Which product master data do I need for cross-border eCommerce to Switzerland?

In this article, you will learn why good product data is important, what product data is needed and what it should look like.

Why is good product data important for international eCommerce?

From the retailer's point of view, there are two reasons for good product data:

  1. The retailer has an interest in using good product master data to automate various marketing activities such as the product feed in his shop, play out advertisements, feed affiliates, etc.
  2. A retailer who wants to sell their products in countries with a customs border must have correct and high-quality data at hand in order to be able to export and import the goods. The data requirements can vary depending on the destination country.

If data is missing or of poor quality, consignments can be blocked by both the export customs EU and the import customs in Switzerland. On the one hand, this involves additional administrative work and costs as well as sometimes significant delays in delivery - you and your customers will not be happy.

These product data are mandatory for export to Switzerland

Datapoint Background Example
Product description
  • Language: A German product description is mandatory for DE customs.
  • Content: The product description must enable a customs officer to clearly identify a product. Ergo, it must be precise and sufficiently comprehensive.
This is about the standard product description which can be found in the backend - for example:

"Lewis Jeans, black, slim fit, size 33/36".
Article weight data The Gross AND net weight of the item must be transmitted urgently to Swiss customs. The net item weight must be less than the gross item weight. If the net item weight = or > the gross weight, customs will not accept this item.  Find out more about this topic here.
  • Net weight: 0.500kg
  • Gross weight 0.600
Customs tariff number (HS code) The Swiss customs tariff, like most customs tariffs worldwide, is based on the internationally valid Harmonised System (HS). The first six digits of the eight-digit Swiss tariff numbers correspond to the HS.

Each article must be assigned a correct customs tariff number. This enables customs to classify the goods efficiently and to apply the corresponding customs duties, VAT rates and prohibitions. 
Example: 6110.2000; this tariff heading would be for pullovers, waistcoats (cardigans), gilets, and similar articles, including slip-ons, knitted or crocheted.
Country of origin The country of origin of the article must be reported to Swiss customs via the interface. This enables them to automatically assign whether the products are "preferential", i.e. whether no customs duties are due.  The "ISO-3166 Alpha-2" format must be used here. 

For example, "CN" would stand for the country China.
Value of goods The net value of the goods should be indicated - the reason for this is that CH customs automatically levies import VAT (2.5% or 7.7%) on the value you transfer. If you transfer the gross value, you will unnecessarily add the CH VAT to the DE/AT VAT amount. the amount you will also pay the CH-VAT. amount. A value with two decimal places must be entered - e.g.: 112.12
Article number a unique article number is required by customs for identification purposes This is the standard item number such as:


In this blog article, you can learn more about customs clearance optimization for cross-border eCommerce in Switzerland.

Would you like a comprehensive PPT on customs clearance? No problem-here you go.

If you would like individual advice, you are welcome to book a free consultation appointment.