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One Supermarket Makes Digital Coupons Easy to Access in Just-Launched Test

Digital coupons are advertised discounts that require shoppers to individually “e-clip” each coupon they want on the store’s website or app usually before they go to the store. Last year, we highlighted the problem with digital coupons [see original story] at supermarkets because they require having the internet or a smartphone to use. That process effectively shuts out millions of non-tech-savvy shoppers including seniors and low-income folks without such access. And thus they are forced to pay higher grocery prices.

SS digital coupon items

Last November, a coalition of national consumer organizations including Consumer World called on the CEOs of a dozen of the largest supermarket chains to offer an in-store, offline alternative so everyone without electronic access could avail themselves of all the weekly sale items offered at their stores. None of the CEOs responded to us.

Now we learned that Stop & Shop, a leading chain in the Northeast with nearly 400 stores, has just begun a test of a way for all shoppers to easily get all the extra weekly digital discounts without having to use the internet or a smartphone. They are installing a kiosk in select stores right near the main entrance where shoppers simply scan their loyalty card or enter their phone number, and all that week’s advertised digital coupon offers from the Stop & Shop circular will be automatically loaded onto the shopper’s account. No more having to go online to find and individually e-clip the digital coupons you want.

Stop & Shop digital coupon kiosk
See video demonstration


Simplifying all of the above:

Kiosk instructions

That’s all you have to do. The kiosk also provides a printout with special offers for you and a list of some of the digital coupons added to your account. (Suggestion: they need to add all of them to the printout.)

And for those with smartphones, you can check your loyalty card account online to make sure all digital offers have indeed been automatically clipped for you. For example, below you can see that the two digital-only offers shown at the top of this story for chicken parts and ground turkey have been added to MrConsumer’s account just by scanning his loyalty card at the kiosk.

Clipped coupons

We suggest that Stop & Shop and EntryPoint Communications (the developer of the kiosks and its software) simplify the look of the kiosk. There’s too much going on here with multiple signs, irrelevant offers on the computer screen, a product display, and more. The kiosk should, at least initially, simply emphasize to enter your phone number or scan your loyalty card (with a big arrow pointing to the scanner) to get all the advertised digital coupons added to your account. Period.

To their credit, the companies are going to have people posted at the kiosks to guide shoppers though the process of using the system for several weeks after their introduction.

We salute these companies (and those chains that have already adopted kiosks) for stepping up and offering a simple solution to make digital coupons accessible to everyone.

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37 thoughts on “One Supermarket Makes Digital Coupons Easy to Access in Just-Launched Test”

  1. Please spread the word thru pages we can give to our supermarkets about how and where. I am sure the cost can be borne by those who manufacture the machines. Consumers can urge the stores to participate.

    • Alan… Stop & Shop is based in Quincy, Massachusetts and the test has begun in their Newport Avenue store in that city. You can direct executives of your supermarket to them and to our story here at MousePrint.org .

      • Once I scan my card at the Newport Avenue store and have the deals loaded onto my card will I get the discount in any Stop&Shop store or will it only work with purchases from the Newport Ave store?

  2. Food Lion grocers in my area use 3 methods – the kiosk on arrival, download to the card from the internet via email, and shoppers can still use the card scan at checkout. I refuse to shop at any store whether it be grocery or other (I’m talking to you Family Dollar!)

  3. Thanks to Consumer World. It’s been such a disservice to seniors. I hope other big name stores follow suit.

  4. Just ponder this new complexity of having to manufacture and install these kiosks with hoops to jump through (or maybe more appropriately, sheep pens to navigate) simply to get a discount on mostly – if not all – processed junk food. Example: Pop Tarts. Really? Why weren’t those machines that dispense a paper coupon good enough? Because the bearer of such coupons remained anonymous at the checkout counter. They don’t like that. “We’d like to know a bit about you for our files, Mrs. Robinson.”

    • Yes Marty. There is never a coupon for a
      head of cabbage. The only time I can use a coupon is perhaps Thanksgiving when I’m making some traditional (garbage, face it) dish people want.

      • Right on, Pearl! Basic commodities for cooking from scratch go on sale from time to time, and never seem to require a coupon. I believe that is because those anonymous vendors don’t need to know who bought their head of cabbage.

    • I wouldn’t say that all the coupons are no good. For instance, in the example screenshot it looks like S&S was offering a similar offer to what I was looking at from my local food store this weekend, which was a good offer. 1LB of 85/15 ground beef, 1 pack McCormick chili seasoning, 1 12oz bottle of Franks Red Hot, and 1 store brand bag of Fritos style chips for $10.

      This is a great deal and that beginnings of a very healthy meal. My wife and I took that, added $1 can of kidney beans, $1 chopped onion, and $2 worth of chopped red/green peppers for a meal that will last at least a dinner and the next day’s lunch, if not longer.

    • Totally agree with you. What bothers me the most is that with the paper coupons, the consumer is not required to provide a loyalty card or telephone number just to shop, but now just to shop you have to provide more and more personal information to yet another company. It is an invasion of privacy and I quite dislike (hate) it.

  5. Near me there is a Foodtown supermarket. They have had the digital coupon kiosk for years now. All you do is enter your account number or phone number and at the end you give the teller your card or phone number and the coupons are applied.
    This should have been done a while ago to all the supermarkets

    • It’s about time some companies did something. But don’t use a kiosk. Simply have people scan their card at checkout and they would receive a discount on the product in their cart.

