Schnucks is getting more serious about coupon fraud — a development that highlights how technology is being designed to protect food retailers as transactions and couponing become more digital.
The grocer has deployed new technology from Inmar Intelligence. More specifically, the food retailer is using a new point-of-sale (POS)-integrated technology called CNFRM (pronounced confirm), which is free for retailers and prevents the redemption of counterfeit coupons in real time at the register. Schnucks is the first food retailer to deploy CNFRM and has immediately benefited from the technology, with the detection of counterfeit coupons within the first week, according to Inmar.
Invalid coupon use costs retailers and CPGs more than $100 million per year, Inmar said. While the direct costs are clear, the indirect costs also have a significant impact on the bottom line. From negative shopper experiences in the lane to missed sales, the true cost of counterfeit coupons exceeds the immediate write-off.
The deployment comes weeks after Inmar Intelligence’s Spencer Baird spoke with Progressive Grocer about his thoughts on the state of food retailing. The conversation included thoughts about how food retailers can respond to the increasing pace of speed and innovation in the industry — traits that, in turn, also help criminals exploit loopholes to conduct fraud.
With Inmar Intelligence’s CNFRM solution, retailers can instantaneously identify valid and invalid offers at the pOS through a cloud-based decision engine that leverages both positive and negative offer file data. This real-time process empowers cashiers to confidently accept or reject manufacturer coupons without slowing shoppers down in the lane. Moreover, CNFRM enables accelerated detection and arbitration of new unknown offers that may be counterfeit. Today, arbitration of unknown offers can take weeks; however, through CNFRM, these offers can be resolved within hours; thereby drastically reducing the time frame for a new counterfeit offer to be wrongfully redeemed.
The secret to CNFRM’s success, according to Inmar, is its cloud-based architecture. It validates scans within 50 to 200 milliseconds, ensuring the most accurate validation process available in the market without slowing shoppers down in the lane. With CNFRM, retailers can also expect:
- Fewer CPG withheld payments on retailer invoiced redemptions, which leads to improved trade relations and the ability to maximize trade funds.
- Complete control over cashier experience.
- Added protection against counterfeiters clearing shelves.
- A comprehensive coupon database maintained by Inmar Intelligence, representing 90% of the offers in market.
- Compatibility with any POS system via integration with RESTful API, enabling real-time data capture for actionable insights and advanced analytics.
- Future product capabilities such as new coupon types and full digital clearing.
"Reducing coupon fraud helps Schnucks remain focused on nourishing people’s lives so that customers can feed and care for their families," said Schnucks VP of Asset Protection Mason Keller. "We are excited to continue partnering with Inmar, because we share in the commitment to prevent loss by identifying coupon fraud in our stores without causing a disruption to the customer experience."
“It’s exciting to see CNFRM’s immediate impact on preventing fraudulent coupons in stores,” said David Mounts, CEO and chairman of Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Inmar Intelligence. “We admire Schnucks’ decision to stop coupon fraud at their locations. They are taking care of their teammates by making it simple for them to identify and respond to counterfeits, while also looking out for their shoppers by safeguarding promotional investments for years to come.”
St. Louis-based Schnucks operates 112 stores, serving customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and employs more than 14,000 associates. The company is No. 67 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.