By  on August 9, 2012

The National Retail Federation is centralizing and expanding its efforts in the sphere of mobile retailing with the formation of the Integrated Mobile Initiative (IMI).

Led by Vicki Cantrell, senior vice president of communities for Washington-based NRF and executive director of shop.org, the IMI will draw on the expertise of NRF’s membership of more than 9,000 companies and mobile technology experts. Key among its activities will be the operation of a Web site, NRFMobile.com, containing original NRF research, policy information and educational content and events exploring innovations in the fast-growing field, best practices and solutions to challenges confronting retailers.

“Retailers are inherently driven to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to their customers’ demands, and today nothing is more important than mobile technologies that provide seamless cross-platform shopping experiences,” Cantrell said. “As mobile technology changes both consumers’ expectations and the overall shopping experience, the IMI will serve as the go-to source for information for retailers, their business partners, the media and interested parties across the world on the practical aspects of implementation and resources for mobile retailing.”

Lori Schafer, executive adviser of SAS Institute, a software marketer based in Cary, N.C., said, “Mobile is new and constantly evolving and it can be used in so many ways throughout a retail organization. The industry needs a single source to go to for all things mobile and IMI is that source.”

Cantrell noted that the IMI will work to provide retailers with guidance on personnel recruitment, business organization and the integration of existing and new technology for mobile retailing.

As leader of NRF’s communities area, Cantrell is charged with “taking down the silos separating different elements of retailing,” she said. “Mobile is a perfect example of how that applies. Every aspect of retailing, from marketing to loss prevention, is affected by it.”

She said that, rather than hold specific seminars or conventions dedicated to mobile retailing, NRF would incorporate more mobile-related sessions at existing events.

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