Travel retail industry takes it up a notch: from filling in paper to automation through data pooling and GDSN

Back in 2017, major travel retailer Gebr. Heinemann initiated the pursuit of aligning the travel retail industry across all channels by setting out to get the major players and their suppliers on board in a quest to automate and optimize the industries’ processes.

For too long, unstructured communication between suppliers, retailers and distributors had been leading to fast-rising expenditure and a great deal of headaches. Often brand owners would even have to manually fill in complex forms for each SKU they would submit to the retailer, leaving the margin for human error open-wide. Meanwhile, the FMCG industry had been using data pooling and PIM solutions to exchange standardized product information for more than a decade now, so the duty free industry could not stay behind.

The quest for automation and standardization

By bringing the whole industry together in a focus group called TRDIG – short for Travel Retail Data Innovation Group – Gebr. Heinemann hoped to unite the industry and turn all heads in the same direction. The need for an omni-channel approach was clear. By adding more product attributes, media assets and information, the industry is showing its ambition om enhance the customer experience and strengthening its relation to the customer. Of course, because of stricter regulation on items like food and alcohol and legal requirements demanding standardization, it was clear even within the industry itself that automation was not a nice to have, it’s a pure necessity. Creating streamlined processes and sharing product data in the market was the ultimate goal. Something had to been done.


By 2018 TRDIG’s vision of ‘Defining a standard for the global master data exchange in travel retail with the highest possible degree of automation.” had swept the market by storm. Five major airport retailers (Gebr Heinemann, DFS, Dufry, Lagardère Travel Retail and Kappé) and 90 suppliers were on board to work toward a GS1 data model looking like this:


The data pool has now gone live end of May 2019. The momentum is visible, with a great number of suppliers having already connected and supplying their master data into the GS1 data pool with some even already doing so exclusively. The goal of TRDIG is to have all suppliers in the industry exclusively sharing their master data in an automated way to the data pool. As a supplier of PIM and EDI-software, SRC is following the movements in the travel retail industry closely. We applaud leaders like Gebr. Heinemann who stand up and kickstart initiatives for automation and standardization within an industry. Like no other, PIM changes how a supply chain interacts, automates and functions in order to bring the customer the best experience.

How SRC-PIM can help the travel retail industry reach its goals

Several PIM systems enable you to publish data to GS1. However, SRC-PIM is the only PIM-system in the Netherlands that is fully integrated with GS1 and its data pools. With SRC-PIM you can manage, enrich and publish your data according to GS1. With the build-in validation functionality, you have real-time insight into your data and if it meets the defined requirements.

Curious how this works? Read our free whitepaper and discover how you can manage and publish your data according to the GS1 standard.