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If you’ve printed coupons recently you probably have noticed that the barcodes are a little funny. Coupons are switching over to a new bar code system called the GS1 Databar.
Updating the coupon format is intended to make it easier for manufacturer’s to specify what they want the coupon used for and more easily enforce it at the register. They are now able to have more options for purchase requirements, values, and have more complex offers.
You have heard me say over and over that you should always follow the wording on a coupon and this new system allows the register to make sure you meet the requirements instead of a cashier. The barcode is equipped to include all language like do not double, product sizes and even flavors so the requirements should be really clear to everyone upfront.
With the new system:
- Coupon value codes can now be in any amount up to $999.99, and they are not limited to a table of only 100 possibilities like the old system.
- Precise offer descriptions and validation of offers involving specified quantity purchases can now be expressed.
- Fraud is reduced due to complexity of description and save values. Also, the entire barcode encoded data is not presented in human readable format.
- Automatic expiration date checking for retailers.
- Coupons can be made store specific.
But what does this mean for you as a couponer?
This means you have less to worry about. Since you will know exactly what the coupon is intended for, you won’t have to worry about if a coupon will work. Also, you won’t have to worry as much about coupon fraud. People will not be able to use a coupon for an item that it is not intended for, or easily make fraudulent coupons.
You should have less hassle with cashiers as well. Since it is more obvious to you and the cashier what the coupon is intended for, there are less “hard to handle” coupons. You should be able to avoid the past frustration of knowing a that coupon is valid for a product, but the cashier disagreeing.
During the transition to the new system, some stores may have issues with the new bar code. Many coupons have both bar codes during the transition, which should help. However, you may have noticed an increasing number of printable coupons without the traditional barcode.
This should be remedied soon as all stores will have to update their systems. Until then, some stores may have to enter the coupon manually or not accept it (many people have experienced issues with Walmart not accepting them).
In the end, the hope of this new system is to make it easier for manufacturer’s to ensure that coupons are being used correctly. This helps to encourage manufacturer’s to continue to offer great coupons. It also means that as long as you are using coupons correctly, the new system shouldn’t cause you any problems.
For those of you who want more in depth technical details on the new system, check out the GS1Databar site for more info.
What has been your experience with the new system?