By Tom Cosgrove, Senior Manager, Industry Relations, FMI
Inflation is up across the board for U.S. shoppers, and grocery is no exception. FMI’s recently released “2023 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends – Shopping Trends” report finds that grocery shoppers are using a number of strategies to save money, including shopping around at different stores and seeking deals to get the best prices.
More than two-thirds say they’re spending more on groceries than they were a year ago, while just 25% say they’re spending about the same amount. This could be because shoppers are simply “consciously cutting their spending out of necessity, with little room to spend more.”
As consumers increasingly look to stretch their grocery dollar in this inflationary environment, cost saving measures such as using coupons continue to grow. Unfortunately, the legacy printed coupon standard, (AI) 8110, has experienced negative growth due to a decrease in paper distribution and problems with fraud.
Thankfully, members of FMI and the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) have coordinated to build and grow the Joint Industry Coupon Council (JICC) to help combat this trend. Due to this effort, the industry is fortunate to be able to transition to a new coupon standard, (AI) 8112, the Universal Coupon. (AI) 8112 provides universal, single-use coupons validated in real-time through The Coupon Bureau’s (TCB) Positive Offer file.
Although the initial version of (AI) 8112 was only available via mobile, it is now viable in any medium. (AI) 8112 was published and ratified March 2020 and is now utilized in many leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) organizations. As a non-profit, TCB is supporting the technology with guidance from other organizations, such as the Association of Coupon Professionals (ACP), JICC, FMI, CBA, and several other industry associations. This group is also working to educate and enable all industry stakeholders.
The Coupon Bureau will be hosting a series of workshops over the next four months in order to facilitate connectivity before the 2023 holiday season this fall and winter. These workshops will include technical resources and solution providers that can facilitate compliance and connectivity to the (AI) 8112 standard at no cost. Direct connection is also supported.