Congrats! A major retailer wants to carry your product! That spells distribution, brand awareness, revenue and…
Testing. Specifically, EDI testing.
As you likely know, virtually all retailers require EDI compliance from their suppliers. It’s how they ensure that elements of the relationship are economically viable. Timeliness. Accuracy. Predictability.
Need to study up on what EDI is? Check out our EDI 101 Primer.
What is EDI Testing?
EDI testing is essentially a series of dry runs. Your retail partner needs to know that when they order your products, they’ll arrive on time, at the right location and exactly as requested. They want a seamless, error-free process.
There are two primary types of EDI testing: general document testing and GS1-128 label testing. (Some retailers will also deploy something they call parallel testing that requires suppliers to utilize paper invoices and EDI documents before they can go EDI-only.)
Whatever the test type, passing is required. You either do or you don’t.
In practice, retailers will throw different scenarios at you. A canceled order. A shipment split between a distribution center and a store. A return. A dropship item with a mismatched packing slip. Some retailers will even use the services of an outside provider to specifically test labels.
At eZCom, we’ve been in the EDI game for over 20 years. We’ve seen it all and have helped thousands of suppliers pass even the toughest EDI tests.
Is it possible to avoid EDI testing?
Sometimes. Retailers (especially the large ones) are familiar with the major EDI providers. If a supplier is using an EDI platform that their retail partner knows and is comfortable with, they might skip or shorten the testing stage.
Pro Tip: If you’re new to EDI, the possibility of getting to skip the testing phase with a potential retail partner should not factor heavily (or at all) in your decision-making process. You want to develop a long-term relationship that makes EDI easy, so choose the provider that gives you the most confidence. If they’re good, they’ll have no trouble handling the testing component. (For what it’s worth, though, hundreds of retailers—from Amazon to Zulily—know us well.)
If a retailer uses a third party testing provider, are we required to use the same platform for actual EDI transactions?
Absolutely not. Despite what some third party testers might tell you, there is no obligation for you to use the EDI platform you tested with.
How long does it take to complete EDI testing?
Generally, it takes about one day to a week to complete EDI testing. Of course, that’s assuming the process goes well. It is, after all, a test.
Choose the right EDI provider
The reality is that EDI testing is simply part of doing business with major retailers. If you have a new trading partner or are launching a new product, you will inevitably face it. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Choose the right EDI provider and you can be confident you’ll earn a passing grade.