GS1 EDI Standards

GS1 manages two standards for the exchange of transactional data; these are EANCOM and GS1 XML. Both are widely used throughout the world by thousands of companies of all sizes in many different sectors. In GS1 standardised EDI messages each product, trading partner and location is identified by a unique GS1 Identification Number. These identification numbers are often represented in barcode symbols, which when scanned create a link between physical goods and locations and the digital information about them.

The Irish Grocery Sector has been using eCom messaging for the past 18years, today 90% of Invoices in the grocery sector are transfered using EDI. EDI is a secure stable proven technology.  The Irish Hardware/DIY Sector has recently completed the successful implementation of a standard EDI Invoice message.  There is huge opportunity and potential for all Irish Industry sectors to increase efficiency, save money and improve their carbon footprint by implementing EDI.

GS1 eCom standards make full use of GS1 Identification Numbers. The most commonly used GS1 Identification Numbers used in EDI are:

  • GTIN (Global Trade Item Number), which identifies all products and services
  • GLN (Global Location Number), which identifies all parties (buyer, seller and any third parties involved in the transaction) and all physical locations
  • SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code), which identifies all logistics units

The use of GS1 Identification Numbers in EDI messages enables the physical flow of goods to be related to the information sent by electronic means.


EANCOM is the traditional standard used in Ireland since 1991 based on UN/EDIFACT (United Nations Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport).  The current recommended version EANCOM 2002, this standard has been named H-EDI in Ireland. This standard is very stable and is widely adopted in the FMCG sector and is growing in DIY/Hardware.


XML, or eXtensible Markup Language, has been specifically designed for information exchange over the internet. GS1 XML standards are not meant to compete with or replace GS1 EANCOM – the GS1 standard for more traditional, VAN-based EDI. GS1 XML standards initially addressed user groups different from those using GS1 EANCOM standards, but now currently both approaches are being used in parallel.

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