Kroger’s One-Stop Digital Coupon Center

Discussion
Jul 27, 2010
Tom Ryan

By Tom Ryan

Kroger last week launched an online digital coupon center that
enables customers to load coupons onto their loyalty-card accounts.
The discount is then automatically deducted at checkout without a paper coupon.

Customers
need to establish a Kroger.com account to connect their Kroger Plus Card to
the coupons. At kroger.com/digitalcoupons, they can then search for manufacturer,
Kroger-brand and web-only coupons across 22 different categories as well as
by "Popularity," "Expiration," "Most
Recent" and "Value."

Up to 150 coupons can be put onto a card
at one time. Coupons are generally available within a few minutes but can take
up to an hour before they can be used in the store. They are subject to an
expiration date, typically within six weeks of being loaded to the coupon center.
More than 100 digital coupons are currently available.

Customers are also able
to print a list of their coupons before heading to the store.

The supermarket
giant has been offering digital coupons for more than two years, but previously,
coupons were scattered around its website.

"This new digital coupon center makes it even easier for our customers
to save money," Evan Anthony, Kroger VP of corporate marketing and advertising,
said in a statement. "Our customers asked to make online coupons easier
for them to use and we listened."

Andrea Deckard, a blogger at www.MommySnacks.net who
shares her money saving tips with readers, said in Kroger’s statement: "The
Kroger digital coupon center is a virtual one-stop savings hub. The digital
coupon site is easy to use and makes it easier to save. There are so many brands
offered, but I’m also happy to see coupons available for Kroger items
as well. I particularly like the ability to sort by category, too. I can quickly
search ‘Frozen
Foods’ to see if a digital coupon is available for a brand that’s
on sale, click to load to my Kroger Plus Card and wait for the discount at
checkout."

Discussion Questions: How would you rate Kroger’s digital coupon website?
What other services or features do you think it could provide to be of even more
value to Kroger shoppers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "Kroger’s One-Stop Digital Coupon Center"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ben Sprecher
Guest
Ben Sprecher
10 years 9 months ago
Kroger is moving in the right direction by making it easier for its shoppers to find and redeem coupons, but there are plenty of opportunities for improvement. For one, the coupons that are presented seem to be untargeted, “mass-selected” coupons. This has several drawbacks. First, it means that manufacturers may not be as willing to offer high face values (for example, “Buy 2 Save $1 on Any Size Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch” is running right now), since many redeemers would have bought anyway, and a high face value would simply undercut the brand’s margins. Second, since offers do not reflect each user’s demonstrated purchase preferences, there’s more chaff for each shopper to wade through. Combined, these factors can significantly reduce the value to non-hardcore-deal-seekers. For another, the fact that shoppers need to go to a website in the first place means that some of the most valuable shoppers–the ones who are less price-sensitive in the first place–will never see the coupons and will therefore not be influenced by them. Ironically, even in today’s economic climate,… Read more »
Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
10 years 9 months ago

The interesting thing about the Kroger announcement is that there is no mention of a service provider. It appears Kroger has developed the IT services for presenting coupons to their customers and integrating selections with the checkout process themselves. Many other companies have implemented similar capabilities using third party service providers to avoid the design and development costs. I can only assume Kroger looked at their volumes and what a third party would charge before they decided it would be cheaper to build the IT systems themselves.

David Dorf
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Pushing coupons to your mobile phone then scanning them at checkout is an unnecessary burden. I prefer Kroger’s approach because associating coupons with a loyalty card makes them much more transparent. Kroger’s site seems to allow basic filtering and sorting so its easy to find the coupons of interest. They could have used a checkbox to allow consumers to select multiple coupons at once but probably decided on the “add button” so consumers are forced to be more overt in their selections.

After all, the coupons are about affecting consumer behavior so you don’t want them blindly loading all coupons onto their card.

Max Goldberg
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

This is a great step from Kroger. It saves consumers time and money. I wonder if it will encourage consumer sampling, the same way an FSI does, or will it primarily allow consumers to save some money on products they would purchase anyway.

Liz Crawford
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Finally! A digital coupon center seems like the most obvious need in the world, to a shopper. An aggregator site like that is sure to get a lot of eyeballs and attention. Prime spot for vendor advertising and branding.

Next app–download centralized coupons onto mobile device.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

This is an excellent move by Kroger to grab the lead in digital coupons. Other grocery chains will jump on this bandwagon quickly. That is one thing about the grocery business. Not one chain has the luxury of doing something technologically different without others following swiftly.

