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    March 3, 2021
    5 minute read

    Demystifying GDSN Requirements for Amazon Marketplaces

    by: Christian Hassold

    There has been a common perception that Amazon will soon require Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) data to be submitted to them — with additional fears that Amazon would impose fines and penalties if the information isn’t provided.

    For ecommerce managers at brands large and small, this could be confusing and overwhelming. Do you need to overhaul how you provide your product information to Amazon completely? Fortunately, these rumours are false.

    Breaking It Down: What Is GDSN?

    The GDSN is a network of interconnected data pools that trading partners can use to syndicate information while retaining data quality. GDSN is a standard that’s used globally, as a part of the Global Standards (GS1) organization, to share crucial information with retailers, such as logistics, shipping, and regulatory controls.

    So, I Don’t Need to Send Amazon GDSN Data?

    That’s correct. The official word, coming directly from Amazon Vendor Central, is that GDSN is not a requirement. Brands can continue using their existing means of providing their product data to Amazon.

    The information itself is critical to Amazon, but the means in which brands provide it is up to them.

    Whether or not a brand chooses to use GDSN is entirely up to them. Amazon wants to make it easy for brands and vendors to continue working with Amazon, and they’re flexible on how brands supply this data.

    Your current mechanization — whether that’s through Vendor Central, templates, or an Excel spreadsheet — is still valid. The templates that Amazon provides request the same 60 attributes of data that GDSN has.

    Choosing Whether or Not to Invest in GDSN

    If brands choose to invest in GDSN, they should understand the benefits and limitations of it. What's great about GDSN is that it's a global standard, and it's automated. Once you've got the proper machinations in place, GDSN can be a valuable way to consistently feed data to where it needs to go.

    However, keep in mind that GDSN is not a replacement for what you're currently doing today. There are limitations to what you're capable of doing with the tool. Brands are not able to create new items or offers using GDSN. These tasks are still reserved for Vendor Central and templates.

    It's questionable if item creation using this method will ever be allowed. It's crucial to understand how GDSN can fit into your toolkit regarding managing your Amazon business. It can't replace what you're doing today, but it may help automate some of the processes.

    Why Does Amazon Need This Information?

    The product data that GDSN, Vendor Central, and templates communicate helps Amazon fulfil its promises to its customers. Space and logistics are an integral part of the Amazon ecosystem.

    The weight, shape, and size of your products and pallets really matter to Amazon as this informs how much capacity can move through their supply chain. The data provides absolute clarity on what’s coming in and out of their fulfilment centres. This way, they can better plan their part of fulfilment to meet the demands and needs of their customers.

    Although GDSN is a very technical process and the data is all about the dimensions of your products, in the end, Amazon requires this information so they can support their customers. With GDSN, they can support their capacity constraints in their logistic system and better meet their customers’ needs through more accuracy and efficiency.

    Your product data is vital to your ecommerce channels. While it can seem like a very technical task to syndicate product data to the digital shelf, it’s really also in pursuit of creating a better customer experience overall. Customers can then better expect what they receive from an online purchase instead of a surprise item they assumed.

    Watch our on-demand webinar, "3 Keys to Building a Successful Global Digital Shelf Organisation," to learn more about building a strategy for modern commerce.

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