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EDI has a great potential in the retail industry as there are numerous companies who still focus on paper based transactions. EDI in the retail industry allows organizations to electronically exchange business documents such as Purchase Orders, Invoices, Shipping Statuses, Customs Information, Inventory Documents and Payment Confirmations in an established standard.

EDI Document Standards used in the Retail Industry:

There are a number of key EDI document standards used within the Retail Industry.


This EDI standard was highly adopted in the UK retail industry. It was introduced in 1982 and it was discontinued in 1995 in favour of the GS1 EDI EANCOM subsets but majority of the retail EDI traffic in the UK still never stops to use it.

Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association:

VICS primarily worked to increase the efficiency and effectiveness in the retail supply chain. VICS was the first to develop the QR standard which focuses on easing the flow of process in terms of product and information for suppliers and retailers. 


eCOM is also termed as GS1. GS1 is the electronic interchange of agreed business data between trading partners. eCOM GS1 is a set of standards that meets the common standards in the supply chain, which is perfect for retail. The benefits of eCOM are it lowers processing cost, increases accuracy, increases customer satisfaction, reduces inventory and reduces out of stock situations.

Benefits of Retail EDI:

An EDI implementation in the retail industry offers many benefits. EDI helps in automating processes. It improves efficiency and accuracy of inventory, increases inventory visibility and enhances customer service by digitizing the order processing. Using EDI, supply chain management can be benefited with exact & traceable information.

The key benefits are explained below:

Minimizes Manual Processes:

The biggest advantage of implementing EDI in retail is that it reduces the need for manual processing. With EDI solutions, key information can  be sent automatically and electronically, ensuring data accuracy before transmission. Using an EDI solution for retail instead of relying on staff can save a lot of time, reducing the burden of internal resources.

Improved Inventory Management:

EDI provides retailers the convenience of being able to send and receive data about orders, customs documents, invoices and much more. This is generally managed by automated processes resulting in increased efficiencies and minimized errors. If retailers wish to use EDI to their full potential, they can go ahead in linking EDI with automated decision-making processes. By implementing EDI in inventory management, it is possible to gain increased efficiencies with automated data driven decisions 

Increase Sales with Drop-Shipping:

Drop-shipping is a process of providing goods directly from manufacturers to retailers or customers. It is efficient for online retailers to achieve success. With an effective EDI system, the retailer allows suppliers to stock products with these capabilities without physically stocking the products in house. If a retailer uses a drop-ship system, their online store information will be linked to the supplier’s inventory, hence when a customer places an order to the retailer, the supplier will ship the product directly to the customer without the retailer’s physical intervention. All this can happen with an effective EDI system.

In Finding Genuine Suppliers:

EDI provides knowledge for retailers who can easily see which suppliers deliver goods quickly and who doesn’t. They will be able to identify which supplier delivers orders in a fast and accurate way. Retailers can make changes if a certain supplier does not deliver it correctly. This type of analysis can be rectified in a short span with an effective EDI system.

With an effective EDI infrastructure, retailers can be benefited in numerous ways according to their business needs. 

SMI offers EDI solutions enabling the retailers to achieve consistent, end to end EDI integration. Our EDI solutions offer you the flexibility and the ability to manage the entire business management, business partners and customers seamlessly. 


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