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Featured Topics: GDSNGuideDigital Data

4 Most Common Misconceptions About the GDSN

Salsify | February 12, 2020

When the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) was created, ecommerce was just starting to emerge. Traditional GDSN data pools were built for a brick-and-mortar world, which led to the rise of many misconceptions about the GDSN.

These misunderstandings impact brands significantly, resulting in a variety of challenges: complicated and time-consuming processes; increased and unnecessary costs; and prevalent misinformation.

Learn the truth behind four of the most common misconceptions about the GDSN.

Misconception 1: Brands Must Use the Same GDSN Data Pool Their Retailers Use

All GDSN data pools should be interoperable in theory, but many providers lack complete connections with trading partners. This lack of support has led to the misconception that brand manufacturers must subscribe to multiple data pools to facilitate data exchange with all trading partners, leading to increased costs and complications.

The truth is it’s possible to successfully connect with any trading partner, regardless of the data pool the trading partner uses, by using a fully interoperable GDSN data pool. Rather than subscribing to multiple GDSN data pools to reach multiple trading partners, subscribe to a single provider with the ability to make every connection, streamlining processes and costs.

Misconception 2: 1WorldSync Is an Unrivaled Monopoly

GS1 U.S. owned the 1WorldSync data pool until 2019, which led to the misconception that it was the unrivaled, risk-free GDSN data pool option for brands. Many of the largest brand manufacturers, many of which were on the 1WorldSync board of directors, held firmly to this incorrect assumption.

1WorldSync previously owned 80% of the market, which caused a critical issue to emerge as a result of this single provider holding a monopoly: Interoperability was no longer a priority. The reality of many GDSN data pools today: Unnecessary, complicated, and costly connections permeate.

The truth is data pool interoperability is an issue. Limiting connections with trading partners increases costs for brands and hinders the GDSN’s ability to work for the digital shelf.

Misconception 3: GDSN Data Pools Lack Consumer Content Support

Retail and distribution trading partners previously required only a limited set of product attributes, primarily focused on shipping, logistical, and labeling information. But with the rise of the digital shelf came new consumer demands for richer product information.

Data pools were interfaced with inflexible enterprise resource planning (ERP) and master data management (MDM) solutions, so many brands and retailers began exchanging this information outside of the GDSN. Spreadsheets, web portals, application program interface (API) connections, and other tools became the new norm.

Brands responded by expanding their vendor ecosystems, resulting in the need to manage and maintain disparate — and often complex — item set-up processes for various trading partners.

The truth is the GDSN can support basically anything you would like to communicate about your products on the digital shelf. This includes everything from enhanced content like 360-degree image spins and video to operational, supply chain data like regulatory and packaging information.

Retailers are also increasingly requesting consumer-facing content to be provided through the GDSN, so you must ensure your data pool can support the full scope of attributes.

Misconception 4: The GDSN Isn’t User-Friendly for Business

There is a common belief within the industry that all GDSN data pools offer web portals that are outdated, inflexible, and complex. These interfaces do vary dramatically from the scope of their features and functionality to their ease of navigation, posing several issues for brands.

Some of these systems force users to navigate the inherent complexity of the GDSN and lack intuitive experiences that move the complexity to the back end. These systems can also create friction between supply chain and marketing teams, as a system expert is required to manage content in the web portal. This becomes a problem as more consumer-facing content is requested through the GDSN.

The truth is there are GDSN data pools that offer user-friendly web portals designed to ensure seamless navigation. The Salsify GDSN data pool has a heightened focus on user experiences, offering a unified platform that allows brands to consolidate people, processes, and content.

A Commitment to the GDSN Vision

The GDSN was built on a powerful vision, and our commitment to this vision led us to develop a data pool purpose-built for the digital shelf. Our fully interoperable GDSN-certified data pool is integrated with a product experience management (PXM) solution that gives brands the transparency, control, and flexibility needed to be the best partner for their customers and trading partners.


All Topics: GDSN , Guide , Digital Data

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