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Peapod Develops Free Database

SKOKIE, Ill. — Peapod here, Ahold USA's online grocery division, is building a database of product images and information that it is making available to retailers and application developers for free.

"We're trying to create a standard so everybody can be consistent," said John Burchard, senior vice president and chief information officer for Peapod, at the U Connect Live conference this month.

The database, called ItemMaster, currently contains about 4,500 items. It includes UPC codes, descriptions, nutritional and ingredient data, dimensions and weights, among other data. For its own database,

Peapod supplements the ItemMaster information with third-party data. Peapod is getting product data and images for ItemMaster directly from manufacturers. "Manufacturers can load their information into ItemMaster for free," said Burchard. "If it's not high quality, we do the image capture and data collecting for $150 per SKU." Peapod adds about 200 items per week to the database, which can also accommodate private label items. ItemMaster "is a cost savings for us," he said.

This week, SA2 Worldsync, a data pool supporting the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), announced that it was partnering with ItemMaster to provide SA2 Worldsync's manufacturer customers in the US a service for capturing images and data for their consumer products. The data will be integrated into the GDSN and accessible to all retailers subscribing to the GDSN.