Connecting to Innovators
Startup and Innovative Company Connections
The Retail Innovation Center connects retailers to new technologies, leading startups, innovative companies, and critical talent by using our networks and have established:
- Startup showcase – This is a one-time session where several startup companies showcase technologies that solve a set of retail problems. Relevant startups are identified ahead of a committee meeting or other RILA event for a session.
- Speed dating sessions - Small groups of RILA executives rotate among participating startups on a fixed schedule of “speed dates.” Each “date” lasts ~5 minutes and is an opportunity for startups to present their cutting-edge solutions to key decision-makers, whether developed specifically for the industry or logically adapted for retail applications.
- Shark tanks – A community selects 3-5 startups to participate in a “shark tank” style pitch. Community executives serve as “sharks" that actively challenge the startups during a live, interactive Q/A session. The “sharks” commit to doing a pilot (or at least continuing the discussion) at the end of the pitch.
- Startup Awards – RILA presents several Startup Awards for the best innovations in Supply Chain, Asset Protection, Human Resources, and overall. The awards are meant to expose executives to innovative solution providers answering the biggest challenges for retailers today.
As RILA communities identify innovation problems, the RIC can launch new projects by organizing retailer problems into detailed challenge briefs that can be addressed through:
- Open Retail Initiatives – a retail focused open source initiative solving retail problems from Intel, HP, VMware, SAS, and more.
- Student Design Challenges – bring retail challenges to RTech Collegiate Network members and design a student project to address a particular retail-foucsed challenge.
- NineSigma Challenges – providing a discounted connection to specific technology solutions, partners, and experts.
Retail Innovation Center
Retail Innovation CenterRetail Innovation Center
ChallengePredicting and Incentivizing Store Level Hazardous Waste Disposal Compliance
Retailers sell a variety of consumer products that are legally classified as “hazardous waste” when disposed of in stores. For example, some hairsprays, which would simply be thrown in the trash at home, legally require proper disposal in stores. Retailers have policies for proper disposal of these items. But a breakdown can occur in stores, since retailers rely on the store associates to follow those policies; even with training, employees can lack awareness for proper disposal techniques. Retailers are looking for solutions to two elements of this problem. First, the solution should promote behaviors that lead to proper disposal. Second, it should allow corporate compliance professionals or other managers to predict stores at risk of noncompliance. Learn More
ChallengeImproving the Economics of the Last Mile
Customers’ e-commerce expectations for next-day and same-day delivery are expanding, but providing delivery within these timeframes is costly. Retailers are seeking an industry-wide solution that will optimize last mile delivery to meet these growing demands. Learn More
ChallengeAutomating Retail Systems Support
Many retailers have operations centers to monitor their sales, supply chains, and other systems. “Runbooks” describe solutions to various systems failures. Retailers are interested in a solution to automate these troubleshooting processes to achieve higher-quality resolution, faster responses, and minimal systems impacts. Learn More
ChallengeMaximizing Efficient Truck Transportation
Retailers face rising transportation costs from a shortage of truck drivers and increased demand for rapid delivery. Therefore, they are looking for a solution that enables cost effective transportation. A successful solution will enable a retailer to better manage inventory to meet customer demand and maximize existing driver and truck fleets. Learn More
ChallengeMaintaining Active Payment Credentials for Subscription Services
Retailers are increasingly offering subscription and membership models. However, consumers’ credit cards rapidly change (as a result of hacking, for example); therefore, maintaining valid payment credentials is becoming a challenge. Retailers are looking for a solution that will facilitate ongoing payment for subscription services without introducing friction into the transaction. Learn More
ChallengeLinking Digital Marketing to Physical Sales
Retailers face difficulty in linking digital marketing to physical, in-store interactions to determine how best to spend their marketing dollars. Retailers are looking for solutions to connect digital marketing with store visits and purchases – with high accuracy and workability. Learn More
ChallengeBridging the Gap between Legacy Systems and the Cloud
Retailers still use legacy systems (e.g., procurement and inventory systems) that impede innovation and require significant outlays to maintain. Retailers are seeking a solution to help transition from these legacy systems to modern cloud-based systems with no impact to core retail functions. Learn More
ChallengeAutomating Repetitive General Office Tasks
Retailers are interested in automating general office tasks that are necessary but repetitive, and for which a person performing that function adds little value. Examples include supplier invoicing, tax form processing, and sales auditing. Retailers are looking for a solution to automate these tasks. It is also critical that the solution is compatible with robotics technologies to automate physical components of these tasks. Learn More
ChallengeRationalizing Data Centers
Retailers continue to operate data centers to power their online presence. However, operating data centers is not a core retail competency and, with the growth of cloud computing, retailers would like to stop operating them. But retailers have custom built applications that are not modular or API-based and are therefore not cloud-ready. Retailers are looking for a solution that rapidly transitions applications to enable cloud hosting and allow retailers to eliminate their own data center needs. Learn More
Challenge3D Scanning to Enable Image Commerce
Retailers lack a reliable database for accurate 3D product images that allows image recognition algorithms to distinguish between similar but distinct packaging. Retailers seek a solution that enables cost-effective 3D image creation for use in AR and VR applications, and for image commerce. Learn More