PCdb Description Types

PCdb Description Types

PCdb Description Types

The following explanations are taken from the Auto Care Whitepaper: DEMYSTIFYING THE PRODUCT INFORMATION EXCHANGE STANDARD Volume 6: The Description Segment – Definitions and Uses of the Description Codes.

The PIES description segment provides 15 unique opportunities to provide several types of product content to your customers. In some scenarios, all of these opportunities may not directly relate to your
products (such as VMRS Descriptions and UNSPC Descriptions); however, it is best to utilize as many of these opportunities as possible.

Choosing to utilize each of these descriptions to their fullest extent allows your wholesalers and retailers to select the content that best serves their needs in distributing and supporting your products.

ABR (12 Characters) Product Description - Abbreviated

An abbreviated version of the product description, which is typically used and shared between business systems. Alternatively, some additional uses include the ‘categorization’ of similar products without using a Product Line Code. The following represent simple examples of abbreviated product descriptions. You may want to consider consulting with your trading partners as to their intended use of Abbreviated descriptions.

  1. "WINMTR" (Window Motor)
  2. "FOGLMP" (Fog Lamp)
  3. "DRLOCK" (Door Lock)
DO NOT Create abbreviated Product Descriptions, which simply ‘truncate’ a longer description.

SHO (20 Characters) Product Description - Short

A short, concise description of the product described at a "simple" level. Typical Short Description use is on the ITEM MASTER record on business systems, providing the user with a basic description of the product.

  1. "Alternator"
  2. "Water Pump"
  3. "Spark Plug"
Best Practice - The Short Description should not be utilized to deliver a brand name, product attributes, qualifiers that segment the product, or descriptive text, as these types of descriptions have better suited established elements for delivery.

Some examples of incorrect short descriptions usage would be:
  • "90 Amp Alternator"
  • "High Flow Water Pump"
  • "Pre Gapped Spark Plug"

INV (40 Characters) Product Description - Invoice

A description used to describe the product for use in a receipt/invoice. This description shows up in the resellers’ Point of Sale system and is also used by the system's operators to qualify products.

Best Practice - A good invoice description should provide as much detail as possible within the character limits to accurately identify/qualify/confirm the product quickly. Idealistically, this description should be similar to a combination of the (SHO) short and (DES) product descriptions and, in some cases, the brand name.

  • "AC Delco Alternator 90 Amp"
  • "Holley Water Pump High Flow"
  • " NGK Spark Plug Pre Gapped" 

DEF (80 Characters) Auto Care Association Part Type Description

Used to relay the Part Terminology Name from the Auto Care Association Product Configuration Database (PCdb). While conveying the Part Terminology ID from the PCdb with an item is typical, it is
less common to send the DEF description. This is generally because all trading partners likely use the Auto Care Association PCdb, and can de-code the PCdb code. However, in some circumstances, with
large-scale retailers using other standards, the Auto Care Association Part Type Description can help better categorize the product for their cataloging purposes.

  • "Center Console"
  • "Door Lock Cylinder"
  • "Seat Belt" 

ASC (2000 Characters) Associated Comments

A description used to provide additional comments on the product that may not be suitable for delivery within the other predetermined description elements. This "open palette" can be used to convey comments such as minor product changes or manufacturing anomalies in the product that have no impact on the product's overall application, function, or attribute. This description can also be used to ensure the customer that the product is not blemished or damaged.

  • "Color shade may vary."
  • "Products may have rounded corners."
  • "Some units may have a plastic or steel cover." 

KEY (2000 Characters) Key Search Words

A description used to provide a list of product-specific keywords and/or phrases that have a great significance to the product. These phrases do not always directly refer to or define the actual product but can sometimes relate it to other things like the product's action, commonly related accessory, or even the product's use/purpose. 

These provided keywords can ultimately be harnessed or leveraged both internally (inventory and point of sales systems) as well as externally (Web Sites and Search Engine Marketing) by your PIES recipients to assist with finding, sorting, and recommending your products quickly.


Description: "Windshield Wiper Blade"

  • Replacement Blade
  • Window Blade
  • Wiper Arm
  • Bug Remover
  • Wiper Refill
Best Practice - It is strongly recommended that multiple keywords are separated by a comma or semicolon delimiter to avoid misinterpretation of the data. In addition, the keyword description should be expected to evolve, adding new ones as they are found/recommended, as well as occasional reviews to better "fine-tune" the keyword accuracy. 

LAB (80 Characters) Label Description

This description conveys a recommended label name to distributors and retailers to help quickly identify the storage locations of products. It is acceptable to include brand or trademark names in this description if it will assist in organizing similar products.

  • "Vandelay (TM) Valve Springs"
  • "Vandelay 2 (TM) Valve Springs"
  • "Vandelay PRO(TM) Valve Springs" 

DES (80 Characters) Product Description - Long

This description is used to convey the product’s primary selling attributes or features. When this description is used in conjunction with a provided short description, it produces a distinctive product description that will quickly differentiate between similar products.

  • "90 Amps, Internally Regulated."
  • "High Flow"
  • "0.45 Pre-Gapped"
Best Practice - It is recommended that a comma or semi-colon delimiter be used if sending more than a single detail to avoid confusion in the information being relayed. Although 80 characters are available, only "High Level" product attributes or features should be conveyed; additional attributes and features should be delivered using the "EXT" Extended product description.

