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GTIN Benefits for Small Business

Posted on 5.05.2016

Google's May 16th deadline for providing Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for all new in-stock products on Google Shopping is fast approaching.

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The search engine plays a major role in product discovery for consumers (although often that activity results in a visit to its primary competitor in Amazon) and Internet retailers know what's at stake if they choose to avoid implementation of GTINs.

Website Magazine spoke with Indix CEO Sanjay Parthasarathy about the need for a universal product identification system, how this effort will simplify things for both retailers and consumers, and show how brands can streamline the process of making GTIN's available.

WM : What is the potential impact of the GTIN deadline?

SP: The main impact of Google’s effort is that it will simplify things for both retailers and customers. Requiring retailers and brands to provide GTINs for all brand-name products helps identify listings and enables matching. The GTIN requirements likely mean more time, effort and money put in by retailers and brands, but Google claims that certain merchants have seen up to 20% improvements in conversion rates by including GTIN info. The GTIN info then allows Google to surface the most relevant ads and product details to consumers. This provides greater consistency and breadth in products they are looking for or comparing.

WM : Is there a need currently for a universal product identifier and why?

SP: Yes, there is a huge need for a universal product identifier. Right now product information is so diverse that consumers aren’t always getting what they’re looking for and retailers don’t always know what consumers want. A universal product identifier allows consumers to find, research, compare and buy the exact products they’re looking for while making the most informed decision. It is also a great move for brands. Universal identifiers give brands better distribution both nationally and internationally. They also make it easier and less expensive in the supply chain to deliver better results to customers. Overall, universal product identifiers allow brands to create a comprehensive record of all aspects of product information. Because this universal product identifier is so necessary, Google’s move with GTIN is only the first step in filling this larger need.

WM : What guidance can you provide to help retailers ease and improve making GTINs accessible?

SP: Adopting universal identifiers will help retailers and brands distribute information more efficiently but getting to that point will be a pain in the short term. The difficulty is not as much in updating the information when it’s available but rather in finding it when it’s not. Both retailers and brands will need to establish repeatable and automated processes for how they can find and complete GTIN info. If they don’t start making these changes before the May 16 deadline, then they run the risk of being dropped from Google ads and losing relevancy.

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