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What is product classification?

Product classification is simply a logical, unambiguous classification (taxonomy) of products in different product classes (categories), designed so that anyone within the sector can communicate about those products without misunderstandings. The ETIM model gives a listing of the most important technical characteristics of each product class to describe and find the products. Each class has several synonyms, thereby finding the right product is much easier for everyone!

Use of classification

Uniform product classification in itself is not a final product as it is. The product classification is also not a software application, product database, product generator or search engine. Those are applications that use the article classification as a basis. The product classification offers the structure for standardised product data that you can exchange in a uniform way via the communication standards and which can be used in numerous applications.


With the gradual growth of acceptance of product classification, it is remarkable how trading companies hesitate to participate out of fear of price comparison. They are afraid that the transparency of product information makes it easier to compare product prices. This does contain a grain of truth. On the other hand, this is already possible with current technology and the product price is of course only one of the many selection criteria for a customer. Aspects such as quality, delivery reliability, logistical performance and supplier expertise also play an important role for a customer. A supplier that is capable of providing product information electronically has the preference, because it saves the parties a lot of time and therefore also money.

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