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New GS1 US Guideline Merges Retailers’ Online Fulfillment Processes

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GS1 US announced the release of a new guideline called the Apparel and General Merchandise E-commerce Fulfillment Guideline, which helps mediate customers’ experiences across all channels while enforcing a single fulfillment process.

“With the goal of improving the overall e-commerce consumer experience, retail industry stakeholders have come together to determine the best way to present and ship a product so as to not compromise on quality and presentation, while optimizing sustainability,” Melanie Nuce, GS1 US vice president of apparel and general merchandise, said.

The GS1 US Omni-Channel Ready Merchandise E-Commerce Fulfillment Workgroup developed the new guideline. Members of this group came together in order to tackle merchandise-related issues that stemmed from e-commerce fulfillment–including the preparation, packaging and shipping of product.

Today, many consumers are seeking flexible methods of e-commerce fulfillment, such as in-store pickup or having an item shipped home. With the modern consumers’ demands, it is crucial for online fulfillment processes to have some form of unification.

The new guideline features better industry practices that establish consistent consumer experiences across all channels, including in-store and e-commerce. Universal standards in the new guideline are available for units of measure, ticketing products with a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), packaging processes and product fulfillment practices.

Phases break down the single fulfillment process in the guideline. Phase One reduces the retailer’s order-to-fulfillment cycle time, which brings together packaging, identification and marking of product into unified requirements. Phase Two, a deeper dive into standardization, further divides the packaging of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels into product categories.

More phases are still in the works, which would continue efforts of improved material efficiency and labor involved with fulfillment processes.

“Future Phases will seek to incorporate the suite of guidelines into a single harmonized

document giving users a single point of reference for merchandise readiness across channels,” the guideline stated. The GS1 US Omni-Channel Ready Merchandise E-Commerce Fulfillment Workgroup will release the second part of the guideline by early 2017.

For more information on the new GS1 US guideline, visit  www.gs1us.org.

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