Kroger's digital coupon offer improves bargain-buying, but …

July 27, 2010 by Dave Haynes

US grocer Kroger has introduced a digital coupon system that appears to make that whole exercise a lot easier and more interesting.

Instead of getting coupons from here and there and everywhere, and printing them off websites or having printers in kiosks, the coupons are all hived together from a central location of the Kroger website.

CINCINNATI, Ohio, July 22, 2010 – The Kroger Co. has unveiled its all-new digital coupon center, available on its website at The coupon center is an industry-leading combination of manufacturer, Kroger brand and web-only exclusive coupons, all located in one online center. Customers can easily load offers directly onto their Kroger Plus Card or loyalty cards for other stores Kroger operates including City Market, Dillons, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.

Offers include coupons for popular brands such as Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream, Betty Crocker®, Tide® and Raisin Bran®, among others, from companies such as General Mills, Procter & Gamble and Kellogg’s. The site also features great offers for Kroger Private Selection and other Kroger brand products. More than 100 digital coupons are currently available and can be accessed through, the homepage, or the respective websites of each of its family of stores.

“This new digital coupon center makes it even easier for our customers to save money,” said Evan Anthony, vice president of corporate marketing and advertising for Kroger. “Our customers asked to make online coupons easier for them to use and we listened. The time and money they can save is just the latest way Kroger delivers more value to its customers.”

To access the site, customers should visit, where they will be asked to link their Kroger Plus Card information to their account. After doing so, shoppers can select as many offers as they’d like – up to 150 coupons – then click the “Load Coupons to Card” option to digitally “clip” each coupon and add them directly to their Kroger Plus Card. Coupons will be available one hour after they are loaded onto a customer’s card. Each digital coupon loaded to the site is subject to an expiration date, generally within six weeks of being loaded to the digital coupon center.

Kroger has some 2,500 stores unders its own brand and several other banners, like Ralph’s.

I mention this because it makes the exercise of using coupons easier for coupon-clippers, but it doesn’t hit all the right people. While research shows lots and lots of people are mission-based in their grocery shopping – they make lists and have good idea of what they are going to buy – there is still a lot of spontaneity to shopping.

The old saw is that 70 per cent of purchase decisions are made once in store. Better research suggests it is more like 50-60 per cent, as Stephen Platt has pointed out in some articles. Whatever the case, that means there are a lot of people to be influenced in store and a lot of people who did not have items on their list or their loyalty card coupon center. There are heaps of people who just don’t use coupons.

So how do digital displays help? Perhaps a couple of ways:

1 – Displays with prompts could tell smartphone users to download apps that would sync to that loyalty/coupon center off the handset

2 – I’d imagine there’s a way to link near-field RFID to the actual cards and load stuff that way, just by tapping the card to a sensor on the display fascia. That would be a really interesting new way to measure the impact of those screens.

There’s also probably better ways, but I don’t eat, sleep and breathe this retail technology stuff. I do, however, think the way forward in retail has to intertwine all these technologies so they relate and have a collective impact.


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