O2 LAUNCHES NEW MOBILE VOUCHER SCHEME

O2 today announces the launch of an innovative new mobile voucher payment system for newsagents developed in conjunction with 2nDimension. The new Instant Voucher System (IVS) will allow retailers to scan customers’ discount vouchers using mobile phones, taking away the headache of manually checking, sorting and redeeming newspaper vouchers. Millions of newspaper and magazine promotional vouchers are redeemed through newsagents every week. Each voucher needs to be checked, sorted and counted before being sent back to the newspaper wholesaler in order for the retailer to be paid. It is time consuming and affects cash flow which is putting off many independent newsagents from accepting vouchers. The Instant Voucher System is comprised of a Nokia E50, O2 GPRS data connection and special barcode scanning software developed by 2nDimension. The voucher is scanned using the mobile phone’s camera with the data instantly checked against a central system. The two dimensional barcode ensures that every single voucher is unique providing huge advantages for promoters using the system. Each week, all of the retailer’s voucher transactions through the system are summarised and the money owed transferred directly to their bank account. The entire system is standalone, which means it can be placed in any retailer regardless of their current standards of equipment. The IVS provides a far more efficient way of handling vouchers, saving newsagents time and money in addition to reducing fraud. It also offers greater flexibility for newspapers in running promotions and allows them to deal directly with retailers, speeding up the return of consumer data as a result. Newsgroup Newspapers (The Sun and The News of the World), is rolling out IVS for their readers in the North West of England, who will be able to have their vouchers scanned at any one of the retailers participating in the scheme. This follows a trial of the service by Newsgroup Newspapers, The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Daily Mail in Kent where 700,000 vouchers were used in the system over eight months in 160 retailers. “IVS is a fantastic example of how by working with innovative application partners we can create bespoke solutions for our customers,” said Ben Dowd, General Manager, Business Sales, O2 UK. “We look forward to working closely with 2nDimension to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by mobile vouchers in this space.” Systems such as IVS offer significant opportunities for retailers beyond newspaper vouchers. Promotions could be run on anything from crisp packets through to soft drinks and be quickly and efficiently redeemed through newsagents using the system. Promotional vouchers could even be sent directly to consumers’ mobile phones and redeemed in store using the scanners. David Atkins, managing partner at 2nDimension, commented, “IVS is already providing real, tangible benefits to retailers and we look forward to rolling this system out to other newspaper publishers, not to mention other sectors of the market as they come to realise the benefits this system can bring.”