FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General

Who makes decisions for The Coupon Bureau?
  • The Coupon Bureau has a team of staff that works with advisory councils, industry standards organizations and other industry associations. From these various groups and other direct relationships, TCB has developed a Launch Council that has been instrumental in the development that TCB has completed to date. Other advisory councils are currently being staffed with industry participants that will specialize in guiding TCB staff and Board in specific channels, stakeholder groups or technologies.

Who can be on the TCB Board?
  • The TCB Board is made up of representatives from retailers and manufacturers. Service providers cannot participate in the Board but do participate at the advisory council level creating proposals and work product for the Board to vote on.

What does TCB do with its money as a non-profit?
  • The Coupon Bureau utilizes its revenue to maintain staff, technology, databases and servers. It also uses funds for industry education, and to support other various industry associations. According to TCB Bylaws, 20% of revenue is to be used for philanthropy, which allows TCB to partner with other industry stakeholders to support charities that relate to our industry.

Who runs TCB?
  • The Coupon Bureau is run by a full-time staff that works to execute the mandates and directives of the TCB Board. Click here for more information about this topic.

What is the general timeline for this technology to be in-market?
  • We expect to be to have our first retailers integrated in Q3 2019. Once retailers are connected, TCB will have the ability to verify any manufacturer offer placed in the Positive Offer File.

What impact does the New Industry Standard for Paperless Couponing have on paper coupons such as FSI, on-pack, etc?
  • The Coupon Bureau can support any coupon format that opts to use the new AI (8112) data string. All of these coupon data strings, regardless of format, will be housed in the Positive Offer File and enjoy the security measures associated with it.

What data will TCB handle?
  • TCB will handle redemption transactional data only. TCB will not handle consumer data or basket data. All transactional data will be available in real-time and to any associated parties related to a particular coupon offer through TCB APIs and stand alone stakeholder portals.

How will the offer information be transmitted from the consumer's phone to the POS?
  • The transmission of the data will be determined by each provider. The Coupon Bureau is in the process of releasing Best Practices but this responsibility will ultimately be left up to the market. The Coupon Bureau is intentionally staying out of the market’s way of innovation and creativity.

Does The Coupon Bureau have any other industry role besides managing Positive Offer File coupons?
  • Yes! We intend to develop TCB into a hub of information, education, standards, and more! We are creating a community that benefits all coupon industry stakeholders.

Why are Retailer Agnostic Mobile offers important?
  • This new offer type will enable innovation and new product offerings for manufacturers. These offers will provide the mobility of FSI or P@H in a digital format. These coupons can be redeemed at any retailer or C-store that is connected to TCB. This offer type enables digital coupons for retailers that do not currently support a loyalty program. Real-time data is key in this offer type, and since serialization is mandatory, manufacturers could track consumers in real time from coupon delivery through redemption. The serialization of these offers also ensures that have “kill at the till” or single use security restrictions.

How does settlement work for retailer agnostic mobile coupons?
  • The settlement process will be exactly the same for 8112 offers as it is for current coupons. TCB has worked with retailers and their various associations to ensure that the correct data is being transmitted to the POS to be captured in the T-log and create an invoice file. TCB APIs will also be transmitting that transactional redemption data to all parties that are tagged for a particular offer.

How will billing work?
  • Billing will stay at the manufacturer level and will be based on account usage. As we develop this solution further, alternative billing processes may be necessary to accommodate the needs of the market.

How many connections are there?
  • As of July 2019, TCB has begun integrations with current connection requests. These requests represent over 2,500 retailer locations, over 55 manufacturers and the majority of clearinghouses and providers. We expect an influx on connection requests once the standards and best practices are released and will be adding those connections on a first come, first serve basis.

Barcode Information and Standards

With respect to purchase validation, will the new (AI) 8112 GSI be family code-based, or will it be UPC-based validation?
  • AI (8112) GS1 will be validated at the UPC or GTIN level.

WHAT IF ALL GTIN DATA WILL NOT FIT WITHIN THE AI (8112) GS1 DATASTRING?
  • The GTINs will not live inside the data string. They will be housed inside the Positive Offer File and will be transmitted to the POS at time of redemption.

WHEN CAN WE EXPECT THE NEW AI (8112) GUIDELINES DRAFT TO BE MADE AVAILABLE?
  • We expect standards and best practices for AI (8112) to be available in August of 2019

Will 8110 coupons be "phased out"?
  • There is no plan currently in place to "phase out" 8110 coupons completely. Although, TCB has been approached by manufacturers, retailers and providers about this eventuality. This decision, if made, will involve all invested stakeholders.

How do I get an 8112 barcode?
  • Manufacturers will be able to obtain 8112 barcodes through their manufacturer agents similar to the process for 8110 coupons.

