Have you noticed a change in coupon barcodes? Manufacturers have begun removing the 12 digit barcode (seen on the left hand side of the coupon) and are only using the longer barcode, called a DataBar barcode which you will find on the right hand side of your coupon.
And most stores have already started to update their POS system to be compatible with these new barcodes.
The old 12 digit barcode looks more like a UPC and is intended to link directly to a product. We all know there are more than a few products in the store, so manufacturers have had a huge challenge to make a coupon for a specific product.
For instance, a shopper may be able to use a coupon that is intended for a 4-pack of yogurt for single yogurt cups with no “beepage”. Because the bar code cannot be linked directly to the 4-packk yogurts, but rather the company who makes the yogurt, the coupon scans fine at the register.
Manufacturers have a problem at this point because coupons are being used outside of their intention. Also, some shoppers and stores have the motto that they don’t read the wording on the coupon – if it scans, it must be legit. (I am in no way suggesting to you that this is acceptable coupon usage!)
The DataBar barcode contains much more information than a UPC code does. For example, it accommodates longer manufacturer identification numbers, which check to see if you purchased the correct item. Also, These barcodes contain the expiration date, weight of the products accepted, exact products, quantity and any other information that the manufacturer would like to put in the coupon. Also, since there is minimal human readable text, this means the end of barcode decoding!
Retailers that utilize DataBar will experience automatic expiration date checking, reduced cashier intervention and improved scan rates. This means your checkout experience should be much less painful and will be faster.
Of course, in order for these coupons to scan, the retailer would need to update their POS system to accommodate the new barcode. Most major retailers like Target and Walgreens already support DataBar barcodes, with other retailers soon to come.
What are your thoughts?