Kroger

To all the frustrated shoppers in areas where Kroger has eliminated double coupons, who are now vowing to shop elsewhere – Kroger isn’t too worried about losing your business. In fact, you’re just helping to make Kroger’s case for eliminating double coupons in the first place.

Talk about making a bad situation even more frustrating.

Kroger stopped doubling coupons in its Mid-Atlantic stores just over a week ago, adding to a growing list of non-doublers that now includes parts of Ohio, Texas and Kroger-owned Ralphs stores in California.

Speaking at a recent retail investment conference, Kroger’s chief financial officer said double-coupon fans may be vocal, but they’re not necessarily all that valuable (a notion echoed by many retail analysts). And if losing them as customers is the price Kroger has to pay for doing away with doubles, so be it. “When you step back and analyze (double coupons), it’s a very expensive reward proposition that a very small number of your customers actually engage in,” Kroger CFO Michael Schlotman told BMO Capital Market’s Farm to Market conference in New York last week. “They’re a very vocal part of your customer base, and they don’t like it when you stop giving them that reward. But the percentage of customers who actually enjoyed the benefit of that, our view was we were better off taking those dollars and investing them in better prices for all of our customers rather than rewarding just a select segment of our customers.”

And if that “select segment” of customers takes their business elsewhere as a result, Kroger figures that just proves they’re not really loyal customers. Never mind that double coupons may have been the reason many customers were loyal to Kroger in the first place. But customers who stick around are the ones Kroger is really looking to reward.

Schlotman emphasized some of the other coupon programs Kroger offers – programs that reward customers’ loyalty, not their ability to sniff out the nearest store that offers the best double-coupon deals.

“If you look at the quarterly mailings we do, the redemption rate on that is extremely high – multiples of anything that would happen from a free-standing insert,” Schlotman said. Four times a year, Kroger mails some 9 million coupons to select households, and more than 90% of them are unique to that particular recipient. Schlotman said the customized coupons sent to customers are meant “to reward them for shopping with us.”

In addition, “if you look at the digital coupons, the number of people that go to the Kroger app and then within a very short time frame visit a store and actually use the digital coupons they may have downloaded at home, is an extremely high conversion rate,” Scholtman continued. “So in our mind, it’s doing what we want it to do.” Kroger’s load-to-card digital coupons are geared toward loyal customers who prefer not to bother with paper coupons. And using the Kroger app to download coupons, Schlotman said, means that “if you’re in the beverage aisle, you can just click on beverages and the coupons that are out there digitally for the beverage aisle will pop up, where you can click on that coupon, add it to your loyalty card and when you get to the front of the store you’ll get the discount electronically.” No planning required – just grab what you need, and click to see if there’s a discount available before you pay. That might make a serious couponer cringe, but it’s just what the casual couponer seems to like.

So if mailed coupons are meant to reward loyal customers, and a large number of those coupons are redeemed – and digital coupons are meant to reward those who might not otherwise use coupons, and a large number of those are redeemed – it seems the minority who clamor for double coupons don’t really matter so much in comparison. Double coupons were invented as a marketing gimmick, after all – a way to make one store more appealing than another. But as everyone started doing it, and the perk became permanent, Kroger began looking for new ways to set itself apart from the competition. Let the other guys offer double coupons and get all the business from those cherry-picking shoppers who only care about getting the best deals, Kroger appears to be saying. We’ll instead offer personalized discounts to our best customers, and keep them coming back.

“We understand that this is a significant change and we didn’t make this decision lightly,” has been Kroger’s boilerplate response to those who’ve complained on its Facebook page about the end of double coupons in many of its stores. “We’re confident that you’ll be able to take advantage of the many alternative ways we help our customers save.”

And if you don’t? Well, enjoy shopping elsewhere. It seems Kroger will be too busy pleasing its most loyal customers to care.


