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WASHINGTON -- The Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute yesterday released specifications for a new coupon system in "North American Coupon Application Guidelines Using GS1 DataBar (RSS) Expanded Symbols." The result of a five-year coupon-re-engineering project by the JICC and e-commerce standards group GS1 US, The revised guidelines offer solutions to problems encountered by manufacturers and retailers with the current system, which was developed in 1985.
"The current bar-coded coupon has served the industry well over the past 20-plus years, but is not able to adequately serve the needs of today's demands across the industry," explained JICC co-chair Alan Williams, v.p., applications development, Ahold Information Services, Ahold USA, Inc. "The GS1 DataBar coupon implementation will provide consumers, manufacturers, and retailers expanded, accurate and efficient offer capability in printed form on a broader range of products."
The rollout of the new system will take place over two years, with manufacturers printing the new data bar beside the original UPC-A bar code on their coupons. Changes to coupons will be noticeable as early as Jan. 1, according to the organizations. The U.P.C.-A bar code will be fully phased out in 2010 when all retailers will start scanning the GS1 DataBar. Early adopters may move sooner to take advantage of the new system, which promises improvements in coupon offer coding and handling efficiency at point of sale.
The guidelines are available from GMA, FMI, and GS1 US.