Provider Guide to Universal Digital Coupons

Technical components

The Coupon Bureau has created a series of technical components, both required and optional for use in the consumer experience. All required components are used to meet industry standards and maintain consistent basic consumer experience functions across providers. Required components are evaluated in a certification process through the TCB portal dashboard.

Fetch Code

Fetch code is a required function. Fetch code APIs can be found here.

A Fetch code has two purposes: giving the consumer an alternative shortened code in the event that the barcode cannot be scanned by a cashier and for use in e-commerce environments. The Fetch code is retrieved in real-time from a consumer’s phone when needed. This code is valid for 5 minutes and will then expire. If the consumer still requires the use of a Fetchcode, another will immediately be provided.

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Note: If a coupon is redeemed using a Fetchcode, that Fetchcode will be stored with that coupon’s redemption data within the TCB system.

Realtime Webhooks

Realtime webhooks are strongly recommended. Technical instructions can be found here.

The real-time webhook function provides real-time distribution and redemption event notifications for serialized data strings: Deposit of serialized data string, delete data string, redeem data string, rollback data string.* These notifications are intended to help to enhance the consumer experience, e.g. redemption notification could prompt the removal of the coupon from the consumer’s wallet, app, etc.

A rollback event occurs when a transaction is not completed at the point-of-sale and the redemption must be rolled back so that the coupon is available for redemption once more.

Store listing API

"Live Retailer API" is optional. Technical instructions can be found here, under Common APIs.

"Live Retailer API" will deliver all retailers that are currently connected to The Coupon Bureau Positive Offer File. This feature will be built to help consumers locate retailers near them that accept AI (8112) coupons.

Bundling

Bundling is optional. Bundling APIs can be found here.

The bundling feature allows multiple serialized data strings to be “bundled” into one data/barcode to scan. This feature was created to aid in lane time speed and prevent consumers from displaying coupons one by one at the time of checkout.

Certification

Before your organization can be made available to Manufacturers for authorization, TCB must ensure all required technical components are applied to meet industry standards and maintain consistent basic consumer experience functions across providers.

Coupon Display Guidelines

Mobile Coupon Display Design

The following is an excerpt from the JICC Voluntary Guidelines for Digital Coupons as it pertains to recommended components of a mobile coupon display:

*The JICC recommends the following data elements be contained within the visual display of the offer
on an internet website or mobile device.

  • Clear identification of the product to be purchased (for example brand name and/or variety)
  • Image of the product to be purchased
  • Face value
  • Expiration date
  • Offer short description — this is typically a brief explanation of the offer
  • Offer long description (optional) — this may include additional qualifiers or details about the product. Availability may be dependent on whether the website allows or has room for this additional verbiage.
  • Purchase Requirements — often this is also included in the offer short descriptions, but it can be noted again in relation to face value (e.g., $0.50 off 2)
  • Legal Copy— these are often provided via a link, a “hover” or “pop-up”
  • Limitations — this may be contained within short description, terms and conditions, or states separately (e.g., “Limit 2 per household” or “Excludes trial size”)
  • Issuers should also consider associating each offer with a product category to support search and filter capabilities.*

Mobile Barcode Selection

Universal Digital Coupons do not have a barcode standard at this time, the purpose of this stance was to provide all industries room for future innovation as new scanning capabilities gain market traction. Our current recommendation is the code-128 barcode - this barcode can be scanned at most retailers.

The following is an excerpt from the JICC Voluntary Guidelines for Digital Coupons as it pertains to barcode usage:

Digital coupon barcode use and guidelines:
“To reduce the risk of fraud, the JICC recommends digital coupon executions should not display human-readable elements reflective of barcode’s data string information. Executions should enable secure and fully managed/trackable barcodes on mobile devices (the GS1 DataBar format is prohibited as a usable barcode type). In addition, caution should be used when accepting coupons or promotions that are presented as a barcode on a mobile device. Similar to how barcodes can be altered on paper offers, barcodes presented on a mobile device also introduce a risk of fraudulent activity due to the ease of distribution and alteration on these devices. Coupon executions should not utilize the GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked in the presentation of an offer on a mobile device.”