Electronic Data Interchange – EDI

Main Applications of EDI in the Retail Sector

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a crucial tool for the retail and distribution sector. This system enables the automated exchange of business documents, such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notices, in a standardized electronic format. This not only streamlines communication but also offers numerous other advantages, such as cost reduction, inventory control, and improved demand forecasting.

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Main Applications of EDI in the Retail Sector

The retail sector can be divided into various areas based on different variables taken into account. However, from an EDI perspective, there are commonalities in the following areas:


Food Sector

In the food sector, EDI development has been swift due to the need to automate processes to reduce shelf restocking times. Major organized distributors and along with large food producers have been the main drivers of EDI implementation. The most common messages in the food sector include:

  • Purchase Order
  • Order Confirmation
  • Shipping Notice
  • Invoice


Non-Food Sector

The non-food sector has leveraged the benefits of EDI, extending its use across nearly all subsectors: fashion, sports, pets, DIY, electronics, and more.

Unlike the food sector, the non-food sector deals with various commercial flows beyond mere goods delivery (such as consignments or specific e-commerce flows, among many others), leading to additional common messages, including:

  • Catalog and Prices
  • Sales Report
  • Inventory Report
  • Returns
  • Return Instructions
  • Payment Notice



Although the fashion sector falls under the non-food category, it was one of the pioneers in the widespread adoption of EDI.

Fashion companies manufacture products for a global market and need to be able to exchange common business documents like orders, delivery notes, and invoices, in different formats. Therefore, EDI is the primary communication method with retailers. Establishing synergies with various trading partners is essential.

  • Integration between different business applications (WMS, e-commerce, 3PL, etc.) is crucial for growth.
  • Data analysis of the available data can pave a way to success:, from global KPIs of exchanged messages to specific message details like a sales report (SLSRPT within the EDIFACT standard).


Advantages of Using EDI in the Retail sector

  • Efficiency: Compared to traditional document exchange.
  • Standardization: Both in document formats and transmission channels.
  • Error Reduction: In both content and manual data entry.
  • Prevents Delays: In payments to suppliers through automated accounts payable.
  • Fraud Prevention: By avoiding receipt of fraudulent invoices through conventional means.
  • Legal Compliance: In receiving invoices according to various international legislations.
  • Precise Accounting: Electronic management eliminates incorrect or lost invoices.
  • Cost Savings: Compared to manual processing and archiving.


How to Efficiently Implement an EDI Project in the Retail Sector

A complex sector like retail requires adopting all necessary measures to ensure a successful project. We recommend:

  • Using a centralized communication platform.
  • Integrating and automating 100% of your messages via EDI.
  • Integrating all your management systems.
  • Using structured canonical files.

EDICOM Global Platform for the Retail Sector

EDICOM offers a comprehensive global EDI platform meeting the demands of the most demanding retailers. This platform provides the technology needed to implement advanced communication projects in any sector, including retail.

Notable features include:

  • Global EDI B2B service provider: Specialists in EDI solutions, developing our own EDI technology without relying on third-parties.
  • SaaS Software: Our cloud-based solutions free up company resources, infrastructure, and hardware so they can focus on other key areas.
  • Multi-standard platform: Capable of managing documents in any EDI standard, such as EDIFACT, X12, UBL, TRADACOM, XML.
  • Guaranteed availability: 24-hour availability with 99.9% uptime as defined by EDICOM's SLA with all clients.
  • Connectivity with major retailers: Our EDI software is widely used by major retailers and other companies worldwide.
  • Global EDI Compliance: Our solution ensures full compliance with standards required by major retailers and tax authorities worldwide.

Need to Connect with Major Retailers Globally?

EDI has become an indispensable technology in the retail sector, enabling companies to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. With ongoing technological advancements and the growing adoption of cloud-based solutions, the use of EDI in the retail sector will continue to expand, providing companies with a competitive edge in an increasingly digital and globalized market.

Start your project with EDICOM today

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