Viewpoints

Brands Need to Protect Veracity of Product Data

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The saying in Las Vegas is what happens there, stays there, but that was hardly the point of the GS1 Connect conference that took place this month at the Aria Resort & Casino just off the famed Vegas strip. At the conference, the message about the accuracy and integrity of product data is one that the industry hopes is heard far and wide.

Take Kroger, which rolled the dice at the conference with a detailed outline of its new data synchronization and data management plans — as described in last week’s Page 1 SN story. The giant retailer is not only interested in getting its basic product information in order for the sake of supply chain efficiency, which has been the primary purpose of data synchronization through the industry’s Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).  Kroger is taking that mission to the next level, which is to ensure that the product data which gets out to consumers — particularly health-related information on nutrition and allergens — is 100% accurate.

Kroger is part of a two-year-old, multi-nation industry initiative called the GS1 B2C (business to consumer) Alliance, which was launched in response to the proliferation of unverified and often inaccurate product data and images via smartphones, websites and social media. Not only does this bad data undermine the reputation of products and brands, it poses a potential threat to consumers who rely on the data to make health-related purchase decisions.

GS1, the Brussels-based parent organization represented in this country by GS1 US, wants to use the same GDSN system and standards that govern supply chain data to vet the accuracy of this consumer data. Just as the GDSN makes use of “data pools” as middlemen between product suppliers and distributors, the B2C system will incorporate “aggregators” as the data hub between brand owners (which could include retailers in their private-label capacity) and the myriad mobile apps and websites that consumers are turning to for product information.

The system is being constructed as we speak, and GS1 US is looking for more participation from retailers and suppliers — see www.gs1us.org/b2b2c.

Everyone should get involved because in a society going increasingly digital, the veracity of product data is critical, making the new B2C infrastructure the very linchpin for the way brands and retailers will communicate with their shoppers.

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Julie Gallagher

Julie Gallagher’s delicious foray into coverage of the food industry was purely accidental. With a background in technology, she joined Supermarket News as associate editor of its Technology...

Mark Hamstra

Mark Hamstra is the editor of the Retail/Financial section of Supermarket News covering mergers and acquisitions, quarterly earnings reports, executive changes and other significant events and trends...
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