Title:
COUPON GENERATION AND REDEMPTION SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A coupon generation and redemption system presenting a consumer with at least one product on which at least one promotion is available. The consumer selects at least one of the at least one product for which the consumer desires to receive at least one coupon. The at least one coupon is generated. The consumer purchases the at least one product referenced in the at least one coupon. The consumer redeems the at least one coupon.



Inventors:
Pfister, Stefan Lawrence (St. Louis Park, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/266691
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
11/07/2008
Assignee:
In-Store Promotions, Inc. (Roseville, MN, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G06Q30/00
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Primary Examiner:
LASTRA, DANIEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DICKE, BILLIG & CZAJA (FIFTH STREET TOWERS 100 SOUTH FIFTH STREET, SUITE 2250, MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 55402, US)
Claims:
1. A coupon generation and redemption system comprising: presenting a consumer with at least one product on which at least one promotion is available; selecting at least one of the at least one product for which the consumer desires to receive at least one coupon; generating at least one coupon; purchasing the at least one product referenced in the at least one coupon; and redeeming the at least one coupon.

2. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein a redemption value of the at least one coupon is determined by at least one of a day on which the at least one coupon is generated, a time of day on which the at least one coupon is generated, a day on which the at least one coupon is redeemable and a time of day on which the at least one coupon is redeemable.

3. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein a redemption value of the at least one coupon varies based upon the amount of time from which the at least one coupon was generated.

4. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein a redemption value of the at least one coupon is determined by the prior purchasing activities of the consumer that generates the at least one coupon.

5. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein a redemption value of the at least one coupon is determined by the prior purchasing activities of a group of consumers that have generated the at least one coupon.

6. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein the at least one coupon may be generated at a kiosk located in the store at which the at least one coupon is redeemable, on a computer, on a mobile communication device or combination thereof.

7. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, and further comprising electronically processing the at least one coupon for reimbursement.

8. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 7, wherein electronically processing the at least one coupon comprises comparing the at least one product referenced on the at least one coupon to the list of products sold at the store where the at least one coupon is redeemed.

9. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein the at least one coupon is only redeemable at particular stores.

10. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein the at least one coupon includes information on a location in the store in which the at least one product referenced in the at least one coupon may be located.

11. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein the at least one coupon is generated proximate to a time when the at least one coupon is to be redeemed to encourage the consumer to select the at least one product referenced in the at least one coupon.

12. The coupon generation and redemption system of claim 1, wherein the at least one coupon has a short period of time in which the at least one coupon may be redeemed.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Applic. No. 60/986,285, filed Nov. 7, 2007, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to coupons. More particularly, the invention relates to a coupon generation and redemption system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

One of the promotional techniques used by manufacturers and retailers to encourage the purchase of particular products is coupons. Coupons typically offer a monetary discount on the specified product.

There are two types of coupons—manufacturer coupons and store coupons. Manufacturer coupons are distributed by the manufacturer of a particular product and are redeemable by consumers at a variety of retailers that sell the specified products. Store coupons in contrast are distributed by a particular store and may only be redeemed at the specified store.

While store coupons are processed by the store where redeemed, manufacturer coupons are typically processed by a coupon clearinghouse that sort the coupons for particular manufacturers and then submit the data to the manufacturers requesting payment for the coupons along with a processing fee being submitted to the retailers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An embodiment of the invention is directed to a coupon generation and redemption system that not only enhances the incentives for the consumer to redeem the coupon but also reduces the costs associated with processing the redeemed coupon and reduces fraud associated with coupon redemption.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The invention is directed to a coupon generation and redemption system. The coupon generation and redemption system enables stores and manufacturers to increase the efficiency and decrease fraud associated with coupon generation and redemption.

In contrast from manufacturer coupons, the coupon generation and redemption system generates coupons that may only be redeemable at the store (or chain) in which it was issued. This system thereby supports product manufacturer objective to limit or target promotional dollars to a specific retail account. Since the coupons cannot be redeemed at other stores, the coupon generation and redemption system provides exclusivity to the retail store (or chain).

