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Kroger eases digital coupon rules, helping seniors who struggle with apps

Many were missing out on the best deals
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Posted at 5:07 PM, May 25, 2023

CINCINNATI — There is finally some good news for grocery customers frustrated by digital coupons, or who simply struggle to use store apps.

Kroger is now making accommodations for the smartphone-challenged who have been unable to get many digital deals.

Pat O'Brien is among them. She is getting frustrated trying to save money on groceries.

"They are making it too hard," she said. "I mean, seriously."

Like millions of seniors, she struggles with her smartphone and can't access digital coupons that could give her a dollar off on some items.

Tina Hern, an elder caregiver, says the move away from paper coupons is hurting many older, lower-income people that she works with.

"I shop for my older clients because it is so hard and complicated for them to understand," Hern said.

Investigation claimed seniors often miss out

An investigation last summerby ConsumerWorld.org claimed many of the biggest sales are now digital-only.

ConsumerWorld's Edgar Dworsky says digital-only coupons put some shoppers at a disadvantage.

"Anyone who's not connected today is missing out on supermarket savings," he told us at the time.

After that investigation, a coalition of groups including Consumer Action, Consumer Reports, the National Consumers League, and US PIRG, wrote a letter asking stores to end the practice.

But there is finally hope for those who have ever become so frustrated trying to grab weekly deals off a website or smartphone that they wanted to smash their phone. The nation's largest grocery chain says it is listening and now wants to help.

Kroger, which also owns the chains Fred Meyer, Fry's, Ralph's, Harris Teeter, King Scoopers and others, has just issued a statement saying:

"We understand that not all customers choose to engage digitally when shopping with retailers. Customers who would like to take advantage of digital coupons can receive the discounted pricing at any customer service desk."

In addition, Kroger said "customers do not need smartphones to access savings, simply log on to Kroger.com and start clipping," after entering your Kroger Plus Card number. (Read the full statement below)

That means you can clip digital coupons on your laptop at home, that go directly to your loyalty card.

That should be a big help to Tina Hern's clients and so many other people, letting them finally get the discount that younger people enjoy.

No matter what store you shop, ask a cashier or customer service manager if you can't get a digital coupon, and that way you don't waste your money.

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FULL KROGER STATEMENT

"At Kroger we keep prices low every day and strive to accommodate all customers. We understand that not all customers choose to engage digitally when shopping with retailers. Customers who would like to take advantage of digital coupons and do not have a digital account, can receive the discounted pricing at any customer service desk. Customers without digital accounts also have access to many other benefits when shopping with Kroger, including fuel rewards and additional ways to save. The vast number of savings opportunities available are non-digital offers.

Despite the industry increasingly moving away from print offers, Kroger still offers substantial non-digital savings; nearly 80 percent of the coupons offered to frequent shoppers are print coupons mailed directly to customers.

 To eliminate any barriers to digital engagement, we have made creating a digital account and navigating online platforms as simple as possible. Customers do not need smart phones to access savings, simply log on to Kroger.com and start clipping—it’s as easy as sending an email.  Loaded offers are automatically redeemed whether a customer checks out online or in-store. Among all age groups, shoppers tell us they redeem digital offers at a higher rate than print coupons.

 While digital coupons are an added benefit for customers who choose to interact with us digitally, their participation also helps Kroger keep prices low for all customers because it supports our efforts to invest in lower pricing for everyone.

 At Kroger we keep prices low every day and strive to accommodate all customers. We understand that not all customers choose to engage digitally when shopping with retailers. Customers who would like to take advantage of digital coupons and do not have a digital account, can receive the discounted pricing at any customer service desk. Customers without digital accounts also have access to many other benefits when shopping with Kroger, including fuel rewards and additional ways to save. The vast number of savings opportunities available are non-digital offers.

Despite the industry increasingly moving away from print offers, Kroger still offers substantial non-digital savings; nearly 80 percent of the coupons offered to frequent shoppers are print coupons mailed directly to customers.

To eliminate any barriers to digital engagement, we have made creating a digital account and navigating online platforms as simple as possible. Customers do not need smart phones to access savings, simply log on to Kroger.com and start clipping—it’s as easy as sending an email.  Loaded offers are automatically redeemed whether a customer checks out online or in-store. Among all age groups, shoppers tell us they redeem digital offers at a higher rate than print coupons.

While digital coupons are an added benefit for customers who choose to interact with us digitally, their participation also helps Kroger keep prices low for all customers because it supports our efforts to invest in lower pricing for everyone."

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