MFG Sponsored Coupons | How to Redeem a Coupon with a RestAPI Style POS Integration

MFG Sponsored Coupons | How to Redeem a Coupon with a RestAPI Style POS Integration

Coupons can only be redeemed on Standard Astro Accounts. At this time, Coupons are not compatible with POS Report style or Nightly Data Feed style Astro Accounts.

The information in this article applies to retailers who are using a RestAPI style POS Integration such as the ones available for Pinogy and Petshop360, or if you are using a RestAPI style POS integration that was customized specifically for your store/s personal POS system. 
Customers must come into your store in order to redeem a Coupon. At this time they are not able to redeem a private coupon via an integrated eCommerce website such as eTailPet.

What is a RestAPI POS Integration?

A RestAPI style POS Integration, in most cases, provides a full integration with Astro. This means that your POS is handling the import of purchase data into Astro for you and it is also telling you when an item is redeemable as a Free Good in Astro and giving you the means to finalize that redemption without ever leaving your POS. The key take away here is that this style of integration is 100% contained within your POS and you, as a cashier, never actually see or enter Astro to add purchases or finalize redemptions. 

How does my use of a RestAPI Style POS Integration affect how I participate in a MFG Sponsored Coupon promotion?

At this time [March 2020] MFG Sponsored Coupons are brand new. The code driving them has only just been introduced to Astro. The POS companies friendly with Astro that have developed POS contained integrations to allow their systems to communicate with Astro had to develop code to allow your POS to communicate with specific aspects of Astro. For instance, everyone using a RestAPI integration has code built in that helps them communicate with at least one aspect of Astro, and in most cases this is Astro Frequent Buyer. There are still other parts to Astro such as Astro Offers, Astro Loyalty Points, Astro My Promotions (subsection of Marketing Suite) and now Astro MFG Coupons. In order for your POS System to be able to integrate with Astro MFG Coupons your POS Company will need to once again collaborate with Astro in order to write additional lines of communication to allow that section of Astro to communicate with your POS. 

Don't worry though. If you really want to participate in a private promotion released on the MFG Sponsored Coupon platform you can still do so. It just takes a little extra planning. 

Preparing for the Launch of a Pending/Ready Coupon

You will always have at least a week or more to prepare for a published MFG Sponsored Coupon. During this time you can decide whether you want to participate, stock up on product, and determine exactly which customers will be invited to the coupon event. The following are some tips and tricks to help you get your store and your staff ready. 

Accept the Pending Coupon if the Promotion Interests You

First let's decide whether or not you want to participate in the coupon promotion. If you do not carry the product promoted, and have no interest in bringing it on at this point, then you can Decline the Pending Coupon. 
If you want to participate it is best to Accept a Pending Coupon rather than letting it continue to show a Pending Status. This lets your brand rep know you are locked and loaded and getting ready. Your brand rep is most likely who nominated the customers at your store to be invited to participate, and they want to know which of their retailers are open to these kinds of promotions. If you need help bringing in extra product to cover the promotion, let you brand rep know! They may be able to help or offer some advice.

Export the List of Qualifying Items the Coupon is Promoting

This will help you decide whether or not you are able to, or want to, participate. To find Export Product List you may need to scroll to the bottom of the Coupon Details. To export the list click that link. If the Coupon rewards a Rebate (dollars off) each item listed will say the $off that is offered. If the Coupon rewards a Free Good those items will simply be listed.

It may be a good idea to keep this list of items by the register so the cashiers are aware. 
This Coupon is not for all of your customers. Only a select few of your customers were chosen by the brand offering the promotion based on their past purchase history. So be very careful that you do not overly promote this coupon, or issue a reward to a customer that you will not be able to later redeem in Astro.
If you Accepted the Pending Coupon then your customers invited to participate who have email addresses associated with their Astro Petowner Accounts would have received an email from the vendor telling them they have a reward waiting for them at your store. This means that there is an excellent chance that a customer will be aware of the coupon before coming into your store and would seek out the products qualifying for the Coupon. 

Export the List of Customers Invited to Redeem the Coupon

Initially you will be able to see at a glance the number of coupons that are getting ready to Activate when the promotion begins. This will be located to the right of the coupon. 
In the example below there are 3 Coupons and 3 Pending Communications. Because 3=3 there must be 3 different customers that will be invited to redeem this coupon. 

