Vouchers can be difficult to deal with, but with this guide you can benefit from bigger sales.

Love them or hate them, newspaper vouchers are a significant sales driver within the industry and, until an electronic redemption process is accepted throughout the whole of the supply chain, they are likely to be with us for some time to come.

Although the overall numbers of vouchers redeemed in the independent sector has dropped from 160 million in 2010 to 119 million in 2012, the monetary value has increased significantly.

In 2010, approximately £170m worth of vouchers passed through independent retail shops, but this grew to a staggering £185m in 2012 as publishers offered more and more to attract would-be readers and to entice these customers into more long-term subscription offers.

As a retailer, you have the choice to decide whether to accept vouchers or not. However, should you decide not to accept vouchers, you stand to lose out on the benefits of all this promotional activity. Millions of pounds a year are spent by publishers subsidising their products in this way. Yes, there can be pitfalls: all vouchers carry expiry dates and, if you fail to return redeemed vouchers to your wholesaler in time, you may struggle to receive credit. It’s important to remember that vouchers are tantamount to money and should be treated as such.

How to handle vouchers

When handling vouchers, it’s important that you follow the process below:

  • Each week you will be sent a voucher recall note that details the most popular vouchers currently in the market. If you have any vouchers that aren’t included on the recall note, then please write them clearly on the recall note.
  • Please count your vouchers (it’s advisable to check your initial count) and enter the quantities in the spaces provided.
  • Keep the ‘customer copy’ for your records.
  • You will be provided with a voucher recall envelope with its own unique reference number.
  • Please write this reference number on the voucher recall note and your own customer copy.
  • Make sure your customer name and number are also written clearly on the envelope.
  • Put all your vouchers and the voucher recall note into the envelope and seal securely.
  • Send the voucher envelope back to your news wholesaler by the method outlined in their procedures.
  • Your voucher envelope is scanned when received and a confirmation of receipt note will appear on your next available delivery note.
  • If your voucher envelope is lost after it has been scanned in by your wholesaler, you can request an average credit whilst this is investigated if required.
  • Even if you only have a few vouchers each week to return please do so. That way you get all the money you are owed and you lessen the risk of vouchers going out of date before you return them.
  • When you accept a voucher from your customer, double-check the redemption date as out-of-date vouchers are rejected by the clearing house/wholesaler.
  • If a name and address is required from the consumer from whom you are accepting a voucher then please make sure this is filled in as it is a condition of credit.
  • Don’t use your voucher envelope to return anything other than vouchers as it will be sent on to the clearing house unopened.
  • Any query you may have over your voucher credit must be made with your wholesaler without delay.
  • Do not return vouchers for titles that are not supplied by the designated wholesaler.
  • Vouchers will only be accepted for credit if presented for collection not less than 28 days before expiry date on the voucher.
  • Vouchers should be collected at least weekly when presented for collection.
  • Credit should be given on the next available invoice.
  • In order to achieve this, please send vouchers at the beginning of the week in order to give maximum opportunity for scanning. This is especially important where vouchers are not scanned in house.

If you have any issues surrounding voucher credit that your wholesaler hasn’t dealt with promptly, please contact NFRN Connect on 0800 121 6376.

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