XML-Based Price Schemas for Public Review
New ARTS, IXRetail XML-Based Price Schemas Ready For Public Review and Pilot Retailer Implementation
New York, NY, USA. January 14, 2002.
The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) and IXRetail today announced their XML-based price schemas are available for public review and input from retailers. The price schemas are also now available for a pilot implementation by a leading multi-channel merchant. Longs Drugs, one of the top 10 drug store chains in the country with over 400 stores, will begin piloting the schemas in the first quarter of 2002. The retailer expects XML to be a critical aspect of future integration flexibility and is hoping to lead the way for other retailers with early adoption of the standard.
The schemas, which are part of a comprehensive XML data model being developed by ARTS, are designed to allow retailers to deliver consistent and accurate real-time pricing information to virtually any requesting device -- including hand held units, web sites, phones, and kiosks. The schemas will establish a means of standard data exchange among devices within an enterprise, and will also enable seamless communication among other retailers and vendors who use the standard.
Longs Drugs feels that adoption of the XML pricing standard could make their current efforts to migrate back-end price servers much more manageable. The piloted price schemas will allow Longs to swap price servers without spending valuable time and resources on systems integration.
"We're going through significant systems changes right now, and we're determined that it will be the last time that a process like this is complicated by a multitude of proprietary structures and interfaces," said Brian Kilcourse, CIO for Longs Drugs. "We're totally committed to the ARTS Data Model in this next generation."
Longs will pilot the recommended pricing standards as part of a migration toward a new in-store database strategy based on the ARTS Data Model. Longs is a longtime user of AccessVia's sign-making software and will now expand the use of AccessVia Print to fully automate in-store sign production and integrate the use of hand held devices. AccessVia technologies rely on ARTS-standard XML messages to communicate price information to a variety of devices.
"We're very pleased to have Longs helping us validate and improve the work of IXRetail," said Dean A. Sleeper, CEO of AccessVia and Chair of the IXRetail Price Working Group. "The results of the pilot will shape future iterations of the IXRetail standards, and the true benefit of standards comes through adaptation, with each successive implementation adding value."
The price schemas being piloted are based on the ARTS Data Model and use the ARTS XML Data Dictionary of more than 3,000 standard XML data tags, definitions and codes. Retailers using the standard price schemas can increase interoperability, reduce integration costs, and facilitate e-commerce functions among trading partners and customers because XML provides a platform-independent, vendor-neutral way of exchanging data. Accuracy and real-time price availability are the advantageous results of this unprecedented level of systems interoperability.
Using the schemas, a retailer can easily connect new devices -- including registers, price checkers, kiosks, and employee hand helds -- to existing price servers. In addition, they can implement new price servers without reintegrating the systems feeding those servers, or the devices performing price lookups. In this way, retailers can streamline price management across the enterprise and establish strategic control of prices across all channels.
"We print thousands of customer-facing labels and signs, and every item needs to have the right price," said Michael Crahan, POS Manager for Longs. "By implementing the price lookup via IXRetail standards, we can continue our systems migration without disrupting all of the hard work we've done to make sure the labels and signs have accurate pricing. We can switch price servers underneath the print applications and know that the transition will be seamless."
The pilot program will provide the IXRetail Price Working Group with valuable feedback. The IXRetail standards are maintained and refined through constant input from implementations. In this way, retailers can benefit from the experience of enterprises that use the schemas.
"We're excited to be involved at this stage because we have confidence that if we experience limitations with the schemas, we can influence the release version of the standard," noted Crahan.
"We have already seen tremendous benefits from XML in our e-retailing initiatives, and we expect IXRetail to give us even more leverage from our ARTS membership," emphasized Longs' CIO, Kilcourse. "We feel strongly that participation in the pilot and adoption of the ARTS standard will produce significant rewards for Longs in the future."
ARTS and the IXRetail Price Working Group invite those interested in providing comment on the XML-based price schemas to download the specification from the ARTS web site at www.nrf-arts.org, under the "What's New" menu option.
The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS), a division of the National Retail Federation, is a retailer-driven membership organization dedicated to creating an international, barrier-free technology environment for retailers. ARTS was established in 1993 to ensure that technology works to enhance a retailer's ability to develop store level business solutions and avoid situations that limit a retailers' ability to implement change while providing industry standards designed to provide greater value at lower costs. For more information about ARTS and how to become a member, visit www.nrf-arts.org.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world's largest retail trade association with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet and independent stores. NRF members represent an industry that encompasses more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, employs more than 20 million people -- about 1 in 5 American workers -- and registered 2000 sales of $3.4 trillion. NRF's international members operate stores in more than 50 nations. In its role as the retail industry's umbrella group, NRF also represents 32 national and 50 state associations in the U.S. as well as 36 international associations representing retailers abroad.
For more information about NRF, visit www.nrf.com.
National Retail Federation