Coupons on a keychain
A new USB scanner lets you 'virtually' clip n' save.
By Ian Mount, FSB Magazine

(FSB Magazine) -- Do you clip coupons? If so, you're in the minority. Fewer than 1% of coupons ever get redeemed, according to coupon-processing firm CMS.

Vijay Chetty and Fred Paul, co-founders of ScanAps in Los Angeles, think they've figured out how to change that - and save manufacturers and grocers money and time.


ScanAps makes a USB scanner that fits on a keychain and lets shoppers scan paper-coupon bar codes at home and download them in the store.

"We're taking the paper out of the cycle," says Chetty, 45, adding that today's coupons pass through eight pairs of hands between the consumer and store reimbursement, a process that can take four months and costs an average of 24 cents a coupon.

In a late 2004 test at the Green Hills supermarket in Syracuse, N.Y., shoppers who used the device spent 8.3% more and used 26% more coupons, Chetty claims. ScanAps, which has raised $2.2 million, is discussing larger pilots with one national and two regional grocery chains.

But do shoppers want another key fob? "Some people initially liked it and then didn't," says Green Hills director of operations John Mahar. "They liked the concept, but the novelty wore off."

Would you use a keychain scanner for coupons? Is it a great way to save money at the supermarket, or one too many thing to carry around? E-mail here and tell us what you think.


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