How will I be able to get standards?
  • TCB will publish the standards on the website, but they will also have distribution through GS1, ACP, Conexxus and other trade organizations.

Will manufacturers have 100% control over their GTINs eligible for each offer?
  • Yes, manufacturers will have complete control. Only authorized users will be able to make changes to an offer within the POF.

Fraud Prevention

How will TCB Positive Offer File impact paper and digital stacking?
  • Initially, there will be no additional security around stacking, but as more mediums are shifted to the new AI (8112) offering, the stacking issue will be mitigated if not resolved completely.

Once, redeemed, is the coupon "de-activated"?
  • Positive Offer File coupons are deactivated after use, creating a true "kill at the till" solution.

IF A COUPON IS USED ON A MOBILE DEVICE AT ONE RETAILER, CAN IT BE USED AGAIN? HOW WOULD YOU LIMIT MORE THAN ONE SCAN AT POS?
  • Once an AI (8112) barcode is redeemed, the TCB Positive Offer File is updated and that barcode will not be validated again because it will be marked as redeemed within the Master Offer File. Serialization is the key to this capability.

Is there a working solution for blended coupons? (for both paper and paperless)
  • Blended offers will still be available, just in a different mechanism. Today blended offers means trade (retailer specific loyalty) or paper (nationally distributed offer). In the future "blended" could mean a national offer that has both mobile and paper distribution / redemption options.

Are there any fraud risks associated with universal coupons?
  • No. AI (8112) coupons deposited into the Positive Offer File are designed to be virtually fraud proof. Upon its first redemption, any coupon will be dead and no longer available for redemption.

What keeps people from taking a picture of an 8110 coupon and trying to use it from their phone?
  • Unfortunately, nothing keeps consumer from fraudulently taking a picture of an 8110 paper coupon and attempting to redeem it from their phone. However, the TCB advisory council has done great work in identifying best practices for mobile presentment that will allow cashiers to clearly identify a true 8112 offer from an image of an 8110 coupon.

Consumer Experience and distribution

Does The Coupon Bureau distribute offers?
  • No, The Coupon Bureau does not distribute offers. That responsibility will be left with distributors of the current coupon ecosystem.

How will the mobile coupon solution handle multiple coupon submissions at one time?
  • There is an API provided by TCB that can support "bundling" of multiple offers into a single scannable barcode. However, TCB expects this to be an area of innovation for the open market.

Will there be a single application that provides the consumer with these digital offers?
  • No, the solution will be open to the market to utilize- so that providers and distributors still hold the same roles in the coupon ecosystem.

How will distribution quantities be limited, so program costs can be controlled?
  • Distribution will be managed through providers in the same manner it is managed today for print@home and C2C campaigns.

Will these digital coupons be available at all retailers?
  • Retailers have the ability to integrate with TCB at any time. We expect to have an initial list of retailers integrated with TCB by end of August 2019. TCB will maintain an API and website of connected retailers for use by manufacturers and providers.

What will it look like on a phone?
  • The Coupon Bureau team and Launch Council is currently working with industry leaders to develop Best Practices for presentment on a mobile device. The goal is to utilize methods that have the highest percentage of scanning success as well as developing design element standards so that cashiers can easily identify these offer types.

How will consumers know which retailers accept this coupon type?
  • TCB will be managing an API connection as well as a website to support manufacturers and providers as they convey to consumers where the new 8112 offers can be redeemed. The API can be fed directly into various provider distribution channels to support consumer awareness.

How can these mobile offers be distributed?
  • These offers can be distributed just like current digital and P@H coupons, such as online, SMS, Social Media, E-Newsletters etc.

Retailers

Will retailer-specific requirements or limitations be considered or addressed?
  • With each retailer integration, all requirements and limitations will be taken into consideration. Our retailer APIs are designed to work in most retailer environments. That said, our job is to make this process work for everyone.

How does a retailer begin integration?
  • The fastest way is to fill out the Connection Request form at www.TheCouponBureau.org/connect for the most direct support. However, all of our API documents are available anytime at https://tcbdev.portal.azure-api.net/. We are also available to provide any integration support that is required.

What is the general process for a retailer to get connected?
  • Retailers integrate with The Coupon Bureau through a series of APIs. Integration is meant to be clean and simple.

Do retailers have the ability to amend what GTINs are eligible for the offer or the number of allowed redemption?
  • No, 8112 coupon offers will have the same controls that national, manufacturer offers have today. All offer parameters are controlled by the manufacturer in the POF.

How will we know what retailers are connected?
  • The Coupon bureau will keep an up-to-date list available on our site as well an API feed for provider use.

Other questions

Are there any special requirements or limitations for alcohol manufacturers?
  • Alcohol coupons would experience any current restrictions on coupon distribution, by state, age, as well as at check out. Other than those existing restrictions, there would be no additional restrictions.

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