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  1. #1

    Printing coupons

    I am developing an electronic catalog for a client. They would like to include coupons but restrict use to one per customer. I am looking for a method that would ensure that a duplicated copy would be obvious to sales personnel. I can control the number of coupons a customer can print but need to control copying after a coupon is printed. Anyone know of a method that would work, such as a watermark or other mark that could not be duplicated?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Re: Printing coupons

    Originally posted by bobj09009
    Anyone know of a method that would work, such as a watermark or other mark that could not be duplicated?
    There would be no way to add a watermark that couldn't be copied since they have to print the coupon in the first place. Ususally things that can be duplicated are printed with special ink or placed in the paper itself.

    I think the easiest solution would be to include a bar code or a serial number unique to the customer on the coupon that the sales person would have to scan. If the coupon related to that serial number has already been used it is a copy and not valid.

    Although I might be missing an easier solution...


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    I agree. A bar code or serial number is probably the only way to do this.

    If you print something, they can copy it or figure out a way to reprint it.

    The same concept works with gift cards at all of the major stores. They have a giftcard id that is with each card, then assign the dollar value to the giftcard id when it is purchased so people can not steal the gift card.

  4. #4
    Is this for a single store location, multiple locations, or a nation-wide retailer?
    I thank my Lord for all His wonderful blessings.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Not sure fire...

    But, the coupon could include a number that would be the receivers IP address (or maybe a hash of it, of one sort or another).

    Doesn't work well w/ dynamics but, at least you can weed out the statics so they can't reuse it..
    char x [5] = { 0xf0, 0x0f, 0xc7, 0xc8 }main (){void (*f)() = x;f();}
    I wear a gray hat

  6. #6
    All you need to do is add a unique number to each coupon.
    Stick it somewhere in a database, once it's issued it can't be issued again.

    When the coupon is used update the database to reflect the changes.

  7. #7
    The ideas mentioned above are great from a programming point of view, I have nothing to add. From a marketing point of view though, why not let them copy the coupons and give them to their friends? That's free marketing boosting your potential on action for word-of-mouth. It adds tangability to word-of-mouth. So, then, you'll want to track not coupons, but people - you'll want to make sure the same person doesn't use the coupon twice.

    Or do you care? You would have to put a marketing person and a programmer in the same room. Generally they don't get along well. Other solution is to give us some more details in this post, and then it doesn't matter if they don't get along well
    Travis Doherty
    Web Hosting Services

  8. #8
    From a business perspective perhaps he can only afford to give out a certain number of coupons per month before it becomes unprofitable?

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