17 Comments

  1. Interesting. I am not an extreme couponer by any means. Couponing became a necessity when pay cuts started happening. When Kroger stopped doubling my grocery bill instantly went up forcing me to start seriouly shopping at other stores. I happen to be one of those customers that often get the “personalized” Kroger coupons in the mail. But guess what? My Publix takes those Kroger coupons and doubles them at their store. So I’ve started shopping more at Publix. Why would I remain loyal to Kroger? They offer me nothing to remain loyal too. Now on average I spend more shopping at Kroger then Publix which is ironic because Publix traditionally has higher prices then Kroger.

  2. This will not affect Kroger’s at all. Kroger’s doesn’t make money off double coupons especially when the product becomes free. All it does is create Out of Stocks on the shelf daily and piss off the normal customer that is not looking hoard 100 cases of toothpaste.

    Well done Kroger, I hope all store follow the same suite!

  3. These are the people that abuse the coupons and rob the shelf with everything and there Is nothing left to shop for the normal customer. That’s why they are doing it. It’s annoying to see one customer with 100 of the same thing in there basket and I can’t get one.

  4. Not so loyal anymore says:

    I’ve been shopping at kroger since I could go to store by myself. I have couponed and I have went and shopped without coupons. My whole family shops at Kroger.I actually worked in Kroger wharehouse which let me tell you was the worst job I ever had. They hire you on salary telling you you may have a little overtime only you don’t get paid overtime because you are on salary. Let’s try everyday you worked over and lucky if you got out in 12 hours. Never so glad to get out of that awful place. They treated you like crap that’s why they have a big turn around out there and always hiring. Well Kroger now you want to treat your costumer the same. Who do you thinks pays your salarys? Well Krogers I’m as loyal as they come I’ve been shopping there for 35 years but if I can take my coupons and get it cheaper at Wal-mart why would I not go there and shop? Let me answer that for you Mr. CEO I will go to Wal-mart and shop from now on. I know you are trying to get rid of the extreme couponers. What next the poeple who uses food stamps? Well good luck with that. I can’t wait until there is a new president and the food goes down. I guess you will be another Winn-Dixie, Where are they Mr.CEO? When stamps goes down then what is Kroger going to do then? Because it will happen sooner or later. You took out Winn-Dixie now I guess it’s Wal-Mart’s turn to take you down and it your own doing.

  5. concerned says:

    i shop at frys mainly bcuz they double coupon so i get a better deal on things i need. we live on budget and im able to get more things that we need bcuz of the coupons than i would at walmart and other stores. if you dont double coupons ill def have to go back to those stores bcuz ill be able to get more for my buck. i gotta do what i have to do to survive in this economy. most of the cashiers at are store complain about couponers and stuff but as i reminded one of them imagine you had no couponers at all and with how high their prices theyd possibly go out of business and theyd be without a job.

  6. coupon habit says:

    I started shopping at Kroger’s because of their doubling coupons. Their sales with a coupon (doubled) made them the best place to shop in my area. I will miss the doubling of coupons. I like shopping at Kroger’s not only for the coupons but for the service as well. I will continue to shop there as long as I still receive good savings. Economy is tough to be a loyal customer for a higher price.

  7. Luckily our stores here have not stopped yet. All grocery stores do. With that being said, I still choose to shop Kroger as it has the best deals for couponers. However, if they stop here locally, I will be forced to change stores and I hate it because I i love Kroger’s, but bottom line is I have to get the most bang for my buck.

  8. Arrogant. Yes! There are to many of us “couponers” to take this lightly. I use to shop exclusively at Meijer and only pick up sale items with coupons at Kroger. For the past 2 years I changed that around. I rarely go into Meijer or Wal Mart and have done 99% of all my grocery shopping at Kroger. Our district has not stopped doubling yet but when it does I’m going back to shopping at Meijer and Wal Mart. There everyday prices are always cheaper! He says he’s not worried about the couponers taking our business elsewhere. Really? OMG, that is an unreal statement! Oh, I’ll still shop at Kroger, and probably weekly but it will be for sale items that have coupons where I can get the deal cheap or free. But I guarentee that I will NOT buy anything else there! No meat, no dairy, no veggies or fruits…NOTHING! Only sale items with coupons where it will be cheaper then the other stores. If we need a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk I will drive out of my way a bit to get this stuff someplace else rather then give Kroger my business. If enough of us do this, and I’m sure there will be thousands of us, their bottom line will be hurting! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. CEO.

