge at MIT's annual HACKMIT event, and announce its collaborative RTech Open Innovation (ROI) Engine initiative.
"We are excited to continue helping America's most recognized brands connect with cutting-edge startups, access a growing talent pipeline, and find new ways to accelerate their business," said Adam Siegel, senior vice president of innovation for RILA. "The industry has seen tremendous growth, which shows that a focus on innovating the consumer experience has only furthered retail's transformation. RILA looks forward to using September to highlight the great work our members and the RTech Center are doing to move the industry forward."
Later this month, RILA will launch two key pieces of research that will help the industry focus on the wants and needs of the 21st century shopper. In partnership with Accenture, RILA will release "Delivering for a New Consumer," a look into the wants of a today's consumer and the ways in which retailers are meeting demands. RILA will also release additional research on "Shopping Styles in the RTech Age," which defines the 10 distinct shopping styles of Millennial and Gen Z shoppers.
On September 15th and 16th, RILA will team up with Qurate Retail Group (SM) and head to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to host a retail-focused challenge at HACKMIT 2018. Qurate Retail Group, comprised of eight leading retail brands including QVC, HSN, zulily, Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, and Improvements reaches approximately 370 million homes worldwide through 16 television networks and multiple ecommerce sites, social pages, mobile apps, print catalogs and in-store destinations. At the event, students will reimagine the way consumers shop alongside software engineering and retail mentors - creating innovations that will enhance the shopping experience using 3D product technologies.
"At Qurate Retail Group, we are passionate about leveraging the latest technologies to optimize our experiential, curated, and engaging shopping experiences," said Amber Otero, VP of Customer Journey & Marketing Insights for Qurate Retail Group. "Participating in this event provides us with a meaningful opportunity to inspire students to experiment with and develop new forms of shopping technology."
RTech Innovation Network
This month, the Center will formally launch its (R)Tech Innovation Network, which convenes incubators, accelerators, and venture capitalists with a focus on retail technologies and innovations; allowing the Center and its members to keep a pulse on the latest ideas, technologies, and startups. The Network is a source for content at RILA's events and a distribution channel for the (R)Tech Center's research.
RTech CEO Innovation Awards
Now in its second year, RILA will announce a call for participants for its annual RTech CEO Innovation Awards. The awards highlight innovations that enable retail's future. Winners are hand-picked by retail executives and invited to showcase, pitch and network with the most recognized retail CEOs at RILA's annual Retail CEO Forum January 20-22 in Amelia Island, FL.
"September is for RTech" will conclude with the official launch of its (R)Tech Open Innovation (ROI) Engine. The ROI Engine is a platform for retail open innovation; it connects retailers to a diversity of innovative, entrepreneurial, and creative problem-solvers – which will prove to be a new way of addressing complex business needs in a rapid, cost effective, and efficient way.