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NRF's ARTS establishes social media blueprint for retailers

Washington -- The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), which is National Retail Federation's technology standards division, has created an educational white paper aimed at helping retailers understand how to leverage social media for their businesses to manage brand image and awareness, increase sales and engagement, and increase loyalty.

Dubbed the ARTS Social Retailing Blueprint, it is said to be the first of its kind within the retail industry.

Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org and svp of communities for NRF, added that "this paper is the second in a series of educational resources created for all retailers to help understand the basic components, standards and retail best practices around this game-changing and critically influential world of social, local and mobile marketing and technology."

This first version of the Blueprint, written by ARTS members, describes the aspects that retailers should consider when developing their social media program.

In further collaboration with the NRF communities, future versions will expand on how employees and sales associates can use social to increase customer service and operational efficiencies.

The Blueprint is free to NRF, Shop.org and ARTS members and can be downloaded by visiting www.nrf.com/socialblueprint. Non-members can also access it for a nominal fee from the NRF Store at www.nrf.com/nrfstore.

The Blueprint series is continually updated to cover the changing landscape and future direction of the space.

NRF noted that social media's importance to the retail industry "has never been more evident than the 2011 holiday season." According to an NRF/Bigresearch Consumer Intentions holiday survey, more than one-quarter (26.5%) of smartphone owners and three-in-10 (31.2%) tablet owners said they planned to keep track of retailers' holiday sales promotions through Facebook; and 5.4% of smartphone and 7.7% of tablet owners said they would use Twitter. Additionally, a recent Shop.org report found that more than two out of five adults ages 18-34 consult Facebook when looking for information about a retailer or product.

While the Blueprint outlines goals, strategies, and social network alignment in the organization, there are also 10 specific retailer implemented tactics described in the paper as follows:

  • Monitoring & Analytics;
  • Targeted Advertising;
  • User-Generated Content;
  • Check-Ins;
  • Social Graph Analytics;
  • Working the Crowd;
  • Gamification;
  • F-Commerce;
  • Social Shopping;
  • Group Buying.

"These days, if a retailer does not have a social media strategy, they may be missing out on a highly engaged and savvy set of shoppers and brand loyalists," said David Dorf, ARTS committee chair and senior director at Oracle Retail. "This Blueprint will provide retailers with the tools they need to understand how to connect with the social world."

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