To find out exactly who those customers are click on the blue title of the coupon to expand its details. Then click where it says Export Customers below Astro Coupon Details. [See Orange arrow]

This will generate an excel sheet similar to this one:

If you have already Accepted your Coupon then the Coupon Status on your export will say Ready instead of Pending. Once the launch date of the coupon approaches and passes your Coupon Status will become Active. 

Make a Note of the Invited Customers

Now you have the inside scoop and you know exactly what customers qualify for this reward you can better plan how you will go about redeeming the coupon for them. 
This next step may require some ingenuity depending on the tools available to you in your POS. 

Ability to Add a Note to a Customer Account in your POS

Some POS Systems provide you with a section where you can add a Note pertaining to the customer. Pinogy, for instance, allows for this. Depending on how many customers are on your invite list you could preemptively lookup each of their Customer Accounts in your POS and add a note to their account that you would be able to refer to during checkout. 
Then if you are checking out a customer and they are purchasing an item pertaining to the MFG Sponsored Coupon you can quickly check the note you have saved on their POS Account to see if they were one of the customers on the list. 

Using Pinogy as an example, you can add a note to a customers account by first locating the customer on your Customers menu and selecting them. 

Then you can select the Notes tab. 

This tab contains 2 small text fields above a large text field. One small fields is for a "Warning" the other is for "Info".

Both of those fields, if information is added to them, will create corresponding icons on the checkout screen below the customer's name that will quickly alert you to the presence of a saved Note. In this example I added a note beside Info stating "monster naturals coupon pending" and it appears very clearly below their name and email address. 

After you redeem a coupon for a customer you can remove the note entirely from the "warning" or "info" field, then if you like you can add a note to the larger, Private, body that says something similar to "Monster Naturals MFG Coupon Redeemed in Astro on 3/12/2020". We'll address how to actually redeem the coupon momentarily.

Another way to Alert your staff to an Unredeemed Coupon without adding a Note to your POS

This method is much simpler and directly involves those 2 exports you generated (Customer Export & Product Export). These documents can either be printed and placed in a safe place beside the register, or they can be saved as a Google Drive doc or saved directly onto your register computer.
You mainly want to be able to refer to the Customer List quickly while you are checking out a customer. A good analogy here is that you are the doorman guarding a private party and you want to be able to check the list to make sure a customer is on it before you issue them the reward.
You are taking these measures because your integration will be unable to tell you that there is a pending coupon and it will not be able to help you redeem that coupon. I'm sure you are thinking, "So wait a minute, how do I redeem the coupon then?"

How to Redeem a MFG Sponsored Coupon for a Customer on Astro independently of the RestAPI Integration

Now this is where all the prep tips I mentioned previously will make sense.  In order for you to properly redeem the coupon you will need to login to Astro directly via as either an Admin or a Cashier User. 
If you ring up the customer in your POS it will import the purchase to Astro and add the purchase to a Frequent Buyer Card. When you ring up the Coupon in Astro it will add the qualifying purchase to a Frequent Buyer Card. If you do not want to give your customer a double purchase credit for the same single item the best order to perform this transaction is this one. 
  1. Look up the customer in your POS. Determine from your notes or the list whether they qualify for the coupon.
  2. This is an extra step, but I still recommend it to be safe. Look up their Petowner account in Astro to be 110% sure they have an unredeemed coupon waiting for them. But do not redeem that coupon yet. Select Cancel to exit the Petowner account. 
  3. Return to your POS, ring up the items they are purchasing and apply the discount they have earned from the coupon, this will either be $off or a Free Good. 
  4. Finalize the sale in your POS to commit the import to Astro. 
  5. Now you can return to Astro. Lookup the customer's Petowner account again. 
  6. Now you should see items listed under Today's Purchases, the coupon that was once pending will also now have a button on it that says Redeem. Click that button and follow the prompts to complete the redemption. 
  7. To completely finalize the redemption you will need to click where it says Checkout, then on the next screen you should see where it says the coupon was redeemed. 
  8. To exit the Petowner Account and finalize your manual edits click where it says Finished
For a more detailed walkthrough on how to redeem a coupon in Astro manually check out the following article Astro Coupons | How to Redeem Coupon.

Check Behind Yourself Intermittently Before the Coupon Promotion Expires

This is to make sure that all coupon redemptions that were rewarded to customers in your POS were also redeemed in Astro. If you return to the coupon listed under your Offers menu within MFG Sponsored Coupons, and you export another Customer List that list will tell you exactly what Coupons were "Redeemed" below the Status column. Compare this export to a report acquired from your POS showing applied discounts (most POS Systems are able to generate reports providing these details). 

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