How to Redeem a Completed Frequent Buyer Card During Checkout
Let's start with a standard transaction in Checkout. Select Checkout from your header menu or from your homescreen menu. Now start typing the name of your customer into the Lookup search bar until you find them, then Select them.
There are two parts to the Checkout Process on Astro. The first screen is the Checkout Screen, this is where you add the items that your customer is Purchasing to their Frequent Buyer Cards. The second screen is the Redemption/Finish Screen, this is where all the redemptions will take place if your customer has completed a card and earned a free good.
How to Know When Your Customer Has Earned a Free Good
If your customer has completed a frequent buyer card there will be a notification located below the search bar and above all of their Frequent Buyer Cards (see red box below).
If you scroll down through your customers cards and find the card that was completed it will also say on it that the customer is eligible for a reward (see green arrow below).
Unredeemed Rewards Alert under Checkout
There is a small link located on the Unredeemed Reward alert that says Click to See Available Items (see red arrow above). When you click on this list you will see the items that the customer qualifies to receive for free. This gives you and your customer a heads up so you know before moving onto the next page whether the item they chose that day qualifies as a free good.
Click to See Available Items link
Let's say in this instance, your customer brought a bag of the Primal Duck to the counter to bring home that day. Well according to the rules of the program (Lesser or Equal Value Free) the customer can only choose between the Chicken and the Beef formulas as their free bag (since Beef was the Least Valued item they purchased on their card). So now the customer has a choice to make. They can either choose to put back the bag of Duck and grab one of the eligible items instead, or they can choose to purchase the Duck and grab one of the eligible items to take home for free as well.
While you are still on the Checkout Screen, add any items to Today's Purchases that your customer will be paying for today. Do not add the item that they will be taking home for free.
This customer is purchasing some CBD Oil and some treats. They are planning on taking home the Primal Beef for free, so I did not add it as a purchase to Today's Purchases.
Only Ring up the Customer's Purchases
How to Redeem a Card during the Second Half of the Checkout Process
Once you have finished adding your customer's Purchases to Today's Purchases click Checkout to save the first half of the transaction.
Then you will be greeted by either a single Reward Redemption Pop-up or a series of pop-ups preceding the Reward Redemption Pop-up.
If you added more than one purchase to a frequent buyer card you will see the Multi-Purchase Pop-up first, this is where you select whether the customer purchased the items added to a card or if it was a paper card conversion.
If the Frequent Buyer program requires that you record the customer's mailing address before you can redeem their card there will be a pop-up that will give you the opportunity to enter this information and save it on their Pet Owner account. You must enter information into these fields before you can continue.
Customer Mailing Address Required to Redeem - Even though you are adding address information to your customer's accounts doesn't mean that it is immediately available to the manufacturer requesting it. Since our partners are not permitted to contact your customers directly they cannot use these addresses to mail anything to your customers. They also will not have access to these addresses unless you decide to send them to them. The pop-up allows you to collect this customer data just in case it is asked of you.
Now you will see the Reward Redemption Pop-up. This is where you will be selecting the customer's free good from the provided drop-down menu. You can either scan the customer's free item, or you can select it from the drop-down. The drop-down menu will only show eligible items based on the rules of the program (Least Value Free, Most Frequent Purchased Free, Purchased Prior Free). If you scan something and it won't let you add it to the pop-up then that item does not qualify as a free item.
The drop-down menu will show you all eligible items, regardless of whether or not you carry them at your store. Astro will never allow you to redeem a card for something that doesn't qualify as a free good based on the program's rules and requirements, but it is possible to redeem a card accidentally for something that you have no purchase history for. It is best to scan the free good onto the pop-up, but if you have to select something from the drop-down do so carefully. Lack of a purchase history has been the only instance where a distributor has denied a retailer credit.
Reward Redemption Pop-up
This pop-up also contains some useful information just in case you need it.
Below the red drop-down menu, if the program has a rule applied, there will be a link explaining that redemption rule. In this case the rule is Lesser or Equal Value Free, so the link "Lowest Valued Item on Card" will first proceed the lowest valued item the customer purchased; in this case that item is the Primal Beef Nuggets. If you click on the link, Lowest Valued Item on Card it will give you a detailed explanation of how the program determined what free goods the customer qualifies for.
