Today I’m going to go over the anatomy of a print-at-home coupon. The basics of this anatomy also apply to regular coupons. However, people have the hardest time understanding the parts of a printable coupon. Hence, the printable coupon example.
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- Product Image. This is where the product (or type of product) that the coupon covers is illustrated.
- Watermark. A watermark is found behind the value and description. On Coupons.com coupons, this image is a faded close-up of the product image. On SmartSource.com coupons, it’s a repeating pattern.
- Coupon Identity. This section identifies the type of coupon. It can be a manufacturer’s coupon, a store-specific coupon, or it may say something like “Do Not Double.”
- Expiration Date. This is the last day the coupon is valid. Coupons.com coupons have a pattern in the background of the expiration date to discourage counterfeiting.
- Value. This is the amount the coupon is for. It is printed in an uncommon font to prevent counterfeiting.
- Specifics. This section gives details on what products the coupon can be used.
- Unique Code. This code is used by retailers and some customers to ensure that a coupon is valid. This number appears on Coupons.com coupons. To check if your printable coupon is valid, go HERE and key in this number.
- Source Identification. This identifies the source. This coupon is from Coupons.com.
- Terms. This section lays out the rules and limitations for the coupon.
- DataBar. This barcode holds the identity of the coupon.
- Interim DataBar. This barcode contains the offer code.
- Date and Time Stamps. The border displays the date and time that the coupon was printed.
Now that you understand the parts of a coupon, let’s go deeper into the barcode. Please bear in mind that I write this so that others can learn what items a coupon can be used for if the wording isn’t all that great. It is NOT intended for misuse of any kind.
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On a typical manufacturer’s coupon, there are two barcodes. The first is known as a DataBar and the second is often called an Interim DataBar. The second barcode comes in different shapes and kinds, varying from product to coupon. If you would like to learn more details about this barcode or barcoding in general, visit Barcode 101. Here is the breakdown of the numbers on the barcodes of a coupon:
- Coupon NSC. On a coupon, this number is typically a 5 or a 99, which indicates that the barcode belongs to a coupon. A 5 means that the coupon doubles at a double coupon store and the 99 means it does not double.
- Company Prefix. These digits identify the product manufacturer.
- Family Code. Manufacturers split their products into categories called families. Often, if no zeros are present in this number, the coupon will only work for the exact product pictured. If there are one or two zeros, the coupon can be used for several different varieties or sizes.
- Value Code. These two digits indicate the value of the coupon. For details on what means what, click HERE.
- Check Digit. This is a computer-calculated digit that simply means that the previous numbers were cleared of errors.
- Company Prefix. This number matches the company prefix on the DataBar, maybe with a couple zeros tacked on.
- Offer Code. This is the code that identifies the particular offer.