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GS1 US Guide aims to improve online commerce


Last month, Amazon started hiding listings for certain products if they do not have a GTIN, better known as the Universal Product Code (UPC). Now eBay, Google and Walmart have endorsed a drive to help businesses obtain valid GTINs for products sold online.

Both are significant developments in a larger trend, as major e-commerce players look to dramatically reduce the number of inaccuracies that online shoppers encounter every day.

The new GS1 US guide helps businesses, such as Amazon, improve e-commerce by resolving incorrect and duplicate product information online. Developed for e-tailers, retailers, e-commerce platform providers, content aggregators and content distributors, the GTIN Validation Guide, offers best practices for leveraging GS1 Standards to enhance the consumer shopping experience while boosting e-tailer efficiency, revenue and loyalty. It also offers improvements for better data management and product analytics.

Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN), the numbering sequence within barcodes and commonly called UPCs, are the foundation of the GS1 System of Standards and have identified products at point-of-sale for 40 years. The GTIN Validation Guide supports extending GTINs online to help ensure more accurate and consistent product descriptions that link to images and promotions, including coupons. Large online marketplaces and search engines already require GTINs to better help customers find, evaluate and purchase products online.

“As we continue to create a seamless shopping experience across online, mobile and stores, we rely on accurate and consistent product information,” said Jeremy King, chief technology officer at Walmart Global eCommerce. “The GS1 US GTIN Validation Guide is an important tool for improving the quality of product data and the relevance of online and mobile search results.”

“GS1 Standards have been invaluable in our efforts to improve the online shopping experience by harmonizing product data and eliminating inaccuracies. We welcome this new guide," said Eric Tholomé, product management director, Google Shopping.

The GTIN Validation Guide aims to help retailers, e-tailers and solution providers offer consumers a consistent search, discovery, and purchase experience, which has become challenging as shoppers increasingly move through multiple channels, including traditional Internet shopping, mobile applications and brick-and-mortar stores. The guide also offers assistance for determining whether a GTIN is valid and correctly assigned according to the GS1 System of Standards.

“Every day, millions of online buyers create more demand for trusted sources of accurate product data,” said Bob Carpenter, president and CEO of GS1 US. “Successful organizations must respond by providing a seamless, convenient shopping experience that delivers complete and accurate online content. Businesses that use GS1 Standards can improve data quality and help consumers find the right product in the right place at the right time, leading to higher levels of traffic and sales.”

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