A drive for industry-wide standards of data exchange with Australian retail operators has resonated globally and resulted in a worldwide effort to make exchanging information with online marketplaces easier.
The project, spearheaded by Dick Smith CIO Paul Keen, reared its head midway through this year.
At the time, Keen was hoping to get fellow local retailers to sign up to agreed standards for sharing data with the likes of eBay and Catch of the Day so as to remove the headache involved in catering to numerous different formats.
He got the National Online Retailers Association (NORA) onboard to take the reins of the project and lead the build of the industry schema, and gained the backing of Woolworths, eBay, Metcash, Speciality Fashion Group, ParcelPoint, Super Retail, Australia Post and Temando.
But the project's targeting of a notorious pain point in online retail triggered a global response, with international standards body GS1 putting its hand up to nut out a worldwide approach.
GS1 and NORA will work together to define the open source API standards, which will enable merchants to set up a presence on a marketplace like eBay and Amazon easily and quickly.
The standards will roll out first to Australia within 12 months and globally down the track.
The groups are planning to create standards in six areas: product information; pricing file; purchase order; invoices; inventory; and status update notification (for packing and shipping etc).
First in line will be an agreed standard for inventory.
Dick Smith and Westfield have agreed to be the guinea pigs for the inventory feed standard.
The retailer is a part of the Westfield's 'searchable mall', and the pair will work on ways to provide real-time inventory for shoppers.