GDSN 101: Myths and Realities of Global Data Synchronization – Part 1

August 22, 2019

GDSN 101: Myths and Realities of Global Data Synchronization – Part 1

In today’s digital world, accurate product content is expected throughout the supply chain and at virtually every touchpoint of the customer journey. 

Welcome to Our World: 1WorldSync and the GDSN

In response to the evolution of product information over the past two decades, the industry has continued to change and many new solutions have been created to help solve the challenge for brands and retailers. 

At 1WorldSync, the history of our journey is built on the development of our relationships with thousands of the most powerful brands in the world. 1WorldSync is proud to be the premier global network for trusted product content, used by 13,000 brands, digital content providers and their trading communities.

1WorldSync has a legacy deep in the GS1 system of standards. GS1 Standards set processes and standards across multiple industries, in an effort to reduce the cost of sharing and exchanging information and products for trading partners. What started as barcodes in the 1970’s has evolved to comprehensive industry standards, schemas and processes, and protocols including the Global Data Synchronization Network and GS1 Global Registry. 

The GDSN has continued to change to meet the needs of today’s digital world. We’d like to clear up some confusion and misconceptions around the GDSN. 

 GDSN Realities & Myths


  • “The GDSN Has Not Innovated the Past 10 Years.” It’s been said that the GDSN has not innovated and that’s just not the reality. The industry itself has defined the requirements of product content and its transfer mechanisms. The GDSN is constantly adding attributes and valid values to support the latest needs. In addition, there have been modifications to the underlying data structures in response to industry needs.  

Further, innovation is great but not at the cost of efficiency and content consistency. The mission of GDSN and 1WorldSync is drive efficiency through standards. While this seems slower to some, it reduces extra work and inconsistent content in the marketplace. 

To support these industry needs, the GDSN has quarterly releases and larger releases like Major Release 3 that brought improved product information sharing and data synchronization to GDSN standards to increase flexibility, efficiency and support regulatory requirements.

At 1WorldSync we have and will continue to innovate in the GDSN and now under the new ownership of Battery Ventures, will accelerate our innovation and speed to market. 

  • “The GDSN has failed on unifying online and offline.” 1WorldSync has spent time educating retailers and brands on how to harness the power of the GDSN to unify online and offline product content needs. Across channels the GS1 System of Standards enables companies to speak the same language and drive commerce—no matter where the final transaction occurs.

When we allow companies to create pockets of data (online vs offline), we add cost to the organization as well as inconsistency.

Companies that leverage their existing investment in quality GDSN data can extend their accurate, consistent product content to eCommerce channels. 

At 1WorldSync, we have enhanced our platform and tools to elevate the user experience enabling brands to centralize all product content and communicate to all channels (both online and offline). 

We’ve made it easier for manufacturers and brand owners to provide the right content needed to sell your products online. We’re excited to see that new vendors are embracing the power of the GDSN for eCommerce. 

  • “The GDSN Doesn’t Work for eCommerce” The bottom line is the GDSN does work for eCommerce. Data is data and those that have invested in the GDSN should go further in the journey by ensuring they have populated needed attributes for eCommerce (images, romance copy, etc). 

At 1WorldSync, we’ve added flex attributes for all eCommerce customers making it easy to solve for both online and offline. 

Point solutions for eCommerce fragmented the industry by creating their own connections outside the GDSN and siloing data. However, 1WorldSync is dedicated to making it easier for manufacturers and brand owners to provide the right content needed for retailers to sell your products online. We’ve added several key e-commerce related attributes to the Basic Playlists in IM including: 

  • Ecomm friendly Image Section 
  • Addition of 360° spin 
  • B2C attributes