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GS1 Frustrations: Identified and Resolved


June 6, 2022

After coming across a recent social media post expressing frustration with GS1, we began an internal conversation full of fact finding questions:

What is the source of this frustration?

Is that something we can control or adjust?

Ultimately, How can Sitation help reduce those annoyances?

Digging deeper into what we know about GS1 the organization and the standards, as well as tagging in our resident expert, we have arrived at the age old conundrum of answering a question with a question.

Are you really frustrated with GS1 or with the variations that converge at GS1?


Sitation’s, GS1 Standards Professional and Manager of Data & Content Services Georgette Suggs explains  in a recent blog that  “GS1 is a  non-profit organization where industry representatives, associations, regulatory agencies, academic institutions, and government agencies collaborate to address the challenges of data exchange by creating standards-based solutions.” 

The organization, in collaboration with these participants, develops recommendations for what a fair expectation is for content. This recommendation is a global initiative to create continuity across participating suppliers and retailers. Among the most valuable benefits of this method is that these standards are created with input from groups that will actually interact directly with the information in the course of business functions. Additionally, these standards can evolve as the market changes.

That all sounds quite helpful but let’s see if we can identify and rectify two potential frustration points.

Data Formatting

The Frustration:

If your organization chooses to use GS1 standards, for internally motivated  data consistency reasons, or because of the preferences of the partners you work with, you may begin by working to format content in the ways expected.  Content adaptation can be a tedious process on the front end, resulting in massive changes for already existing information. Plugging away at numerous spreadsheets or source systems, trying to normalize and match up data changes does sound frustrating.

The fix:

Consider a software solution to help simplify the data organization and clean up process.  Using  product information management (PIM) software like Salsify or Akeneo could help consolidate,  organize, and automate data updates within a single source of truth, giving access and transparency to previously siloed information. Leveraging solutions like these to reduce manual standardization processes can save you time and reduce error correction needs by automating information formatting, validation and syndication. 

Retailer Requirements

The Frustration:

There are over seven thousand industry defined fields available in the GDSN data dictionary.  With that many fields to choose from it makes sense that the information required can be different from one retailer/operator to the next. While one retailer may be asking for just core data (description, classification etc.) another may also want functional descriptions and features or claims.  Choosing to expand to multiple retailers may mean building out additional details. Again, this process requires time, attention to detail and maybe even an ability to set up rules and governance around your product content  to help enable quick assessment and updating of content in response to the changing landscape of content definition.  

The Fix:

We arrive back at the technical solutions available through a powerful PIM software solution like Salsify that not only provides a single location to consolidate and normalize product content but is also a  Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) certified data pool.  Being a data pool not only allows for sharing of the standardized data required by distributors and retailers but also provides GS1 agreed upon definitions and expectations around the content requested.  

Wow! There is a lot of potential for frustration in the process of using GS1 standards BUT the good news is the overwhelming opportunity to prevent or remedy these annoyances. Sitation, a leader in PIM selection, implementation, and management continues to build out a team of well trained and GS1 certified solution providers to discover and initiate ways to make your transition or operation painless. 

For more information on how Sitation can reduce your frustration and eliminate annoyance contact us, and let the fixing begin.

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