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The Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) Prefix 5 coupon system dates back to 1985. Along the way, there have
been significant changes in the system itself, such as the addition of the Coupon Extended Code in 1997. The
system today adds up to 500 new manufacturers monthly. On the retail side, the use of scanning has
increased and matured in the convenience store, chain drug, mass merchandising, and department store
industries, as well as the grocery industry. With over 200 billion coupons distributed in the United States
annually, coupon processing is a big business in itself. The use of paper coupons is growing globally.
Significantly, along with this expansion, there have been many changes in business needs, driven by technology such as smart cards and the Internet, and the GS1® System of Standards itself.
A further stimulus is the fact that in 2005 GS1 US began issuing variable-length GS1 Company Prefixes (in association with the 2005 Sunrise program to globalize the use of EAN+U.P.C. barcodes), and retailers will begin to receive products identified using both U.P.C. Company Prefixes and GS1 Company Prefixes. Both changes will lead to an increasing number of coupon mis-redemptions if the full Company Prefix is not processed. This will impact retailers, manufacturers, and coupon processing agents.
In February 2002, the Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) asked GS1 US to start a joint program to update the coupon system. The first step of the Coupon Re-Engineering Project was to develop a set of business requirements, which was completed in September 2002. The next step, completed as of July 1, 2011, was to fully engage all parties -- retailers, manufacturers, processing agents, and the solution provider community -- to develop and implement a solution. With that, the JICC felt it was appropriate to update this document.
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