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    How New GS1 Germany Compliance Requirements Impact GDSN Data and Brands

    June 15, 2023
    10 minute read
    How New GS1 Germany Compliance Requirements Impact GDSN Data and Brands

    German sales revenue hit 631.9 billion euros in 2022, according to Statista, making it an excellent revenue source and future opportunity for brands worldwide.

    “If you aren’t in Germany now, now is the time to explore expanding into the market,” says Jens Weller, director of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) commerce strategy at Salsify. “If you are already, you now need to make sure the systems you have in place are going to help you scale your business so you can keep up with the speed of commerce.”

    More than 80% of the top 10 German retailers require Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) data, according to German consumer goods publication Lebensmittel Zeitung — and European Union (EU) regulations and ecommerce growth have only compounded this need for GDSN data.

    What does this mean for brands with interest in the German market? GS1 Germany compliance requirements for Germany must be top of mind.

    Learn more about the latest requirements from GS1 Germany for food and beverage brands, including how these requirements aim to increase the quality of product information passing through the GDSN, helping brands meet new shopper expectations for high-quality product content.

    GS1 Germany Compliance: New Product Data Requirements

    Two new requirements for GS1 Germany were launched in 2023 that focused on increasing the quality of product information. These changes impact all food and beverage brands, as well as brands that sell within food-adjacent categories like pets, household supplies, personal care, and beauty, etc.

    Requirement Breakdown: Media Asset Publication

    Since February 2023, GS1 Germany has required brands to include at least one image for every product sold using Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) data.

    This requirement means that brands must: 

    • Provide new digital assets that previously weren’t required to publish via GDSN.
    • Ensure that these new digital assets adhere to GS1 Germany formatting specifications.

    This media asset publication requirement means that images are now must-haves — not nice-to-haves — for brands. This shift aligns with the move toward omnichannel commerce within the industry, spurred by consumer expectations for a cohesive shopping experience between in-store and online touch points.

    Requirement Challenges and Solution: Media Asset Publication

    Brands that choose to approach the new media asset publication requirement manually will face several challenges — from time-consuming downloads and uploads to updates to meet formatting requirements and little visibility into compliance.

    The reality for most brands is their enterprise resource planning (ERP) or other system feeds directly into their GDSN data pool — but their digital assets are stored separately.

    However, a powerful, unified product experience management (PXM) solution can offer native media asset centralization, management, format transformation, and syndication capabilities to help brands meet this requirement efficiently, accurately, and quickly.

    Requirement Breakdown: Data Quality Excellence (DQX)

    Since May 2023, GS1 Germany has required certified brands or GS1 Germany to conduct a visual inspection to validate that product packaging matches GDSN data.

    This requirement means that brands must complete this validation using one of two methods:

    1. SelfCheck: GS1 Germany-certified brands that achieve a data quality score of at least 97% are eligible to complete this inspection themselves.
    2. ComfortCheck: GS1 Germany completes the inspection to ensure data consistency between product packaging and GDSN data.

    This GS1 Data Quality Excellence (DQX) requirement aligns with the increasing demand for consistent product content across the digital shelf.

    Requirement Challenges and Solution: DQX

    Brands that choose the SelfCheck method will need to submit their inspection result alongside the data published to the data pool and pay annual certification fees determined by the number of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs).

    Brands that choose the ComfortCheck method will need to send packaging artwork to their data pool or via the DQX upload portal for GS1 Germany to inspect. Brands will also need to pay an inspection fee each time discrepancies are found between packaging and product data. 

    Both methods also require the same time-consuming process challenges that media asset publication requires.

    However, a unified PXM solution can also help brands adhere to DQX requirements. For SelfCheck, it offers centralized data and images, content validation to prevent errors, and the ability to publish directly to their GDSN pool, resulting in faster time to market and reduced manual effort.

    Because content is validated against GS1 requirements, brands can have confidence that they are roughly meeting the required data quality score prior to publishing to the data pool. Without a solution, brands often wait days to receive their data quality score.

    For ComfortCheck, a PXM solution also offers centralized data and images, as well as the ability to publish directly to their GDSN pool, including the required packaging artwork. This results in faster time to market and reduced manual effort. Additionally, it helps mitigate charges for multiple ComfortCheck exams.

    As with any unified PXM platform, brands can take advantage of syndicating their centralized product content anywhere it needs to go — all while leveraging automation to complete work as efficiently as possible.

    What Are the Risks of Non-Compliance for Brands?

    Brands that don’t meet these new GS1 Germany product data requirements will face a range of consequences, including the most critical, according to Weller: “The failure to meet those requirements means the data simply doesn’t get to the trading partner.”

    Other consequences for brands include:

    • Delayed time to market;
    • Missed deadlines; 
    • Additional fees; and
    • Extra time-consuming, manual work to fix data discrepancies.

    While these new GS1 Germany requirements represent an opportunity for brands to ensure high-quality product information for shoppers, they also draw attention to optimization opportunities to drive shopper engagement.

    New Requirements for Winning Customer Experiences

    According to the Salsify “2023 Consumer Research” report, 55% of shoppers worldwide say they wouldn’t purchase a product online due to “bad” product content — and 20% pointed to “inconsistent product data between retailers” as their top reason for abandoning a sale.

    Salsify also found that 39% of global shoppers returned a product because the product didn’t match the images online.

    Accurate, complete, and high-quality product content is a significant potential online revenue driver — and not having it will impact your bottom line.

    While these requirements pose several challenges for brands, meeting them will help ensure winning customer shopping experiences. Implementing a solution that can help you meet these requirements — and others — with speed and efficiency can also help your brand keep up with the speed of commerce.

    GS1 Germany Requirements

    Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about how Salsify can help your brand meet these new GS1 Germany requirements.

    Tag(s): GDSN Data Pool

    Written by: Salsify

    Salsify drives results for customers worldwide, empowering them to win on the digital shelf.

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