Different kinds of businesses use different ways to manage data. To reach the common grounds companies implement a standardized source of truth to efficiently share and synchronize the information.
Here’s why GDSN is a topic to be addressed properly. Especially by the companies leveraging solid amounts of product information. Let’s get a ride through GDSN meaning, what advantages it offers to brands, and what kind of challenges might happen (and, of course, how to deal with them). And more on a tech side: how to push your product data to GS1.
What is GDSN
What does GDSN stand for? It is the Global Data Synchronisation Network within GS1, and is the world's largest product data network. Brads import their product information inside, and retailers — find and download it for their needs. GDSN enables sharing high-quality product information: to any sales partner, in any market. So this is a way to exchange seamless product information in time.
Since 1974, GS1 has developed and maintained a global system of standards for business communication in retail, transport, and logistics. The best known of these is the GS1 barcode standard, printed on whatever you purchase online and offline. Across the globe, the company cooperates with organizations of every size. Among more than one million companies GS1 works with are Amazon, Alibaba Group, eBay, Google, Nestlé, and many others.
At Gepard, we had the experience of building a PIM system for GS1 fashion vertical. After the implementation, GS1 Fashion Base enabled the suppliers to import their product data to GS1, enhance these data independently and automatically export content to resellers that have integration with the Icecat content provider.
What advantages GDSN offers to brands and manufacturers
For you as a brand or a manufacturer, GDSN gives a solution to easily comply with the necessary data standards. You also benefit from central data governance. Having a single source of truth allows you to keep all the records in one place and give access to all your partners. This, in turn, saves you time, but also eliminates the possibility of data errors and incomplete product templates.As a result — it saves you labour and money.
Nordine Eddaoudi, a contributor at GS1 France answers the important questions:
What are the main benefits of GDSN for manufacturers, from your point of view?
“The main benefit for suppliers is the simplified management of the synchronization of their product and pricing data. Indeed, whether they have one customer or several thousand, they only need one tool (a GDSN certified data pool) to synchronize all their product information. And after the first publication to each of their customers, for any update in their PIM, the modification is automatically redistributed to all their customers.”
..and for retailers?
“On the retail side, it will also be easier for retailers to receive all data and updates from the GDSN instead of managing multiple P2P connections for each supplier. The retailer will need to have a data pool connected to the GDSN allowing it to be interconnected with all their suppliers. A single subscription to each of them can result in the automated synchronization of product information. Each time a new update is made by the supplier, it will automatically reach its retailer customer.”
- More efficient sync with trading partners’ databases
- Better visibility and trackability of information
- Easy compliance with data standards for all sales partners
GS1 US also shared their perspective on the pros of GDSN for manufacturers:
"When using the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), manufacturers have the benefit of “one-to-many” data exchange, as opposed to individually exchanging product information with each one partner, which can be very time-consuming and can expose a company to data errors. GDSN is a single, trusted source for exchanging complete and accurate product data between trading partners. This can be a critical part of supporting increased consumer demands for product information transparency. The GDSN enables manufacturers to share their product information in an automatic and efficient way, in accordance with GS1 Standards, which can reduce the amount of data errors with fewer manual processes.
Specifically, using the GDSN can lead to the following process improvements:
Reduced product time-to-shelf
More efficient order and item administration
Fewer item data issues in sales processes."
..and for retailers?
"When using the GDSN as a recipient of product information, retailers have access to
continuously updated information about the products they are selling. They know that they are
accessing information that is properly defined, formatted, and kept up-to-date.
For retailers, they gain the following efficiencies:
Order and item administration improvements
Reduced coupon rejection at check-out
Reduction in data management efforts
Overall improvement of on-shelf availability."
How to push data to GS1. How to deliver data to your sales partners
GDSN standards classify, share, and handle the information based on their standards (with standards-based messages).
Supply chain data, including logistical and shipping information, and rich product content is stored, managed, and shared across all sales channel partners of yours. Each of your sales partners will have 24/7 access to the freshest and complete information. Getting acquainted with the GDSN components will help you to get the idea of how you, as a brand/manufacturer or any other source of data (distributor, or service vendor/solution provider), can push this information to GS1 and how retailers can get it. Keep in mind that the process done within GS1 is not enough to set a seamless data sharing. Follow the passage below to learn more about ways to enhance the data delivery to your sales partners.
How does GDSN work:
- Manufacturer/Brand provides and registers product data to one of the data pools it works with.
- This data pool publishes given information to GS1 Global Registry.
- Sales partners (retailers/distributors) subscribe to this information at GS1 Global registry.
- The information is being sent to the data pool of the sales partner.
The GDSN components:
Who? Manufacturer, distributor, or service vendor. Function: store and deliver the trade data to be registered into the GDSN.
Source Data Pool
Function: process the trade data from a data source, validate it to the GDSN Validation Rules, and register it as a Catalog Item in the GS1 Global Registry.
GS1 Global Registry
Function: matches features and speeds up the registration and delivery of all information over the whole GS1 data hub.
Recipient Data Pool
Function: collect subscriptions from a Data Recipient in order to file it in the GS1 Global Registry. Plus, this data pool gets new or updated catalog information from a Source Data Pool, and delivers it as a Trade Item to the Data Recipient.
Who? Any business/company that subscribes to receive Trade Item information.
The challenges of working with GDSN and how to deal with them
Before sending information to the GDSN, it is important to nail the quality of the product data internally. No one from the GS1 team knows your product better than you. Learn how to create great product descriptions and product images for ecommerce. Do not forget to check out our blog to see more valuable resources that continue to assist brands and retailers with the product content processes. Though adapting 1000+ product items to the GS1 standards manually is a total waste of time and potential of a company. Plus, the issue with proper data delivery across the sales partners is not a rare challenge. Every retailer has its own product content requirements and just subscribing to one of the GS1 data pools is not enough. Automating ones undoubtedly speeds up the sales, ensures the data quality is complying with the modern market demands and is being delivered in the right manner to each retailer. With Gepard Product Content Delivery brands can set a GS1 connection easier and efficiently get the data delivered across any number of sales partners while complying with GS1 requirements.
We asked GS1 US and GS1 France to share their expertise on a question: What kind of challenges (maybe in terms of sending data or setting integrations between data pools and GS1 Registry) have they noticed so far?
"One of the challenges with GDSN is that users may not be fully aware of how GDSN integrates with data pools and the GS1 Global Registry Platform. That’s why GS1 US collaborates with the solution provider community to help forge a better understanding of how the entire system of standards works, utilizing tools in the local GS1 offices to update the Registry. If users have that foundational knowledge, they can apply GDSN and other standards to their business processes and gain significant efficiencies.", Michelle Covey, Vice President and Partnerships at GS1 US
“The benefit in terms of product information management will be even greater for suppliers and retailers who have multiple trading partners. In the case of non-GDSN management, they are forced to maintain tasks and heaps of proprietary Excel files which is complicated to manage especially on the supplier side. The biggest challenge will be the mapping of proprietary data to GS1 data. But, in most cases, this remains the responsibility of the data pools. The suppliers/retailers want to have a very simple solution that will replace a lot of excel spreadsheets used for each client.”, Nordine Eddaoudi, GS1 France
GDSN is a valuable tool. If product data is of high quality, standardized and regularly updated — it is a winning trampoline for brands. Contact us to get your free consultation.