When it comes to couponing, many believe the craze should focus on local, daily deals. Not so, said Steve Horowitz, CTO at Coupons.com. Think national, third-party issued coupons from massive brands redeemed by consumers through retailers. Rather than daily deals, the vouchers consumers must pay for to get a percentage off of goods or services.
Horowitz believes the future for national coupons resides in near field communication (NFC) technology. Supermarkets will associate the coupons with frequency savings cards. The information will tie into the store's point of sale (PoS) system and the consumer's identification number, deducting the savings from the coupon on the purchase and pulling the payment from a bank account tied to the phone. NFC will allow the PoS system to handle the financial transaction.
When asked about the changes to the PoS infrastructure and initiative by the GS1 trade group, Horowitz smiled. "It's a long time coming, because even though NFC exists today in my phone it's only half the problem," he said. "The other half is the point of sale systems."
Eventually, when everyone has a mobile phone equipped with a NFC chip, and all PoS systems build in NFC readers, the world will see widespread adoption. While it's not a business move for Coupons.com yet, the company has begun to take steps to accelerate the process. "It still requires the ecosystem turnover of phones and point of sale systems to reach that required scale," he said.
Horowitz didn't explain how CPGs will add a NFC chip or a 2D barcode to the package, but some believe that will happen, too. When a consumer sees an item in the store they want to buy, the phone will read the chip in the package and produce a coupon on the phone. Deductions taken at the cash register will come from that coupon in the phone before the consumer pays electronically.