Understanding GDSN 

Welcome to the Network

From the outside looking in, GDSN can seem a bit intimidating, but at the end of the day it’s just another pathway for content to flow to your trading partners. 

Whether you are a seasoned GDSN expert or have recently inherited or adopted GDSN synchronization for your organization, this guide will serve as your go-to reference. 

In this article, we’ll provide all of the information needed in order to leverage Salsify’s GDSN data pool to synchronize with your trading partners. 

A Brief History of the GDSN

How the GDSN works

The GDSN is comprised of a network of interconnected Data Pools (like Salsify), along with a GS1 Global Registry. 

Data Sources, such as brand manufacturers, will contract with a Data Pool provider to register their Products in the network and synchronize to their Distribution and Retail partners. Data Recipients, such as retailers, will contract with a data pool to receive synchronized items from their supplier base.


Brand manufacturers sell their products to hundreds of retailers and distributors. Retailers purchase products from thousands of manufacturers. In order to power the shipment of these products across the globe, these trading partners rely on accurate supply chain product data. But with different systems and processes, brands and retailers struggle to exchange complete, correct and consistent data. GDSN was designed to solve this problem.

The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) synchronizes supply chain data between brands and retailers and enables them to exchange trusted product data in real-time to support the movement of products across the global supply chain.

You can leverage GDSN attributes to share logistical, shipping, regulatory, and even e-commerce information securely with retailers. You can sync item information into the data pool with as many valid attributes defined as you want, and the retailer can then sync with those items capturing any subset of an item’s associated attributes.

GS1 & Salsify

As a GS1 Certified GDSN Data pool provider, Salsify is proud to be a committed partner with GS1 in its mission to enable trading partners to globally share trusted product data. GDSN helps in meeting new consumer demand for accurate, complete, and consistent product information.

Data Flow & Hierarchy


GDSN maintains levels of hierarchies, and each level contains separate attributes.  For example, a widget is sold to the consumer with one widget in a package.  There is information for that lowest level of hierarchy: a Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) that identifies that unit, along with other logistical information like packaging, dimensions, and weight and the details the retailer needs to sell that product. 

But that widget is sold to the store in cases with multiple units in the case, and sometimes multiple inner packs inside the case.  So there are separate product values to identify the case and inner cases separately - a GTIN for the case, its weight and dimensions, and a separate set of information for the inner case.  The cases may be sold to the retailer by pallet, and there is another set of information that describes the pallet.

Data Flow

This starts with your internal data. It’s imported to Salsify, where it is stored and transformed to meet the GS1 requirements to send to GDSN. With help from our Customer Success team, you’ll prepare your products to deliver the attributes your retailers require, and transform any data necessary to meet validation requirements.

We will help you set up the retailers you’ll publish data to. When your products are ready, you’ll publish your validated product details through Salsify’s data pool onto your retailers through the GDSN network. Additional retailers will access your product information from your data pool through the same process.

Preparing to Deliver Data to GDSN through Salsify

There are a few steps to get started with GDSN in Salsify. This is a brief overview–you will work with your customer success team who will help you get everything up and running.

Existing Product Content Architecture

The details for each level of hierarchy are stored in Salsify and passed through the GDSN. The Customer Success team will work with you to architect the process to pull your existing data from your ERP to work with GDSN.

Attribute Identification

We will help you define a list of attributes that you and your trading partners need, based on some industry-specific and retailer specific readiness reports and your specific retailers’ needs.

Workflow & Readiness Process

We will work with you to set up processes in Salsify to build any additional attributes that you need to pass through to trading partners that aren’t currently available.

We’ll work with you to map the readiness report with attributes you want to pass through to GDSN and the workflows and readiness report will help you identify and fill gaps in your content.

Trading Partner Identification

You will provide a list of the trading partners and their corresponding GLNs which will be used as the destinations for each publish.

Readiness, Testing & Delivery

We will work with you to map your Salsify properties to the readiness reports, we create and test the connection and get you ready to deliver your information to retailers through GDSN.