Phil Rubin
Guest
10 years 9 months ago
Kroger’s digital coupon center is a significant step ahead of the in-store kiosk approach from Sam’s Club we recently discussed here. It’s easy to use, gets customers to the Kroger site(s) and allows them to select relevant offers. The key to long-term success lies with Kroger’s ability to leverage the data provided (which customers select which coupons) against its in-store transactional data from those same customers. In order for this to be a win for all parties–Kroger, it’s suppliers and its customers–there has to be measurable value for all. The customer is the easier part as long as the coupons provide meaningful discounts (they do) but for Kroger and the CPG companies there has to be incremental lift in sales and not just in total, but for specific customers. If these discounts only go to existing customers of those products, then it’s dilution, not sales gain. Of course given Kroger’s investment in dunnhumby, this is unlikely the case and this should be huge for Kroger and ultimately set a new bar for others in the… Read more »
Mike Romano
Guest
Mike Romano
10 years 9 months ago

Nice start, but only a 50% solution, in my opinion. Again- grocers like Kroger and CPGs know how to crank out coupons better than anyone whether via FSIs or online. However, Kroger is treating online couponing the only way they know–mass distribution, just in a different channel. They are missing out on optimizing shopper loyalty.

The key here is gaining loyalty on the backside via mobile and allowing the customer to un-tether from Kroger’s online system. They need to close this loop with mobile, mobile apps, mobile cell phone identifiers, LBS, etc.

One reader intimated Kroger was cheap and liked to develop their own systems internally. I suggest this should be one area of opportunity; an external investment in intelligent strategy is worth the money.

James Tenser
Guest
10 years 9 months ago
Kroger earns a gentleman’s “C” from me for this welcome but not-entirely-inspiring solution. The ability to load coupons onto the frequent shopper account is a progressive innovation that turns the card into a kind of “virtual wallet.” But only a subset of shoppers routinely engage in the kind of pre-planning that would lead them to take advantage of the Kroger digital coupon web page. Those that do would be required to redeem manufacturer coupons sourced elsewhere in a separate process at the checkout. Another limitation: It will be hard for shoppers to remember what coupons are loaded onto their card accounts without a printed list. This seems to me like a barrier to redemption. A more comprehensive, shopper-friendly solution would link coupon offers to each shopper’s behavioral profile. It would integrate with a shopping list functionality for those who do plan. It would offer multiple modes of interaction in addition to the Web page, including one or more “savings station” kiosks (with printers) located near store entrances and apps for mobile phone users. All in… Read more »
Gene Detroyer
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

This is the same program recently introduced at D’Agostino’s, Food Emporium and Duane Reade. While redemption is easy, selection is cumbersome and not very compelling. Shoppers must go through too many coupons to find ones that might be appealing.

The critical factor is missing–that is, using customer shopping data. By using the customer shopping data and profile, Kroger could email their frequent shopper and tell them that specific coupons on products that they would be interested in are available.

This program is an example of the retailer using the internet to mass market rather than to personalize their effort. It is using the tool inappropriately.

Bill Hanifin
Guest
10 years 9 months ago
My comments are incremental to those of Messrs. Sprecher and Rubin. On the surface, the facilitation of coupon gathering is brilliant and I presume that there should be a benefit to loyalty card members for going to the trouble to visit the coupon site and download coupons. It was not mentioned in the post, so I think it must not be part of the introduction, but a later development. Concerning incremental customer visits and sales, the macro play here is that customers may shift from a competitor to Kroger to take advantage of the new service. That is the bigger opportunity for Kroger as I see it–introduce a service which causes consumers to break the mental “tie” and choose to shop at one of their stores. There is less surety that existing customers will buy more or visit more often. More than likely, those consumers who are coupon addicts will now just gather more and save more on the same basket purchased. Using the data from the loyalty card to push coupons selectively to members… Read more »
Odonna Mathews
Guest
Odonna Mathews
10 years 9 months ago

Kroger’s digital coupon center seems to offer choices and convenience as well as savings. I am not sure the one hour turnaround time in the store for coupons to appear makes sense and encourages consumers to make their choices ahead of time. Not everyone wants to do that. I agree with other comments that targeted coupons make more sense to consumers, but perhaps that can be built into the system eventually.

kirk sanders
Guest
kirk sanders
10 years 9 months ago
Nice try, but consumers (in any critical mass) won’t go to a website and filter their way through the selection of coupons and then load them to their card. Too many obstacles. It simply takes too much time and effort. While this may be a step forward for KR, the offering remains two steps behind consumer benefits. If other CPGs copy this consumer-coupon interface format in order to “get in the game,” it will be wasted capital. My guess is, only a limited number of consumers will utilize this website. Maybe that’s what KR actually wants. KR was able to build the site (internally) inexpensively (saving KR money) and they designed it around “how” they wanted to make it available. But consumer studies over the past several years indicate different needs and wants then what this website “process” provides. It appears that KR has worked from an internal mindset (what they know/want to actually provide) versus providing what’s optimal for the consumer (consumer survey results). Simplicity, ease-of-use, availability and immediate gratification and benefit. When you… Read more »
newu ser
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

An in-store kiosk would work wonders for this. Not everyone has computer access. There should be a kiosk in the store where shoppers can scan their card and select offers.

I remember such kiosks in Lucky Stores operated by American Stores in the 1990’s, promptly removed by Albertsons when Albertsons converted those stores. You scanned your card and up popped the “extra reward” offers, and a shopping list then printed of your selected offers.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

What grade would you give for Kroger’s digital coupon website?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...