Fraud-proof coupons stand up to be counted

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on August 26, 2003

More secure and verifiable coupons are the order of the day, following a rash of coupon fraud cases that have plagued grocery chains in the USA. Now Vesdia Corporation is making its secure online coupon technology available to grocery stores and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to help avoid abuse of couponing programmes.

Vesdia's patented online coupon technology, which has already been incorporated into the firm's microinvesting platform, allows grocers and CPG firms to distribute fraud-protected coupons. Until now, Vesdia has limited the use of the technology to its own member-based microinvesting programmes.

How it works
Similar to traditional coupons, the firm's technology allows consumers to print the online coupons for in-store redemption. However, unlike traditional coupons, the value of the coupons is not credited to the customer at the register. Instead, the coupon's value is tracked from the point of purchase through the coupon clearing system and then deposited directly into the shopper's cheque, savings, or investment account (such as a mutual fund, money market account, or 529 college savings plan).

Among the first to adopt the technology when it launched in April 2001 were Kimberly-Clark, Mott's, Clairol, Fleischmann's, Birds Eye, GlaxoSmithKline, Georgia Pacific, and Borden Foods. The programme has since featured more than 35 major brands, 90 consumer offers, and access to over 25 million consumers in the US.

Internet not at fault
"The internet and advanced technology aren't the culprits here. They are the saviours," explained Peter Davis, a former Procter & Gamble executive who is now Vesdia's CEO. "Coupon fraud was a problem long before the advent of the internet. But the reality is that the internet is still by far the most cost-effective and targeted method of coupon distribution."

Damage control
According to the Coupon Information Corporation (CIC), a not-for-profit association of consumer product manufacturers that issue coupons, industry analysts estimate that grocers and product manufacturers lose in excess of US$500 million annually due to coupon fraud.

"We've made the decision to make our technology available to any CPG or grocer who would like to use it because the time is right to bring this technology to the broader market," explained Davis. "The end result will not only be more unit sales and higher levels of customer loyalty but also significant savings based on fraud reduction."

Vesdia is confident in its ability to mitigate the risk associated with coupons, and is offering grocers and CPG firms that deploy the technology a fraud protection guarantee.

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