  6. It’s true that supermarkets make it difficult for seniors and others with no internet access or cell phone to obtain these discounts. I think it’s because they really don’t want people to get the discounts.

    I recently did everything correctly: visited their website, downloaded the digital coupons and used them at the store. Guess what? They didn’t work and then they disappeared from my phone.

    Luckily, I had written them down on my shopping list and I made Customer Service give me the discounts. I refuse to allow these stores to cheat me.

    They must make it easier for everyone to obtain these discounts and stop with the ridiculous amount of subterfuge.

  7. It’s just creepy how easily we sell our personal information. I’ve never been able to use coupons anyway because I’m not willing to feed my family all this junk. There are never coupons for a head of cabbage or carrots. We are so blessed to have a Winco nearby. It’s an employee owned grocery store, prices are the best around. No credit cards, cash or debit card only. I support this store as much as I can.

  8. What a terrific development for consumers who can’t or don’t use digital coupons! Hope they make this a permanent improvement.
    Kudos to Stop&Shop and to Consumer World for working on making these valuable savings available to all consumers.

  9. This is a great start! I would also like to see something like this for Sam’s Club. There is a cheaper price for phones that can scan bar codes. Mine is an older phone and I’m not going to get a newer one for that. Could do more shopping elsewhere.

    • Unjust policies are proliferating and I don’t know of anything that can stop these companies from implementing them. The onslaught of technology (some good – some bad) is inexorable and, in many cases, it is a pain for instead of making our life easier, it makes it a lot harder for some of us. Plus we usually end up paying more not only for groceries, but for everything else. I really appreciate all that Mr. Consumer does for make us informed consumers. Thanks.

  10. After looking at the video this is a great idea and more grocery stores should have this technology in it.

  11. Food Lion has had these kiosks for over 10 years. They’re really easy to use and sometimes offer special deals or coupons just for scanning your card that day.

  12. I found this article a bit negative. I am very tech literate however, I am cautious on giving out my cell # or purchasing info.

  13. It’s already irritating that we have the “loyalty card.” Simplify by getting rid of ALL of them. Or, at least, just automatically load the e-coupons to the loyalty cards.

    • I agree, Mary. That loyalty card, as I recall, was “for better, instant, just-in-time inventory feedback and control.” That may well be, but is also info-gathering on us; “when something is free, you are the product.” That loyalty card is akin to an ear tag on a cow.

  14. It’s about time some companies did something. But don’t use a kiosk. Simply have people scan their card at checkout and they would receive a discount on the product in their cart.

  15. Most of the items on the e-coupon list are priced considerably lower than the shelf price. In old-style market place these would be the loss-leaders. They hope to get you in the store to purchase the rest of your shopping list while you are in the store getting your discounts.

    If everyone just purchased the items with the e-coupon discount and nothing else at the store, they (the discounts) would quickly be discontinued because the store is probably losing money on those products. The consumer is paying for the discounted products by the higher prices throughout the store. Especially the customers who don’t use the digital coupons.

  16. I thought the headline was that one store was making it easier to use digital coupons? Apparently it’s really about getting rid of loyalty cards completely and giving everyone all of the deals all of the time. That would mean going back to the days of newspaper coupons. Anyone remember those? I do. They were a PIA.

    As far as giving others your shopping information…ok by me. If you live in todays world your data is being collected by someone almost as soon as you wake up in the morning. And if you are really concerned about giving away your data, make sure you pay with cash money. No cards. Or, you can get a place in the mountains and live off the grid.

    In my world, we are retired and on a fixed income. The extra savings offered by the stores is a critical part of our weekly shopping. I am glad to see that one store is making an effort.

    • Glen… This does NOT get rid of loyalty cards and other sale items that require a card. This system ONLY automatically loads items identified as a “digital coupon” items. And to get those, you have to present your card at the checkout. Keep in mind that the weekly Stop & Shop circular, like those at most stores, may have hundreds of sale items. You need your card at the checkout to get those items at the advertised sale price.

      • My comment wasn’t very clear. I was referring to the comments that complained about using loyalty cards. Not the main point of the article itself. As I stated at the end of my post…I’m glad a store is making an effort to include many non-digital shoppers. Sorry for the confusion

  17. Winn-Dixie in Florida has had kiosks for printing whole page coupons for quite some time, however they tend to jam & waste paper. I’m surprised the managers put up with the hassle. It’s also a hassle for customers to find store staff to open machine & get out the printed pages.

    • The test stores are split between MA,NY and CT. I do not have a list of affected stores… but I think it may be a very small number

  18. Well, before smart phones and websites, there was a company in Waltham, I R I that I think disclosed the name of the item and the price on your supermarket sales slip so when you gave your courtesy card to the cashier every discount the store offered that week was already on the courtesy card back in the late 80 s or 90’s if I am not mistaken so why has it become so difficult to download all the sales on the courtesy card again?

  19. Late to return to this conversation, but I was in the neighborhood so I went to the Newport Ave store and I couldn’t find the kiosk to scan my card. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, but I couldn’t find it and I wasn’t inclined to ask.

    However, it did get me thinking about how stupid this is. Instead of going to the expense and trouble of setting up special kiosks in all their stores why not just give everyone with a card the savings automatically instead of making us jump through hoops?
    They’re not only making extra work for us, but for themselves this way.

    • There are two entrances to the Stop & Shop on Newport Avenue. Standing outside, looking at the store, it is the entrance on the right.

      You can’t miss it just inside the entrance in the front of the produce department.

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