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Standards Make Holiday Shopping Worth Celebrating

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, Americans find themselves in the thick of the holiday shopping season, with its festive decorations, limited-time promotions, and endless commercials. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales reached $563 billion in 2011, up 5.6% from the year before, and a rise in sales is expected this year, too. To reach its full potential, the modern holiday shopping experience relies on voluntary consensus standards.

Most U.S. shoppers have a wide range of retail options just a short drive away, allowing them to pop from store to store in search of bargains and harder-to-find items. However, many of the things sold in these stores have been transported from overseas, and retailers are forced to deal with the inevitable logistical and security complications that result from shipping items between countries. Thankfully, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established an International Standard, ISO 28001:2007, Security management systems for the supply chain - Best practices for implementing supply chain security, assessments and plans - Requirements and guidance, that provides guidance on the effective development and implementation of security processes for international supply chains, including the creation of a supply plan security plan. This standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 8, Ships and marine technology, Subcommittee (SC) 11, Intermodal and Short Sea Shipping. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to SC 11 is ASTM International, an ANSI audited designator.

One major way for shoppers to keep up with holiday promotions and discounts is by examining the printed fliers included by retailers with many newspapers. ISO/IEC 19799:2007, Information technology - Method of measuring gloss uniformity on printed page, a standard developed by ISO / International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, SC 28, Office Equipment, defines methods for measuring objective print quality and judging the gloss uniformity of a printed page, ensuring that printed matter such as fliers share a consistent, glossy look. The ANSI-accredited TAG administrator to SC 28 is the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

In recent years, online shopping has become one of the fastest growing sections of the holiday retail world. According to comScore Inc., a record $35.27 billion was spent online between November 1 and December 26, 2011, an increase of 15% over 2010. However, online shopping has its own technical issues and complications, particularly when it comes to securing shoppers' personal data. One way to protect this valuable information is through the use of public key techniques, which encrypt buyer information, allowing only the retailer to access it. An American National Standard (ANS), IEEE 1363.2-2008, Standard Specifications for Password-Based Public-Key Cryptographic Techniques, sets down useful specifications for public key cryptography, helping to make sure that electronic transactions online are safe and secure. The standard was developed by IEEE, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Standards play an important role in ensuring that holiday shopping is safe, secure, and efficient, making it just a little bit easier for shoppers to find the perfect presents for the important people in their lives.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]