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Extreme Couponing Tip: DataBar Barcode

Chelsea Shepherd

Extreme Couponing Tip: DataBar Barcodes

As of June 30th, coupons have started to take off the shorter 12 digit EAN/UPC barcode and are leaving the longer DataBar barcode. This new barcode, according to its maker GS1, will include more information than the smaller 12 digit UPCs previously: now expiration dates and more product specifics (size / weight / quantity) are encoded onto the coupon. It is up to the brand owner’s discretion to decide if they want to still include the smaller UPC barcode on their coupons in the future.

What this means:

  1. The checkout process should be faster and more thorough. Most national stores should now have updated their systems to scan the GS1 barcodes, however, some stores may still be changing over, so be patient. As long as your product matches the coupons fine print, things should go smoothly. If your store does not yet know about the DataBar barcode, educate them and direct them to go to the GS1 website: www.gs1.org/barcodes/databar/.
  2. With the implemation of the GS1 Databar, barcode decoding (see below for definition) will be stemmed, thus reducing coupon fraud.

Barcode decoding: Decoders are shoppers who sneak legitimate coupons past their cashiers when using them for products for which the coupon is obviously not intended. Barcode decoders try to circumvent the computerized cash registers by decoding 12 digit UPC barcodes, usually using a high value coupon on a smaller or inexpensive product from the same brand, getting it for free or overage. This is completely dishonest and constitutes stealing from the store since the store must provide proof of the correct purchases to the manufacturer to get reimbursed.
Unlike the EAN/UPC symbols, the GS1 DataBar symbol’s data characters don’t directly correspond to the encoded data character (minimal human readable text).

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