Specific marketing-related Features and Benefits for product lines or brands should be sent using the Market Copy segment ‘FAB’ code. More on this can be seen in the companion Whitepaper, “Using PIES Rich Content, and other Market Copy.”

Note - Common incorrect usages include providing brand names, trademarked names, installation instructions, or supplementary product notes. These types of content should be delivered through their established PIES elements. 

SHP (2000 Characters) Shipping Restrictions

This description is used to convey shipping instructions, notes, and warnings that are specific or unique to the shipment of that part number, regardless of whether the part is shipped individually or in bulk. Proper use of this description should convey notes identifying limitations in shipping destinations, shipping climate warnings, additional equipment needed for handling/delivery, pallet stacking heights, etc.

  • "Prohibited for airplane transport."
  • "Truck delivery requires a forklift to unload."
  • "Maximum safe stacking height of three pallets."
  • "Requires refrigerated transport in warm climate states."
Note - Typical incorrect usage includes - notes on additional delivery fees, declaration of emissions eligibility in certain states, boxing/packaging (Height, Width, Length, Weight), etc. These types of content have established delivery methods in other PIES elements. 

SLA (2000 Characters) Slang Description

This description provides popular or common slang terminology that may be used to describe the product or the usage for the product. 


Description: "Trunk Lid Lift Support"

  • "Trunk shocks"
  • "Trunk supports"
  • "Trunk struts" 
Best Practice - Slang terminology for products can constantly grow and evolve, as well as varying from state to state or even country to country. With that in mind, this description can and should be continually updated, growing as terms are found. 

UNS (80 Characters) UN/SPSC Description

The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a coding convention created for the international classification of products and services for Import and export. The correct usage for this would be to utilize this description to deliver the established UN/SPSC Description for the relevant UN/SPSC Code sent in the ITEM Segment (B63).


The UN/SPSC code "25172707" is used in the ITEM Segment to categorize the item. The corresponding UNS Description used to declare the product is "Vehicle Headlight." 

VMR (80 Characters) VMRS Description

The VMRS (Vehicle Maintenance Reporting System) code is used primarily in the Heavy Duty truck service industry. It is a series of established principles that describe virtually every facet of the maintenance operation, from parts to manufacturers to technician work to vehicle location. This code system is used primarily in the Heavy Duty truck service industry.

The correct usage in the description would be to deliver the VMRS established description for the VMRS code conveyed in (B65) of the ITEM segment.

  • "013010194" is used in the ITEM segment to identify the VMRS code relevant to the part. THE corresponding VMRS description would be "Switch - Low Air Pressure."

ASM (2000 Characters) Application Summary

The ASM attribute enables users to summarize the vehicle fitments or applications that the product will fit. This is different from what is delivered in the ACES specification because it is textual, summary information only. 

Best Practice It is best to provide a condensed summary of vehicle fitment, using commas or semicolons as delimiters between records.

  • "1995 thru 2002 Pontiac Trans Am",
  • "1987 and later Chevrolet 350 Engines"
Note - Although this description can accommodate 2000 characters, it is not intended as a substitute for ACES application data but to provide a quick and easy reference of fitment coverage. 

EXT (240 Characters) Product Description - Extended

The Extended Product Description was developed to deliver a further "in-depth" level of the product description, conveying additional "lower-level" product attributes and features that may not have been delivered before the (DES) "higher-Level" of product description.

Since the EXT and MKT Descriptions development, the PIES standard has been expanded to deliver Form, Fit, Function, and Performance – specific attributes through the Attribute segment, in conjunction with the Product Attribute Database (PAdb), a new library of industry-standard attributes. Common past practice was to deliver specific attributes in the EXT and MKT descriptions and delimit statements using semicolons. The present ‘Best Use’ of both the EXT and MKT attributes is to provide ‘publishable’ paragraphs which summarize, in plain language, the key features of a product. 

  • "All hardware included for installation. Self-lubricating sealed hinges ensure easier movement. Marine-grade vinyl is weather resistant and UV resistant. Storage dock holds up to 7-inch display." 
Best Practice - The PIES description segment provides the ability to "loop" data elements in your XML delivery. This feature allows delivering multiple renditions of the element and provides additional character space for larger description deliveries. Suppose looping is being considered for a large-sized description delivery for the Extended Product Content. In that case, special consideration should be made to incorporate the description in its whole context within the larger (MKT) Marketing Description element.

MKT (2000 Characters) Marketing Description

The Marketing description is used to deliver product-specific supporting descriptive content that has been catered to the end consumer. This can be used to provide higher and more robust levels of marketing content such as manufacturing technique, product history, product features and benefits, consumer reviews, or any other supporting product marketing content. The inclusion of "personal" content about the Manufacturers's history or foundings should be avoided as this type of content has an established delivery methods in other PIES elements delivered in the Market Copy Segment. 

Best Practice - Careful attention to the marketing copy should be made to remove references pertaining to specific pricing, competitive retailers, or other details that may insinuate the actions of the retailer. 

Example Phrases:
  • "Quality Products Priced Right"
  • "100% Guarantee Or Your Money Back" 
Phrases to AVOID:
  • "The Best Alternator For Less Than 100 Dollars"
  • "Now available at 123 Auto Parts and ABC Automotive"

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