Get ready for old coupon barcode retirement

The Joint Industry Coupon Committee is advising retailers to prepare for the imminent retirement of the UPC Prefix 5 barcode from manufacturer coupons.

After June 30 of this year, the old symbols will no longer be used and manufacturers will change to exclusive use of the GS1DataBar format for coupons. The changeover has been slow, and there have been several delays related to the readiness of retailer point-of-sale systems, but the industry is ready to take the final step toward adoption of the new format.

Most existing retail scanning systems are now capable of reading the GS1 DataBar, but retailers may need to enable the functionality in their systems to ensure readiness, according to JICC. In some cases, software or hardware modifications may be required. "To avoid a disadvantaged position in the marketplace after June 30, retailers are encouraged to implement and activate these technologies as soon as possible," JICC said in a statement.

In addition to coupon redemption efficiencies, the GS1 DataBar can reduce intentional coupon fraud and unintentional coupon mis-redemption. It will also convey more information about coupon deals and accommodate complex offers, such as buying two separate items and getting a third product free.

"Consumers, manufacturers, retailers and other industry participants will directly benefit from the appropriate use of these technologies by reducing fraud, increasing checkout efficiency, improving accuracy and enhancing consumer choices with new and innovative couponing opportunities," Bud Miller, executive director, Coupon Information Corp. told CPGmatters.

Benefits of the GS1 DataBar include:

  • Automatic coupon expiration-date check
  • Automatically ties double-coupon value limits to exact purchase requirements
  • Reductions in cashier intervention with complex offers placed within the code
  • Allows for retailer-specific coupons

Retailers could be exposed to multiple risks if they do not transition to the new coupon technology, including:

  • Processing of expired or fraudulent coupons
  • Inability of customers to use coupons at self-checkout kiosks
  • Increased cashier labor and time to manually process coupons
  • Reduced profitability of promotions

The decision to move to exclusive use of the GS1 DataBar was announced in 2007, with the phase-out period for UPC Prefix 5 barcodes beginning in 2011 and concluding June 30, 2015. JICC is comprised of retailer and manufacturer executives who oversee coupon programs and is administered by the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Grocers Association.

For more:
-See the JICC press release
-See this story in CPGmatters

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