For attributes not listed in the GDD, there is a method for communicating information: “top-off” attributes. The GDSN allows suppliers or manufacturers to submit non-GDD attributes to be included in messaging as key-value pairs. This top-off attribution support sends key-value pairs not covered by the GDSN standard across the network. Retailers invested in the GDSN as a transmission mechanism frequently extend the GDD to fit use cases.
Supermarket giant Kroger is one example of a retailer that relies heavily on the top-off attribute support method. Take one of Kroger’s classes, “spices and extracts,” as an example. This class contains 22 attributes, but the GDD standard supports only three. Outside of attributes like “level of cooking” and “number of servings per package,” the majority of these attributes communicate GDD attribute requirements to the GDSN using key-value pairs.
Many of these top-off attributes contain the most essential consumer information, such as whether products contain certain ingredients, such as flour or whole grains. While Kroger requires this information, it’s not an official part of the GDD.
Top-off attributes can be applied to almost every industry. These capabilities allow brands to utilize the GDSN to its fullest capabilities. For example, it will enable industrial brands to send technical digital or online attributes. It also allows for image URLs, digital asset URLs, and more.
Some GDD attributes also allow relationship-dependent data (RDD), which are GDD attribute values specific to a single retailer, rather than new attributes not covered by the GDD.
Data pools vary in their ability and incentive to use the GDSN to its fullest capabilities. Some data pools may coach their customers into not using the GDSN for top-off attributes in lieu of additional services and products when the GDSN is fully capable of supporting all product content attributes.