Leveraging the power of the fast-evolving blockchain technology, News America Marketing, a marketer of online and offline consumer incentives, announced today it is incubating and testing new ways to modernize how consumers, brands and retailers use incentives. The company will be discussing this at industry forums this Spring. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

Blockchain is a digital ledger of economic transactions that cannot be corrupted and can record virtually everything of value. For incentives, it allows for greater transparency, accountability and security for manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

For brands, News America Marketing foresees that blockchain could free up non-working marketing dollars now being spent on costs such as logistics and clearing, and at the same time providing superior authentication and security not available through existing coupon clearing methods.

Expectations are also that retailers will be paid faster, helping them utilize valuable working capital currently caught up in an antiquated clearing process that dates from the 1950's. With blockchain-authored incentives, brands will also be able to execute much more interesting cross-merchandising and loyalty programming rather than simple cents-off promotions.

Blockchain could also help fight fraud. Since Blockchain transactions by necessity require real-time communication to the blockchain platform from the point of sale during checkout, offers will not only be processed and cleared, they will be authenticated as real by their very existence on the blockchain. This approach would eliminate the lag time and data-disconnect that allows coupon fraud to exist.

Over 90% of the more than 300 billion coupons issued annually are paper and remain the top form of coupons redeemed, even for millennial shoppers. Digital coupons, while on the rise, still represent a minority of coupons redeemed and are mainly tied to retailer loyalty programs or severely limited by closed platforms. Adopting blockchain could break down those barriers and rapidly accelerate the use of digital coupons.

News America Marketing's beta tests will begin in the fall and the company plans to work with tech partners, retailers and brands interested in testing and learning about this new and exciting approach to incentive programming.

"Consumers want a simple, no-hassle experience where a coupon is loaded to their phone and instantly redeemable anywhere they choose to shop. This historically has been a major challenge across markets. Blockchain is a key component of our next generation incentives platform with the promise of achieving our vision for the future of the industry," said Zack Storer, Chief Growth Officer and EVP of Digital, Data and Emerging Technology with News America Marketing.