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ANSWERS TO POPULAR QUESTIONS

1.1 What is Product Information (PI)?

Product Information (PI) is applied in the marketing of products. Manufacturers use product information structure to exchange information with trading partners, via an electronic format that can be filled with the information about products and brands.

Product information can also be used to effectively and efficiently provide consistent, accurate, and up-to-date information to multiple output media used in trade, such as web sites, print catalogs, ERP systems, and electronic data feeds.

Product information is shared amongst all players on the market: manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.

1.3 What is the “PI-certified” product information initiative (or: PI Standard)?

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.

1.4 By whom was the “PI-certified” product information initiative introduced?

The PI Standard initiative is developed and managed by APPLiA Product Information Working Group (PI WG). The initiators of this organization are direct members of APPLiA Home Appliances Europe. The group meets 3-4 times a year to discuss – among other things – regulatory developments affecting product information. Montly calls complement the meetings.

Current members of the PI-organization are: Arçelik; BSH Hausgeräte GmbH; Candy Group; AB Electrolux; Gorenje; Liebherr; Miele; and Whirlpool.

1.5 What triggered the “PI-certified” product information initiative?

The PI-certified product information initiative is specifically driven by the following abstract goals and concrete objectives:

  • Control and steer the process of how product information is delivered;
  • Enhance product differentiation;
  • Inverse the trend towards commodity;
  • Actively structure the information according to business needs;
  • Ensure a common approach within the appliance industry;
  • Establish a European standard, integrate top retailers;
  • Improved exposure to full product information for consumers;
  • Consumers are better informed in making choice;
  • Allow easy comparability of product features;
  • Improved consumer satisfaction level
  • Better potential for Trade-up.

2.1 Which information is included in the “PI-certified” product information?

The following information is included in the PI Standard:

  • 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.

2.2 Does the PI Standard leave sufficient room for product differentiation?

Yes, the PI Standard has been developed in such a manner that it provides a balance between the requirements of manufacturers and the requirements of retailers.

Manufacturers want as much differentiation as possible; save handling and transaction costs; and cater to a better educated consumer. At the same time, retailers want standardized, easy-to-handle product information; a rapid overview of key features; and in-depth information about a product in order to communicate & sell it.

Thus, the PI Standard combines as much standardized product information as possible, with sufficient room to differentiate between products. Basic information has a higher degree of standardization than energy label information, whereas energy label information has a higher degree of standardization than feature information. Also, marketing/communication information is more flexible in content than feature information, whereas feature information is more flexible in content than energy label information and basic information. Ultimately, basic information is not very flexible in content.

2.3 Which product groups are included in the “PI-certified” product information?

Currently, the PI Standard covers the following 3 main product groups:

  • major domestic appliances: 31 product groups (such as dishwashers, refrigeration appliances, hoods, hobs, washing machines; etc)
  • small domestic appliances: 88 product groups (such as vacuum cleaners, food processor, etc)
  • accessory group: 1 product group (accessories)

2.5 Is it possible to find specific information about individual products in the PI Standard?

No, the product manufacturers or suppliers provide the information about the products. The PI Standard provides the standardized description structures or formats that the manufacturers or suppliers need to provide the product information. Thus, the PI Standard offers the empty template, indicating which information is to be provided and how this information is to be provided. In other words, the PI Standard offers the outline of a picture, but the picture is colored in by the manufacturers.

2.6 In which languages is “PI-certified” product information available?

PI Standard is curently 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. Please note that only the information that will be visible for consumers is translated. Thus, the PI standard structure – including descriptions of how to fill out the structure – is available only in English.

2.7 Will the PI Standard be available in more languages?

It is possible for the PI Standard to be available in any additional language. In general, language availability is linked to the demand from manufacturers or retailers to have the PI Standard offered in a particular language. If there is demand for an additional language version, it is up to the members of the PI-organization to assess and provide a solution to the demand in question. Currently, new languages are under consideration.

3.1 Benefits of using PI Standard

The PI Standard offers a great number of advantages for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.

For manufacturers:

  • being part of a European standard, which integrates top retailers and ensures a common approach to product information within the appliance industry;
  • having a common structure, which can be provided to all trade partners in the most commonly-used formats (txt, csv, and html);
  • saving on handling and transaction costs (being able to control and steer the communication flow towards trade partners; using an up-to-date with current energy products related legislation; bilateral contact with trade partners without interference from third parties; better educated consumers;
  • By joining the “PI-certified” organization, manufacturers are offered the unique opportunity to actively influence the content and processes of the PI Standard, according to your business needs;
  • APPLiA being a member of eCl@ss allows to be a part of eCl@ss developments and its classification standard

For retailers:

  • a common structure
  • a quick and clear overview of a product’s key features, but also having an access to detailed information necessary to communicate and sell the product;
  • having the data up-to-date because, electronically accessible
  • using an electronic format that facilitates a number of applications such as catalogues, Internet pages, kiosk solutions, and info terminals;
  • lower costs as less manual data manipulation will be required;
  • free-of-charge;
  • established communication structure with the retailer’s supply partner;

For consumers:

  • a quick and clear overview of a product’s key features
  • access to detailed and up-to-date information to make an accurate product comparison

3.2 Who can use the PI Standard?

The PI Standard is readily available to all companies, retailers, and individuals interested in product information and its use.

4.1 Where can I obtain the current version of the PI Standard?

All available versions of the PI Standard can be freely downloaded via the feature “PI Standard” on this website.

4.2 In which formats is the PI Standard available?

The PI Standard is available for download in a number of different formats: PDF, XLS, and XML. Based on these formats, other formats can be created.

4.3 PI Standard updates

Depending on factors such as European legislative developments and product innovations, frequent updates to the PI Standard are made available on this website. It is therefore recommended to check this website regularly for news items informing you about the particular updates that have been made.

4.4 Is it needed to download each new version of the PI Standard?

It is highly recommended to use the most recent version to ensure conformity with current European legislation.

4.5 Is it possible to download older versions of the PI Standard?

Yes, you can download older versions of the PI in all available language versions on this website. Please note that it is highly recommended to only use the latest version of the Standard.

4.6 Is it possible to identify the differences between two versions PI Standard?

Yes, it is possible to compare the current version of the PI Standard with previous versions, by downloading one or more of the comparison sheets that can be found in the “PI Standard” feature on this website. The comparison sheets indicate the changes that have been incorporated in the PI Standard over time; you will receive a quick and easy overview of the changes that have occurred in the Standard.

4.7 Which future changes to the PI Standard are currently being developed?

Currently, the PI WG is working on a number of (new) items, which will be available on the PI Certified website soon. New languages as well as product groups are being envisaged for upcoming months.

5.1 Who can I contact with additional questions or comments about the PI Standard or the PI-organization?

You can direct all further questions or comments about all PI Standard to the APPLiA Secretariat via email. This can be done by using the e-mail address that is displayed in the disclaimer of this website.

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PI Standard: A New Standard for Product Information

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