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General

Who makes decisions for The Coupon Bureau?


The Coupon Bureau has a team of staff that is directed by the TCB advisory board, and the TCB advisory council, as well as industry standards organizations (GS1, Conexxus) and other industry associations. The advisory council consists of members from JICC, ACP, CIC, Consumer Brands Association and FMI (The Food Industry Association). 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.




What is the general timeline for this technology to be in-market?


Our first retailer was integrated in Q4 2020. We are now in the 'open connectivity' phase. We expect retailer connectivity to increase throughout 2021/22.




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 the 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 February 2021, TCB has launched in select live retailer locations and has begun integrations through our retailer accelerator partners. Expect national retailer connectivity to increase throughout the year.





Barcode information and standards

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. Keep in mind that virtually all retailers have point-of-sale controls in place to prevent the stacking of a digital coupon with a paper coupon, in line with JICC Guidelines for digital coupons.




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 fraud risks have been identified to date, nor are any expected as this solution scales across the industry. AI (8112) coupons deposited into the Positive Offer File are serialized and single use. Upon its first redemption, a 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.





 

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. Keep in mind that virtually all retailers have point-of-sale controls in place to prevent the stacking of a digital coupon with a paper coupon, in line with JICC Guidelines for digital coupons.




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 fraud risks have been identified to date, nor are any expected as this solution scales across the industry. AI (8112) coupons deposited into the Positive Offer File are serialized and single use. Upon its first redemption, a 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

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.




How will POS systems handle stacking with UDC?


The Coupon Bureau does not handle any of the POS logic responsible for stacking.




What happens if someone tries to use their serialized coupon twice?


When the POS sends the serialized data string to TCB’s centralized database for the second time after redemption, TCB will return an invalid message, therefore, the coupon cannot be used again. We have also created webhooks that allow the provider of the coupon to receive a notification when the coupon is redeemed so they can remove it from the consumer’s device so there is no confusion or opportunity to present it for redemption twice.




How do I figure out which distributor to use? Is there a document that shows the pros and cons of the different providers?


You can view the list of approved distribution providers in our help section: https://help.thecouponbureau.org/docs/find-a-distribution-provider Assessment of pros and cons is left up to the individual manufacturers as TCB must remain agnostic in this area.




What will these coupons look like on my phone?


Presentment will vary among different distribution providers. Here is an example of the presentment from one of the initial pilot campaigns.
For more information on display data element guidelines, refer to the JICC Voluntary Guidelines for Digital Coupons.




If a retailer isn't connected to TCB, what will happen when their POS scans the UDC?


If the POS is not able to recognize the AI (8112) data string, it will not be accepted. To mitigate consumer confusion, TCB is developing an API for providers to communicate connected retailers to the consumer.




How will UDC impact current digital coupons that live within retailer loyalty programs?


UDC does not impact retailer loyalty programs. The UDC is simply the digitization of a manufacturer issued paper coupon. Retailer loyalty is a separate ecosystem independent from UDC. Retailer loyalty programs will always be used to support manufacturer/retailer relationships Universal Digital Coupons provide manufacturers a new digital format of coupon for direct-to-consumer digital advertising and for the digitization of some manufacturer paper coupons.




How do I know which vendors are following TCB guidelines?


Providers and other vendors must complete an onboarding and certification process before they are connected and authorized by TCB. While we cannot monitor every campaign we will ensure that the core principles of serialization and validation are met for a coupon to be successfully distributed and redeemed.




What is the MOF and distributed data string?


MOF is the abbreviation for Master Offer File, which is the container for all of the offer details. It includes coupon offer information for validation: offer details, base data string, purchase requirements, serialized data string. A manufacturer can have unlimited MOFs, which are one per offer. Offer details refers to data housed within the POF and confirmed when an AI (8112) data string is transmitted from the point-of-sale (POS). Data includes expiration dates, circulation limits, and other parameters that are needed to check offer status outside of purchase requirements The serialized data string is the base data string + serial number.




What is the timeframe for retailer settlement once a coupon is redeemed?


The settlement workflow will vary by retailer and retailer clearinghouse processes. Contact your settlement partner for more information.




What if a company prefix is shared with another manufacturer?


The Coupon Funder is the manufacturer or organization responsible for funding the offer. This is for billing purposes only and not for validation In AI (8110) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the GS1 Company Prefix (GCP) and family code combination. In AI (8112) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the Coupon Funder ID that can be either a GCP or GTIN. The Coupon Funder ID is positioned in the element that included GCP in the AI (8110) data String. GCP will always be used except in scenarios where multiple parties are utilizing the same GCP or the coupon funder has licensed a single GTIN as opposed to an entire GCP. If multiple parties have products within a single GCP, then the party that has the GCP registered to their organization has the right to use the GCP as their Coupon Funder ID.




Will certain distributors of the offer have exclusive relationships with retailers? Will we have to use several distributors to do a national program?


