Live from the GS1 Connect 2019 Event
With the GS1 Connect 2019 event happening this week in Denver, Colorado, we think that it’s important to review the core principles of GS1 and how IceCream Labs is contributing to the success of GS1 and the companies who leverage GS1 standards in their business. This article will recap the show and introduce the technology that IceCream Labs is announcing to support GS1 standards.
Making the Pitch in a New Venue
IceCream Labs is competing in the startup pitch competition this week at GS1 Connect 2019. We have a booth on Startup Row at the event and are thankful for the invitation to compete as one of eight startups participating in the GS1 Startup Lab and Pitch competition. The GS1 Connect event is one of the first events to take place in the brand new Gaylord Rockies Convention Center, and the event is bigger this year than ever before.
Our CEO, Madhu Konety was live on stage with the other Startup Lab CEO's competing in the startup pitch competition.
Quality Data is the Core of the Verified by GS1 Program
Accurate product data is key for every step of the supply chain process. Consumers expect that the information which they see on a product description page accurately describes the product they are about to purchase. Since an online consumer can’t touch the physical product that they are considering, the online product description page must present all of the information that the consumer needs to make their decision. This data includes all of the images, video and text which describe the product.
One side effect of online retailing that we’ve observed is “Attribute Creep” and growth in the total number and variety of product attributes displayed for consumers. Product images and videos also complicate the process of sharing information along the supply chain. Media files have historically been difficult for merchandising teams to version and track. IceCream Labs technology enables the merchandising team to verify the content in a product image.
All along the supply chain process, there are a variety of expectations which define the product attributes necessary for a given transaction. Any incorrect or incomplete piece of information can add cost to the entire transaction. Merchandising and purchasing teams at a retailer need accurate data to buy from a supplier or manufacturer. Logistics managers need accurate product data to plan and move cargo. But it all starts at the manufacturer, who is creating and launching a new product for sale. Failure to create and deliver accurate product data at this point, will destroy trust through all subsequent supply chain interactions.
This is why ecommerce executives are starting to look closely at the product information process and putting the necessary steps in place to ensure that each transaction maintains the highest level of data quality.
The Creation of a Minimum Product Data Set
While there can be hundreds of different product attributes necessary to move an item from the manufacturer to a consumer, there is a small set of attributes which are required at every step of the process. GS1 has worked diligently to distill this long attribute list down to the following 7 core attributes:
Unique Product Identifier (Global Trade Item Number or GTIN)
- Brand Name
- Product Description
- Product Image URL
- Global Product Classification
- Net Content & Unit of Measure
- Target Market
It’s these 7 attributes which make up the basis for the the Verified by GS1 program. GS1’s role in the process is to help create and manage barcode data for product packaging, along with managing the GTIN registry. This ensures that each new product gets a unique product number which isn’t replicated anywhere else.
Managing the Product Data Creation Process
This is where IceCream Labs comes in. With artificial intelligence, IceCream Labs is able to automatically extract product content from product images with the IceCream Labs Catalog Management solution.
Next, the extracted product content can be compared to existing product data to ensure that the product packaging images match the existing digital product data. In this process, the existing product content and the extracted product content can be verified with the official product GTIN and then normalized to ensure that all of the data (images and text) is consistent. This validates that the images match the rest of the content (item 4 in the core GS1 attribute list above).
Enriched Product Content for Consistency
Unlike a rules based engine, AI is able to intuitively process a variety of product content and selectively enrich content differently, based on the market and usage of the content. The output is a verified and normalized product data set that is ready for publication in your production product catalog. This process helps to augment the tasks of a brand manager at the manufacturer or the merchandising team at a retailer.
IceCream Labs is one of the first technology companies to apply artificial intelligence to this problem and we are helping ensure that product data is consistent across all channels and types of content. The end result is the presentation of the best information to the consumer so that they can make the right choice.