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SmartSource looks to curb coupon fraud with QR codes

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — SmartSource has enhanced its online coupons with Quick Response codes that can provide real-time identification of fraudulent coupons.

SmartSource’s website, SmartSource.com — which is operated by News Corp. division News America Marketing — began printing QR codes on all of its coupons earlier this year. The QR codes are encoded and encrypted with technology that allows smartphone users and retailer personnel to determine if a coupon is valid or fraudulent. How it works: a scanned QR code retrieves information on that specific coupon from a SmartSource database and instantly returns information that either validates the offer or alerts the user or retailer that the coupon was not legitimately created.

QR codes can be scanned by smartphone users with a standard 2-D code scanning application sold through iTunes or other app sites.

"As of today, any SmartSource.com branded coupon that does not have a QR code should be considered fraudulent and therefore not accepted by any retailer," said Henri Lellouche, News America Marketing SVP and general manager of the SmartSource iGroup. "News America Marketing will continue to develop antifraud measures to protect its clients and will assist in every way possible the prosecution to the fullest extent of the law anyone caught attempting to use or traffic fraudulent SmartSource.com coupons."

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Safeway announces 11th annual prostate cancer awareness campaign

BY Allison Cerra

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway once again is raising funds to support prostate cancer research.

The retailer said that its month-long annual prostate cancer campaign, now in its 11th year, seeks to raise funds that will be donated to prostate cancer research. Safeway has donated more than $65.4 million to date.

“Safeway is committed to funding research that will lead to a cure for prostate cancer,” said Safeway chairman, president and CEO Steve Burd. “Our unique ability to reach millions of shoppers each week not only allows us the opportunity to raise money for research but to also share the message about the importance of early detection and treatment.”

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Walmart Express makes debut

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — As promised, Walmart unveiled its smaller-format store concept, dubbed Walmart Express, this past week.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, the first store opened in the Gentry, Ark., market just in time for the company’s shareholders meeting that was held last Friday morning. Two additional stores, located in Prairie Grove and Gravette, will open as soon as this week.

Walmart Express stores are about 15,000 sq. ft. and no larger than 30,000 sq. ft. and focus on a broad assortment of brands at everyday low prices, selling grocery, pharmacy and limited general merchandise, Walmart previously reported.

The new store is a no frills affair with bare concrete floors and an open rafter ceiling and the merchandise mix is heavily oriented toward food along with an emphasis on Walmart’s Site-to-Store service where it ships merchandise ordered online to stores for free. The jury is out on the format’s potential impact on pharmacy as the location in Gentry, which is about a 30 minute drive southwest of Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, contains a pharmacy but another test location further south in the community of Prairie Grove does not. Both communities are quite small with only a few thousand residents and pharmacy competition limited to independents.

Back in March, Walmart also confirmed that it secured a location for its smaller-format concept in the West Englewood area of Chicago, which is considered to be the heart of the food desert and one of the area’s most underserved communities.

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