Rival retail exchanges working on common standards

By 2003, two competing retail industry marketplaces plan to push their catalog providers to use a common set of data standards.

The GlobalNetXchange LLC in San Francisco and the Worldwide Retail Exchange LLC in Alexandria, Va., last week announced a joint initiative under which 12,000 global manufacturers will look to migrate to Global Commerce Initiative (GCI) standards by 2003.

The GCI is a voluntary body of manufacturing and retail companies committed to implementing new e-commerce standards in their industries. The retail exchanges surveyed the content providers, business-to-business catalogs and local standards organizations that pool data for the manufacturers and found that those groups are already migrating toward XML messaging, GCI's flavor of XML data schema and GCI-defined publication and subscription capabilities.

Bharat Popat, vice president of product development at GNX, believes that ordering and payment using the common standards will begin to take off by late next year.

While he said he's aware of cross-industry e-commerce standardization efforts, Popat deemed that a secondary pursuit to this work.

"It's challenge enough to make sure we get the right standards working in our own vertical industry," he said.

GartnerG2 analyst Gale Daikoku said retail exchanges "are having a tough time getting members to adopt services, so the broader they can make the standards, the better."

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