  9. In better words kroger does not give a crap about some customers as long as they are making a buck. and just wait their prices will not go down.
    walmart and meijers beats kroger prices anyday without coupons. so if kroger is not loyal to their customers and talk like that about some customers than why be loyal to them.

  10. there are only about 6 in michigan that still double, the thing is the manufacture pay’s them for coupon’s. Meijers takes expired coupons, and i think they take target or krogers. if the price is low enough they take 1 store coupon and 2 printed, dollar stores do, family dollar, cvs, wallgreens, dollar general. don’t see why Kroger quit doubles, but if you can find one of their coupons they have to take 2 printed. one lady argued with me and i was new to this so i just gave up. my daughter-in-law get all kinds of free stuff. she said ask for store manager and you can print out store coupon policies and put them in your book. Did you see the buy 10 participating products and get 50 cent’s off and with coupons it’s not bad, if you use $1.00 coupons and buy the small item. but i’m not sure if this is another way of taking away rewards making you buy 10 participating products better deal with personal item’s and cereals on sale at drug stores

  11. Let me see if I understand what I just read.
    ~If the CEO of Kroger kicks his dog and then that dog runs away from home…that just proves that the dog was NOT loyal and deserved to be kicked in the 1st place.~
    Did I get that right?

    The real reason Kroger quit doubles? They think it will improve profits. And anyone who says that they did it ‘for’ their customers or to increase the ‘savings’ that customers enjoy is either an a$$ or an idiot.

    • I agree with you 100% Kroger is just trying to make their greed seem like a gesture of good will to their “Loyal Customers.” Hogwash!

  12. Sounds very arrogant! JCP had the same attitude and arrogance and look what happened, sales plummeted and the president or CEO was fired!!! More and more people are really using coupons, so why would we shop at Kroger when we can get it cheaper elsewhere. Stop counting the couponers out!!! I would stop shopping at Kroger just for their attitude and arrogance alone!!!!!!!!

  13. YeahRight says:

    I live in an area where no stores double-coupon. I wouldn’t trust that data they released. I think it’s just a form of conditioning to modify and manipulate a shopper’s behavior. If they didn’t “care” about certain (double-coupon) customers then I think that’s discriminatory and very revealing about the way they run their business. I personally will not shop at a store that I think is unfair to a group of shoppers. What’s happening to America, you know?

  14. Well, it looks like Walmart would be getting more customers. I hate Walmart. But if Kroger stops with coupons I will go to Walmart and Safeway. I love how Kroger states they cut their prices. They raised their prices and then added the tag they the cut the price back.

  15. Hey Kroger, put your money where your mouth is, take away doubles in all Krogers, Fry’s and affiliates since you don’t give a hoot about customers that use coupons except your digitals and mailed coupons. You have alienated thousands of customers already, so what’s a few thousand more? In case you haven’t noticed, the economy is bad and people look for the best prices anywhere and everywhere. You really think someone on a budget is going to buy items at your store if they’re cheaper at another? By your definition, you want customers to be dumber not smarter, and this is your definition of loyal? By the way, where are those lower prices you promised? Oh, and another thing, you sell expired products constantly. Get your act together and stop blaming couponers for your woes.

    • coupon mom of 5 says:

      well said Myrtle!!
      As a mother of 5, family of 7, my family survives off of coupons. I shop mostly at Krogers and Meijers BECAUSE of the doubling.
      If you do away with double coupons, then you lose me as a customer. Why would I shop at your store when meijers is gona give me a better savings?!
      way to go krogers.
      watch your numbers fall- FAST!

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