The NAXML Guidelines developed by the technology committees of the of National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) have been implemented in a live e-commerce setting by Store24, The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), and Professional Datasolutions, Inc. (PDI). Through its NAXML project, NACS has been is developing XML DTDs and schemas to support electronic business document exchange within the convenience store industry. Several pilot projects have been started to test the NAXML specifications for lottery systems, fuel sales, food service transactions, and other retail activities. The electronic invoicing system recently implemented on a limited scale by Store24 will soon be extended to an additional eighty (80) convenience stores. The technology which increases efficiencies between stores "also benefits vendors, such as The Pepsi Bottling Group, which will be able to eventually incorporate electronic remittance and payment. By processing and reconciling information online, companies can eliminate costs associated with keying in data and cutting and processing checks for payments. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is an international trade association representing over 2,300 retail and 1,700 supplier members."
From the announcement:
"This technology has moved well beyond the proof-of-concept stage and into actual implementation," said Bill Wade, manager of integration service for PDI. "It will significantly lower the barriers for implementation of e-commerce for small to mid-size companies in the convenience store industry." Of the nearly 120,000 convenience stores in the U.S., more than half of them are classified as small businesses in which they are part of a chain of 10 or fewer stores.
Electronic remittance and reconciliation between retailers and their vendors has often been beyond the reach of most small businesses, which have limited resources to support its implementation. Instead, most small businesses rely on traditional paper invoices and proof-of-delivery receipts from vendors.
For large companies, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is preferred for the computer-to-computer exchange of information between companies. However, EDI requires much more in the way of support for retailers using it, including a long learning curve, expensive translators, and a dedicated staff. These requirements put EDI beyond the reach of many small businesses, who need increased efficiencies and reduced costs to compete.
The solution for small businesses is to use a more user-friendly data exchange system -- XML. The NACS-developed XML guidelines, known as NAXML, use a Web-based technology, making the process much more attractive to solution providers that might be hesitant to work with smaller businesses. "In addition, NAXML addresses a broader range of business problems, meaning that we don't have to write new interfaces for each company or situation," said Wade.
- Announcement 2002-01-07: "Convenience Store Industry, NACS Take Lead in Developing Technology Solutions for Small Businesses" [source]
- "NACS XML Data Interchange (NAXML) Supports Back Office and Point-of-Sale Integration." News item September 27, 2001.
- C-Store Central: the NACS web site
- NAXML web site
- Overview: "NACS Convenience Store Industry Technology Standards Project"
- "NACS XML Data Interchange (NAXML)" - Main reference page.