Coupons produced using the coupon generation and redemption system may have a different look and feel than manufacturer coupons and store coupons. Since the coupons are typically only valid at a particular store, the name of the store may be printed on the coupon.

To aid the consumer in locating the product referenced on the coupon in the store, the location of the item in the store such as the aisle may be printed on the coupons produced using the coupon generation and redemption system.

The coupons produced using the coupon generation and redemption system may be produced proximate to the time when the consumer will be shopping for the products identified in the coupons. For example, the coupons may be produced using a kiosk that is located inside of or adjacent to the retail store where the coupons will be used. One such system is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,151,587, which is assigned to the assignee of the present patent application.

Using such a kiosk in conjunction with the coupon generation and redemption system enables the coupons to be frequently changed based upon a variety of factors such as the day of the week, the time of day and the weather. The kiosk also interacts with the consumer just prior to the consumer selecting products and thereby has the potential of increasing the influence of the consumer's purchasing selections.

Alternatively, the coupon generation and redemption system may be implemented using other techniques such as selecting and printing the coupons on a home or office computer such as by accessing a web site using the internet or other computer network.

It is also possible to generate the coupons on an electronic device such as a mobile computing device, an example of which is a mobile communication device. The facilitate redeeming the coupon, a code and/or a graphic such as a bar code may be displayed on the mobile computing device.

Yet another technique for redeeming the coupon is to associate the coupon with a card such as a credit card or an affinity card. Generating the coupon in this manner would enable the coupon to be redeemed when the card to which the coupon is associated is processed during the purchase of the product referenced in the coupon.

Coupons generated using the coupon generation and redemption system may have a short time of validity before expiration, such as expiring on the same day that the coupon is generated.

Through the use of a time of validity that is much shorter than conventional manufacturer and store coupons, the coupon generation and redemption system supports both the retailer and product manufacturer objective of achieving an immediate call to action and the related purchase of a featured item.

The value of the coupon may be variable depending on factors such as prior purchasing activities of the consumer that is desiring to print the coupon or the prior purchasing activities of the group of consumers that use the coupon generation system.

The value of the coupon may also vary depending the since the coupon has been generated and/or the time until the coupon expires. For example, during each increment of time since the coupon was generated, the value of the coupon may decrease.

Data generated from the use of coupons generated using the coupon generation and redemption system may be electronically accessible for review at the completion of a related transaction. Providing such data gives immediate control over the level of redemptions, as well as the ability to make immediate adjustments to the offer based on actual redemption experience. In contrast, data derived from redemption of manufacturer coupons and store coupons may have delayed availability because of manual processing of such coupons.

The coupon generation and redemption system enables coupons to be electronically processed for reimbursement by the product manufacturer. Electronically processing coupons reduces the time, hassle and money typically associated with retailers and manufacturers handling a paper coupon and processing them for reimbursement through a clearinghouse.

Electronically processing coupons using the coupon generation and redemption system provides the retailer and manufacturer with greatly enhanced auditing capabilities including the day and time of each purchase, the total amount of the purchase, the other products that were purchased in the transaction and the register where the transaction was made.

When consumers attempt to redeem coupons produced using the coupon generation and redemption system, the system validates the coupon to a specific list of products, as opposed to using a manufacturer code and a more generic product family code that is typically used with manufacturer coupons.

The coupon generation and redemption system thereby avoids the potential for mis-redemptions or the prospect of fraud due to a lack of one-to-one pairing either in the redemption of the coupon by the consumer or by the retailer.

Product manufacturers are only billed based on actual redemption data with coupons produced using the coupon generation and redemption system. This pay-for-performance model is in contrast to manufacturer coupons which are pay-by-print and store coupons which are typically supported through a generalized basket of product manufacturer trade funds.

It is contemplated that features disclosed in this application, as well as those described in the above applications incorporated by reference, can be mixed and matched to suit particular circumstances. Various other modifications and changes will be apparent to those of ordinary skill.