The importance of accurate product data

Accurate Product Data – A retailers holy grail.  


We have all seen the headlines about UK retail struggling – we’ve lost some of the greats in recent years so times are really challenging. They need to start doing things differently and cut costs from processes that don’t add value. Data, particularly product data is an area that adds lots of time and therefore costs in big retailers. I have seen it first hand just how hard it is to get product data in big organisations.  


Consumer requirements are changing


They are increasingly more demanding of what content they look for to make purchases and online is playing a key part of this, whether that be at the research stage or if they go on to purchase online too. Being able to give content to the consumers is all driven by having data – in particular accurate data! Having inaccurate data is actually worse than none at all as it drives delivery and returns costs along with unhappy customers over simply a lost sale.  

There is lots of headlines talking about data and it being ‘the new oil’. These retailers have masses of data but getting it in one central place that is easy to share is far easier said than done. If fact, in terms of getting it on time, in the right format, complete and accurate you would be better off hedging your bets on some flying pigs.  


Over the years we have heard from our members about their challenges with product data so we have worked with some of the leading retailers in the UK to produce a service that provides a single platform for suppliers to enter and share product data with anyone that they trade with and for retailer to receive the data along with updates that get made throughout the products lifecycle and verified with a physical product check to validate that the information is correct. 


Our long history with the grocery sector and the fact that the British grocery market, according to the IGD being worth an estimated £184.5 billion and predicted to grow by 15% through 2022 meant that starting in this area was the right choice for GS1UK and we co-developed data models with a focus group including the likes of Tesco, Ocado, Unilever and Nestle along with our in-house standards experts.  


The result – named ProductDNA has been created by the industry, for the industry. It was launched earlier this year and feedback so far has seen it likened to a milestone in retail to rival that of the introduction of the barcode in 1974. 


The benefits include the potential to save hundreds of millions of pounds and tens of thousands of man hours a year. What retailer or supplier wouldn’t want that? I know my younger self that spent many a day entering, updating, correcting and sending on product data time and time again as a former ecommerce assistant certainly would!  

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