PI-Certified Product Information by APPLiA Home Appliance Europe
The Internet and the rapid development of electronic communication are fundamentally changing how products and services are offered, bought, and sold. The Internet is fuelling the growth of electronic business and is driving all members of the supply chain to adjust their ways of trading. To respond to these developments, the retail industry requires more and more information in electronic format.
Consequently, European manufacturers of household appliances, represented by APPLiA, have set up the “PI-Certified” Product Information Standard initiative. The initiative helps manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to take full advantage of modern developments in electronic communication and data processing.
More information on the “PI-Certified” Standard can be found in the FAQ, as well as a general presentation on the PI Standard which is available for download at the bottom of this page.
Why was the PI-certified initiative developed?
In addition, European and national authorities demand that manufacturers provide a wide range of data about the energy and safety characteristics of products. To provide this data in electronic form would allow considerable cost savings as compared to traditional data transmission.
Finally, third-party companies are offering product information in different individual formats. Manufacturers risk losing control over the development of such different formats and standards, and over the information that is presented in them. In addition, specific items for individual trade partners are not included.
As the volume of electronic commerce increases, powerful search features, cross-channel inventory access, and detailed content will be required – all of which necessitate strong industry-wide agreements as regards common formats, processes, content, and system interfaces. Therefore, European domestic appliances manufacturers have developed a common industry-wide standard for exchanging information about their products.
Objectives and goals The PI-certified product information initiative is specifically driven by the following objectives and goals:
Establish a common European standard, with integrated top retailers;
Ensure a common approach within the appliance industry to product information;
A better opportunity to differentiate between products, brands, and manufacturers;
Improved exposure to full product information for consumers;
Consumers are better informed in making a product choice;
Improved consumer satisfaction levels;
Better potential for a trade-up.
The PI-Certified Philosophy
The “PI-certified” product information initiative stands for a communized Standard, for supplying trade partners with product information electronically, yet still recognizing the requirements for clear marketing differentiation.
The PI Standard is thus used by manufacturers to exchange information with trade partners via an electronic format, allowing everybody to speak the same language and to make comparisons between different products easy and accessible. The PI Standard is shared amongst all players on the market: manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
What are the advantages for trade/retailers?
With the “PI-certified” product information initiative, the p-organization created an approach that leaves enough room for product differentiation, but still addresses the demands of the trade for as much standardization as possible. As a result, the PI Standard delivers:
One structure across all manufacturer brands
Many pieces of information are needed to describe a product. Today, the data sheets bearing such information are usually very different depending on the brand. It is a major step forward that European manufacturers of household appliances have agreed to use one standardised format for supplying product information electronically to retailers. The format is available for download on this website, under the feature “PI Standard”. The product information itself is directly provided by the PI-certified companies.
There is no need to look elsewhere, as each retailer will receive the format for the full set of data that is provided by to them by the p-certified companies. This includes basic (technical) information, energy label information, features, and marketing information.
Manufacturers in the p-organization are committed to providing their trade partners with correct information, accurate both in terms of “technical” details (i.e. which complies with the “PI-certified” agreements) and “content” details (i.e. the actual specifications).
Free of charge
Both the “PI-certified” product information format and the product information are provided free of charge. This is part of the overall business package offered by the brands/manufacturers.
Direct contact with your “PI-certified” manufacturer
Trade partners will continue to receive their product information directly from the brands where they also order the appliances. There will be no third party involvement. Manufacturers drive the process to ensure that brand specific values are communicated. This ensures that each trade partner can directly access information about his individual product range.
Some additional services:
The web-site of each manufacturer will use the same search engine for all participating brands. Thus, in the future a retailer will only need to be familiar with one way of accessing information.
Manufacturers have agreed on a basic lay-out that in particular sets out product features and marketing information. This allows users to access and compare information faster.
Electronic availability over the Internet is easier to implement
It will be easier for manufacturers to make their product information available over the Internet. At the other end, retailers will be able to access product information 24 hours a day – 7 days a week.
How can you take advantage of the Certified Product Information?
The PI Standard offers certain advantages for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
You will be part of a European standard, which integrates top retailers and ensures a common approach to product information within the appliance industry;
“PI-compliant” information will have a common structure, which can be provided to all trade partners in the most commonly-used formats (ascii, txt, csv, and html);
You will save handling and transaction costs;
You will be able to control and steer the communication flow towards trade partners, making sure they know exactly what they need to know about your products;
This also gives you a better opportunity to differentiate;
Because “PI-compliant” information is up-to-date with current legislation (for example concerning Eco-design and energy labeling), you can be certain that your products are always compliant;
By joining the “PI-certified” organization, you will be able to actively determine the content and process of the PI Standard, according to your business needs;
You will keep bi-lateral contact with your trade partners without interference from third parties;
You will cater to better educated consumers.
“PI-compliant” information will have a common structure, and the majority of manufacturers will provide this information in the most commonly-used formats (ascii, txt, csv, and html);
You will have a quick and clear overview of a product’s key features, but you will also have access to detailed information necessary to communicate and sell the product;
Your data will be more up-to-date because you can quickly and and easily access the latest product information, electronically;
Product information in electronic format will facilitate a number of applications such as catalogues, Internet pages, kiosk solutions, and info terminals;
Lower costs as less manual data manipulation will be required;
The product information is free-of-charge;
The established communication structure with the retailer’s supply partner will be retained. Product information will be provided by the brand/manufacturer directly, to enable specific access to programme segments for individual trade-partners.
You will have a quick and clear overview of a product’s key features, but you will also have access to detailed and up-to-date information that may be necessary to make an accurate product comparison and a well-considered choice to eventually buy a particular product – even if this information is delivered by multiple retailers or manufacturers.
Product Groups, Product Information, and Languages
Currently, the PI Standard offers “PI-Certified Information” on product groups that fall into the categories of “Small Domestic Appliances” such as coffee machines and food processors, and “Major Domestic Appliances” such as dishwashers and cookers.
Nature of Information Available
For the above mentioned product groups, the following “PI-Certified Information” is included:
Basic Information: this includes for example the product brand name, EAN-codes, article number, voltage, color, measurements, and weight;
Energy Label Information: this includes for example the energy efficiency class, energy consumption, performance, water consumption, and noise;
Features: this includes for example wash options, materials, and control options;
Marketing Information/Communication: this includes for example logo fields, product images, and USP fields.
“PI-Certified Information” is currently available in the following 14 languages: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek (up to version 14.0), Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish. New languages will be provided in near future.