It will also provide you with another option for redeeming the card if you have a customer that is not happy with the free good options they are presented with. Since Astro does not impose on your POS how you offer the earned discount to your customer, you do have a lot of freedom to reward your customer how you see fit. Just remember that whatever you redeem the card for is what you will be credited for. This of course is optional.
If you decide to allow your customer to pay the difference between the item they want and a free good they qualify for make sure that you are redeeming the card for a free good they have purchased before or for an item that you carry at your store. The best way to be sure of this is to select the item that the pop-up says was the least valued item they purchased. In this case that would be the Beef Nuggets.
Equal or Lesser Valued Item Rule Explained
Once you have the free good selected you can click Redeem Selected Items. (If your customer wants to save their redemption for next time you also have the option to select Redeem Later.)
Redeem Selected Items
Now you will see the redeemed item listed under Rewards Earned / Redeemed This Visit. Since the card was redeemed it will say This reward was redeemed this visit. You will also notice that the redeemed card is no longer visible on their list of cards below Checkout. If you need to view redeemed cards again you can click History, which will show you all of the customer's cards both unredeemed and redeemed whether you are currently enrolled in the program they belong to or not.
Rewards Earned / Redeemed This Visit
To the right of the redeemed item you will see a button that says Undo Redemption. This button will allow you to either Undo the Redemption completely, which will save it for the next time the customer comes in. Or it will allow you to remove the item you chose as the Free Good and give you an opportunity to select a different item from the drop-down menu.
Undo Redemption Button
Once you have your customer's card redeemed for their chosen free good you can finish out the transaction by clicking Finished.
How to apply the Free Good discount to your customer's sale in your POS
The method that you choose is up to you. We recommend that you continue to use the same method that you were using to discount a customer's sale when they earned a reward on a paper card.
One thing you need to consider is the sales tax laws in your state. Some states still require customers to pay the full sales tax that they would have paid before the item was discounted even after the item is discounted. If this is something that you are unsure how to do we recommend that you reach out to your POS company's support department.
If the discount is sponsored by the manufacturer or the distributor and you will be reimbursed by either of these parties for offering the discount, the sales tax base is the full sales price and not the reduced sales price. As noted with manufacturer’s coupons, because the tax base is the amount of receipts you receive for selling the product, the states generally don’t distinguish whether the payment comes from the customer or by some third party. This rule is pretty uniform across the country. - Ned Lenhart, TaxJar
This quote is an excerpt from a blog published on the TaxJar website. If you would like to read the full blog here is a link
. This is not an endorsement from Astro for TaxJar, their site just provided the best explanation of sales tax laws that I could find.
How to Remove a Redemption from a Previously Redeemed Card
You can undo a redemption under the second checkout screen using the Undo Redemption button as long as the card was redeemed that same day.
After 24 hours have passed the Undo Redemption button will no longer be available since the redemption occured on a day prior. However, you can find the redeemed card listed under the customer's History, which is accessible from either the first or second half of Checkout.
History lists all of the customers cards. Scroll down until you see the redeemed card you are looking for. If your distributor has not batched the free good into a report then you will see an Undo button at the bottom left of the card. If you click on this button you will get the same options as if you clicked on the Undo Redemption button under checkout.
Redeemed card located under History
If there is no Undo option it means the distributor has batched the item into a report and is either in the process of reviewing the report in order to credit the items on it. Or the item is on a batch that has already been marked as credited. If this is the case you will have to contact us at email@example.com
and let us know you need help re-opening the card. We will need to first seek permission from your distributor before we remove the redemption and reopen the card for you.
What Happens After a Card is Redeemed
Upon clicking Finished to finalize the transaction the free good that was redeemed will show up on one of two Reports.
- If your program is reporting directly to your distributor the item will appear on the Uncredited section of your Distributor Free Goods Credit Status report and will be immediately accessible to your distributor for crediting.
- If your program is a Tracking Program the free good will be sent to your Retailer Free Goods Credit Batches so you can manage its reporting from there.
The card itself will be housed under the customer's History to whom it belongs. You can either leave it there, or you can click Archive in the upper right hand corner to store it in the Archived section of your customer's History. This comes in handy if a customers has a lot of cards under their History.
