ISP pushes for barcode system to combat fraud

The Institute of Sales Promotion is urging brand owners and retailers to push the introduction of new barcode technology to eliminate the industry-wide problem of coupon misredemption.

The issue arises when retailers allow consumers to redeem coupons and get a cash discount off their total shopping bill, without policing if the customer has actually purchased the product being promoted.

IPS chief executive Annie Swift says misredemption costs brand owners millions of pounds each year and is a “big problem”.

In the US, the solution has been for some major retail chains to introduce a barcode technology that can verify in real time whether a voucher has been used more than once, and whether the consumer has purchased the brand being promoted.

Such technology has not reached the UK as yet, though the wholesaler Booker is already testing the system across an unnamed convenience-store chain.

Swift says the main issue obstructing the take-up of the new barcode technology is that there is yet to be an agreement over who will bear the cost of purchasing and installing the systems – brands owners or retailers.

“The ISP is encouraging both brand owners and retailers to support the introduction of this system in the UK to minimise the risk of misredemption,” Swift says.

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