The TCB ecosystem is retailer agnostic, so there will be no distributor exclusivity for retailers. You will only need to use one distributor to reach all connected retailers.




Can the master offer file be considered a program, which could have multiple offers?


A master offer file (MOF) can only contain one offer




Will accelerators have exclusivity with certain retailers?


Retailers can connect directly to TCB or through a single accelerator of their choosing. Multiple accelerators are not necessary and would be redundant.




If a manufacturer wanted to deploy an in-store (on-pack coupon) how would they assign an individual "serial/coupon code" to be printed on each coupon?


There are several print vendors with the ability to print serialized data strings. The coupon industry is currently identifying the barcode specifications for printed AI (8112) coupons.




Are accelerators the same as distribution providers?


Accelerators provide connectivity for retailers to TCB’s centralized database. Distribution providers handle offer distribution to consumers on behalf of manufacturers.




Do you plan on including paper coupons and when will these be available to Manufacturers


UDC on paper is part of the JICC/ACP roadmap., it is dependent on significant retailer adoption




Is there a way to find out which retailers currently are accepting of Universal Digital Coupons?


As we announce subsequent retailer connections all stakeholders will be notified. Once we have a larger ecosystem we will provide a public API of connected retailers.




How do you manage if you want to limit the amount of coupons distributed/redeemed?


Manufacturers/providers have full control to designate the number of distributed data strings. This is a setting in the MOF, and can be as few as 1. There is no upward limit.




How many Master Offer Files would there typically be for a Manufacturer?


Manufacturers can have multiple Master Offer Files depending on their needs. Each MOF has one Base Data String, upon which the serialization is appended upon distribution




Is this ready to use today?


Yes, we have completed testing and several pilots, and are currently in the open connectivity phase.




How long is the set up process to go live?


The timing of the setup process depends on several factors including your organization’s processes and your partners. You can create your manufacturer account today and begin the process.




Can UDC coupons be used on retailers dot com sites


This functionality is built into the TCB system, but has yet to be integrated into a retailer ecommerce site. Stay tuned!




Does UDC use the GS1 Company Prefix?


The GS1 company prefix is part of the Coupon Funder in the Base Data String. In AI (8110) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the GS1 Company Prefix (GCP) and family code combination. In AI (8112) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the Coupon Funder ID that can be either a GCP or GTIN. The Coupon Funder ID is positioned in the element that included GCP in the AI (8110) data string. GCP will always be used except in scenarios where multiple parties are utilizing the same GCP or the coupon funder has licensed a single GTIN as opposed to an entire GCP. If multiple parties have products within a single GCP, then the party that has the GCP registered to their organization has the right to use the GCP as their Coupon Funder ID. Other considerations for the Coupon Funder ID element include: -The Coupon Funder ID element is 1:1 mapping, the GCP shall not be parsed
from the GTIN -Shall not be used to apply validation logic for promoted products -In the future, various industry associations may produce best practices and industry guidelines with recommendations.




Are independent grocers able to accept UDC?


Independent retailers are able to connect to TCB the same as other retailers.





 
 

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 https://www.thecouponbureau.org/register for the most direct support.




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?


This function is controlled by the manufacturer. 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.




How will POS systems handle stacking with UDC?


The Coupon Bureau does not handle any of the POS logic responsible for stacking.




What happens if someone tries to use their serialized coupon twice?


When the POS sends the serialized data string to TCB’s centralized database for the second time after redemption, TCB will return an invalid message, therefore, the coupon cannot be used again. We have also created webhooks that allow the provider of the coupon to receive a notification when the coupon is redeemed so they can remove it from the consumer’s device so there is no confusion or opportunity to present it for redemption twice.




How do I figure out which distributor to use? Is there a document that shows the pros and cons of the different providers?


You can view the list of approved distribution providers in our help section: https://help.thecouponbureau.org/docs/find-a-distribution-provider Assessment of pros and cons is left up to the individual manufacturers as TCB must remain agnostic in this area.




What will these coupons look like on my phone?


Presentment will vary among different distribution providers. Here is an example of the presentment from one of the initial pilot campaigns.
For more information on display data element guidelines, refer to the JICC Voluntary Guidelines for Digital Coupons.




If a retailer isn't connected to TCB, what will happen when their POS scans the UDC?


If the POS is not able to recognize the AI (8112) data string, it will not be accepted. To mitigate consumer confusion, TCB is developing an API for providers to communicate connected retailers to the consumer.




How will UDC impact current digital coupons that live within retailer loyalty programs?


UDC does not impact retailer loyalty programs. The UDC is simply the digitization of a manufacturer issued paper coupon. Retailer loyalty is a separate ecosystem independent from UDC. Retailer loyalty programs will always be used to support manufacturer/retailer relationships Universal Digital Coupons provide manufacturers a new digital format of coupon for direct-to-consumer digital advertising and for the digitization of some manufacturer paper coupons.




