DataBar only Coupons to Flood the Market

For a long time now, the retail market has been longing for standardization of coupons and the way they are read and processed. They have often come in different formats with varying style of bar codes, each type carrying information in a unique way. The lack of a industry standard has been tough on consumers and retailers. Extra time for coupon processing during checkouts, wide spread fraud and if something went wrong; customer service professionals of retailers often had days to forget. To put an end to this farce comes the widespread adoption of coupons bearing the GS1 DataBar, which will be implemented nation-wide.

A recent Sunday freestanding insert from SmartSource contained a “marked uptick” in the number of manufacturer coupons bearing the GS1 DataBar as the sole bar code, noted Alan Williams, vice president of application development for Ahold USA, Landover, Md.

The large scale implementation has been couple of years in the making after facing many roadblocks. Finally, the DataBar, an information-rich bar code will flood the market to provide relief to retailers and customers. A single format approach will iron out issues in coupon processing leading to efficient checkouts in retails stores and a serious clamp down on coupon fraud.

Beginning 2008, interim coupons have included both the DataBar and the traditional UPC-A bar code to ease the transition process. Of the 54 unique coupons for CPG products in the insert, contained in the Washington Post on April 15, two-thirds (36) use only the DataBar while the remaining 18 continue to use the interim format consisting of the DataBar and UPC-A bar code, noted Williams, who is also co-chair of the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC), the multi-association industry group that sets coupon policies.

The CPG companies with GS1 DataBar-only coupons included: Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, McNeil-PPC, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Colgate-Palmolive, GE Lighting, Chattem, Hormel, Earthgrains Baking, Sargento, Massimo and Zanetti Beverage USA.

The new DataBar code will have the ability to store more information than its traditional predecessor; for e.g. it can hold longer manufacturing identification numbers giving manufacturers the opportunity to create more robust coupons that hold even value up to $999.99 and cross- promotions with multiple brands will also be easier.

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