GS1 DataBar

As the June 2011 deadline approaches, compliance for GS1 DataBar Coupon codes appears to be on track. While the initial date was set for January 1, 2010, a shaky economy combined with a limited number of stores that have implemented the technology, have forced the compliance deadline to be extended.

The new barcodes will allow retailers to fight coupon fraud as the embedded serial numbers on the new formatted coupons can be automatically captured at the POS terminal. Coupon verification and limited cashier intervention ensure the correct processing of discounts. DataBar coupon codes can have values up to $999.99 and are not limited to the traditional table of 100 values. Additional information can include product details, embedded expiration dates, as well as retailer specific coupons.

Another benefit of the new barcode format is the standardized promotions built in and available in all supporting POS systems. Executives at major manufacturers say the promotions supported by GS1 codes will be fully functional at the start of 2011. Manufacturers will also be allowed to stop printing UPC codes on coupons. Experts say that UPCs will be phased off of coupons by June 2011, giving retailers a bit of buffer to make upgrades.

With coupon compliance as the first step future applications are not far off. The next readiness deadline of January 1, 2014 will allow the use of GS1 barcodes globally on any product. After coupons the next DataBar application will be labeling for loose produce, replacing the current PLU codes. This will allow tracking of products to the grower that supplied the product and allow more traceability of the products.

Other fresh categories that will follow suit include meats and cheeses, as well as sensitive categories such as health care merchandise.