How do I know which vendors are following TCB guidelines?


Providers and other vendors must complete an onboarding and certification process before they are connected and authorized by TCB. While we cannot monitor every campaign we will ensure that the core principles of serialization and validation are met for a coupon to be successfully distributed and redeemed.




What is the MOF and distributed data string?


MOF is the abbreviation for Master Offer File, which is the container for all of the offer details. It includes coupon offer information for validation: offer details, base data string, purchase requirements, serialized data string. A manufacturer can have unlimited MOFs, which are one per offer. Offer details refers to data housed within the POF and confirmed when an AI (8112) data string is transmitted from the point-of-sale (POS). Data includes expiration dates, circulation limits, and other parameters that are needed to check offer status outside of purchase requirements The serialized data string is the base data string + serial number.




What is the timeframe for retailer settlement once a coupon is redeemed?


The settlement workflow will vary by retailer and retailer clearinghouse processes. Contact your settlement partner for more information.




What if a company prefix is shared with another manufacturer?


The Coupon Funder is the manufacturer or organization responsible for funding the offer. This is for billing purposes only and not for validation In AI (8110) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the GS1 Company Prefix (GCP) and family code combination. In AI (8112) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the Coupon Funder ID that can be either a GCP or GTIN. The Coupon Funder ID is positioned in the element that included GCP in the AI (8110) data String. GCP will always be used except in scenarios where multiple parties are utilizing the same GCP or the coupon funder has licensed a single GTIN as opposed to an entire GCP. If multiple parties have products within a single GCP, then the party that has the GCP registered to their organization has the right to use the GCP as their Coupon Funder ID.




Will certain distributors of the offer have exclusive relationships with retailers? Will we have to use several distributors to do a national program?


The TCB ecosystem is retailer agnostic, so there will be no distributor exclusivity for retailers. You will only need to use one distributor to reach all connected retailers.




Can the master offer file be considered a program, which could have multiple offers?


A master offer file (MOF) can only contain one offer




Will accelerators have exclusivity with certain retailers?


Retailers can connect directly to TCB or through a single accelerator of their choosing. Multiple accelerators are not necessary and would be redundant.




If a manufacturer wanted to deploy an in-store (on-pack coupon) how would they assign an individual "serial/coupon code" to be printed on each coupon?


There are several print vendors with the ability to print serialized data strings. The coupon industry is currently identifying the barcode specifications for printed AI (8112) coupons.




Are accelerators the same as distribution providers?


Accelerators provide connectivity for retailers to TCB’s centralized database. Distribution providers handle offer distribution to consumers on behalf of manufacturers.




Do you plan on including paper coupons and when will these be available to Manufacturers


UDC on paper is part of the JICC/ACP roadmap., it is dependent on significant retailer adoption




Is there a way to find out which retailers currently are accepting of Universal Digital Coupons?


As we announce subsequent retailer connections all stakeholders will be notified. Once we have a larger ecosystem we will provide a public API of connected retailers.




How do you manage if you want to limit the amount of coupons distributed/redeemed?


Manufacturers/providers have full control to designate the number of distributed data strings. This is a setting in the MOF, and can be as few as 1. There is no upward limit.




How many Master Offer Files would there typically be for a Manufacturer?


Manufacturers can have multiple Master Offer Files depending on their needs. Each MOF has one Base Data String, upon which the serialization is appended upon distribution




Is this ready to use today?


Yes, we have completed testing and several pilots, and are currently in the open connectivity phase.




How long is the set up process to go live?


The timing of the setup process depends on several factors including your organization’s processes and your partners. You can create your manufacturer account today and begin the process.




Can UDC coupons be used on retailers dot com sites


This functionality is built into the TCB system, but has yet to be integrated into a retailer ecommerce site. Stay tuned!




Does UDC use the GS1 Company Prefix?


The GS1 company prefix is part of the Coupon Funder in the Base Data String. In AI (8110) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the GS1 Company Prefix (GCP) and family code combination. In AI (8112) coupons, the coupon funder is identified by the Coupon Funder ID that can be either a GCP or GTIN. The Coupon Funder ID is positioned in the element that included GCP in the AI (8110) data string. GCP will always be used except in scenarios where multiple parties are utilizing the same GCP or the coupon funder has licensed a single GTIN as opposed to an entire GCP. If multiple parties have products within a single GCP, then the party that has the GCP registered to their organization has the right to use the GCP as their Coupon Funder ID. Other considerations for the Coupon Funder ID element include: -The Coupon Funder ID element is 1:1 mapping, the GCP shall not be parsed
from the GTIN -Shall not be used to apply validation logic for promoted products -In the future, various industry associations may produce best practices and industry guidelines with recommendations.




Are independent grocers able to accept UDC?


Independent retailers are able to connect to TCB the same as other retailers.





 
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