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NRF introduces initiative to retailers diving into mobile commerce

The Mobile Blueprint program focuses on mobile implementation, education and standards. The organization claims that the plan will help the retail industry leverage existing and emerging mobile technologies to enhance the shopping experience and improve internal business processes.

“We’re providing proper unbiased info to the retail industry so they can utilize mobile,” said Richard Mader, executive director of ARTS at NRF, San Francisco, CA. “We hope to provide best practices for use of mobile so that it grows the industry.

“We want to find out what works and what doesn’t work,” he said. “We see a lot of things that retailers do that can be mobile.

Mobile research
NRF is a retail trade association, which includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution, as well as chain restaurants and industry partners.

The company’s IT standards division, ARTS, digital division, and marketing division RAMA are teaming up to develop standards and best practices, as well as create original research, educational events and networking opportunities.

Additionally, the NRF is rolling out a Mobile Blueprint from the plan, which is a document that is designed to provide retailers with a roadmap for executing best practices as part of its mobile retail strategies.

“We have a well thought out plan and have options that can be provided to the retailers,” Mr. Mader said. “We’re trying to give retailers a voice about how mobile is implanted in this.

“We are trying to make it smoother, and less expensive, based on how retailers think it should be done,” he said. “They know best what is good for their customers.”

Mobile Blueprint
The Mobile Blueprint is being developed by NRF’s Mobile Blueprint Committee, which consists of a group of retailers, restaurants and service providers.

The committee is responsible for identifying processes that can be enhanced by mobile technology, including marketing and customer loyalty, payments, store operations and digital, as well as organizing meetings and events to bring professionals from the mobile and retails communities together to maximize adoption of standards and encourage implementation. 
In addition, the committee will work with banks and other financial institutions to provide multiple alternatives for mobile payments, encourage adoption of global standards surrounding mobile technology and use of ARTS standard data names and publish white papers that cover different aspects of mobile technology processing in retail.

The Mobile Blueprint is set to be released in June.

“People thought that the next big thing in mobile commerce was going to be mobile payments and it’s not in my opinion,” Mr. Mader said. “People talk about having your card stored in your cell phone and you need to update the phone for that.

“A lot of phones don’t have that,” he said. “We’re beginning to experiment with customer communications.”