RILA and Accenture launch tech innovation center

BY Marianne Wilson

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Accenture on Monday announced the launch of a new initiative that will explore the impact that technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality will have on the retail industry.

RILA’s new (R)Tech Center for Innovation will also help retailers create innovative ways of doing business.

RILA collaborated with Accenture on the new venture, and Accenture will actively work with RILA to shape the overall program, conduct joint research, and bring together retailers and technology start-ups to explore the industry transformation that is being driven by digital technologies.

(R)Tech is a new term coined by RILA to describe the confluence of retail and technology. An (R)Tech company embodies the core values of both those industries – global and local, nimble, and entrepreneurial – to win the loyalty of today’s empowered consumers.

“We are excited to collaborate with Accenture as we launch our (R)Tech Center for Innovation,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “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.”

The (R)Tech Center will address five key industry needs by:

1. Providing authoritative research: This will include retail innovation benchmarking, trends, and analysis.

2. Connecting to innovation: The center will be used to connect retailers to innovative technologies, companies and ventures, from around the world.

3. Fostering innovation: Assist the industry in creating cultures where innovation, creativity and change can flourish.

4. Activating innovation: Assist retailers in implementing change management, putting new insights into action and integrating emerging technologies and new innovations across the company.

5. Burnishing reputation: Build reputation for retail in innovation hubs and with policymakers and retail talent.

RILA has formed the (R)Tech Advisory Council whose members include: AutoZone, Best Buy, Coca-Cola, DICK'S Sporting Goods, Energizer, Foot Locker, GameStop, Kroger, Lowe's, QVC, Target, Unilever, VF Corporation, Walgreens, and Westfield.

Also, as part of the (R)Tech Center for Innovation launch, RILA has established a new (R)Tech Innovation Network to 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.”

To coincide with the launch, RILA and Accenture released an inaugural blueprint: “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.

To learn more about the Center and its future activities, visit


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