There are also several other reports that are useful to review for inventory purposes and the like. Here are some articles that go over these reports and how to best use them.
- Participation Reports
- Astro Report Exports
If you notice under your Distributor Free Goods report that an item you recently redeemed is reporting to a distributor you no longer purchase from you will have to update your program enrollment
and choose your current distributor.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are no eligible items to redeem. What could this mean?
If the program is Most Frequently Purchased Free and the item the customer purchased the most often is retired and no longer available on the program then we will have to help you correct the card to make it so it can redeem for either the current version of the item that was retired or for the second item the customer purchased most often.
The other possibility is that the customer purchased an item that was the least valued item in that program, but now that item is retired and no longer available.
Why won't the card redeem for the item the customer wants?
The most common reason for this is that the item the customer wants is not an eligible free item. Review the rules of the program and how they apply to the items the customer purchased previously and the item the customer wants to take home. The easiest way to do this is by Expanding Details on the card. If you see prior purchases listed with (Retired) mentioned at the beginning of the item description it is possible that these items could be influencing the eligible items. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you suspect this.
If you see prior purchases listed below the card that are highlighted in red this means they were purchased outside of the permissible time limit. Even though they no longer count as a qualifying purchase they may still be affecting the eligible items. If you believe this is the case you can move the qualifying items to another card
. Then you can delete the card that contains the expired transactions.
I have advice for both cashiers and managers for how to best handle this for now. And there will be an update released soon that will address this problem and make it a thing of the past.
Cashiers - The most important thing to remember here is that Today's Purchases should only list the items the customer will be paying you for that day. If you see and item listed under Today's Purchases that you just gave away as a free good then you need to remove it from Today's Purchases.
This issue arises most often when the customer has not earned a prior reward but they are about to complete a card once you start scanning in their current purchases. Because of this you are not seeing the Unredeemed Reward notification upon entering checkout, instead it is showing up while you are scanning in items. I have a couple suggestions, one being the best.
- Once you are finished scanning in all of your customer's purchases and you notice then that your customer has just earned a reward, after you click checkout and are met with the Redemption Pop-up select "Redeem Later" and save the redemption for the next time the customer comes in. This way the next time you check this customer out you will see the Unredeemed Reward alert at the very top of their checkout screen above all their cards, and you know not to scan in an item that they are able to redeem that day. The best way to determine what free goods the customer qualifies for is by clicking on the "Click to see redeemable items" link within the Unredeemed Reward alert. (This only applies to Frequent Buyer redemptions, do not save an Offer reward for later.)
- If your customer wants to redeem their earned reward the same day it is earned then you need to make sure that you do not see the item you just gave away for free listed under your customer's Today's Purchases. Let's start with the first screen that you are scanning their purchases into, once you are finished adding items to the sale scroll down and check to see if there is a Unredeemed Reward alert. It will be just below Today's Purchases. If you see one click the "Click to see redeemable items" link and see if one of the items listed matches one of the items you just scanned into Today's Purchases. If there is a match Remove the matching item from Today's Purchases. Then you can click Checkout and redeem the card.
- If doing this removed the Unredeemed Reward alert scroll down and find the Frequent Buyer card. If there are two matching cards, drag & drop the checkmarks from one card to another to make a completed card. If there is one card that is now incomplete the customer will need to make another purchase to redeem the card, so re-scan the removed item to Today's Purchases then tell the customer to grab another bag of the same formula - do not scan that bag into checkout. Then you can click Checkout and redeem the card.
- If you do not catch that there is an item under Today's Purchases that matches the free good redeemed until after you redeem the card, you can click the red Return to Checkout button and then remove that item from Today's Purchases. Then click Checkout and then Finished to complete the transaction.
- The best way to check behind your cashiers at the end of the day, or throughout the day, to make sure no redemption errors were made is by using the Frequent Buyer Participation
report which is located within your Reports menu. Set it to Today. You will be looking at two columns, Rewards Earned and Cards Punched. If you see a customer has earned a reward, check the list of Cards Punched to make sure that an additional card was not punched for that customer today that matches the item it shows they redeemed under Rewards Earned. If you find an error you can look the customer up under Checkout and remove the item from Today's Purchases.