Raleys-MDI digital coupons


In this day and age, it’s not really news anymore when another grocery store begins offering digital coupons. But two new digital coupon deals are particularly noteworthy, and many more may be on the horizon.

First, an update on a story from a couple of weeks ago. After Google pulled the plug on its Zavers digital coupon program last year, more than a dozen grocery chains were sent scrambling. Some launched replacement programs, some dropped digital coupons altogether, but as of a couple of weeks ago, only one had yet to announce any future digital coupon plans.

And now it has.

Northern California-based Raley’s is set to unveil a brand new digital coupon platform next week. The company tells Coupons in the News that its “More for You” program will launch on May 20th, finally offering digitally-inclined shoppers the chance to once again load coupons to their store loyalty card, for the first time in nearly half a year.


The digital coupons are provided by YOU Technology, which is owned by Kroger. So the Raley’s deal sets up an interesting competitive situation – Kroger also owns Foods Co., a discount chain that competes with Raley’s in Northern California. So Raley’s is essentially paying a competitor to offer coupons to its customers (the very same coupons, incidentally, offered to Foods Co. customers).

Meanwhile, the company ‘reach influence’ has announced a deal with food distributor MDI, to partner on a digital coupon program powered by Inmar. That announcement last week was noteworthy, in that MDI supplies more than 600 independent grocery stores, mostly in smaller towns that lack access to big chain stores. Together with distributors SpartanNash and IGA, both of which signed on with reach influence last year, shoppers at thousands of small independent grocery stores now have access to digital coupons. So they’re not just for the big guys anymore.

At this point, you may wonder, who doesn’t have digital coupons by now? There are actually many more retailers that have yet to jump on board the digital bandwagon – but several of them are poised to.

Over the past year, Coupons.com has signed retailers including Walgreens, Dollar General and Winn Dixie onto its fledgling Retailer iQ digital coupon platform. And now it’s promising many more partners to come. Coupons.com has “a full schedule of rollouts” planned over the next several months, CEO Steven Boal told investors last week. “We expect to go live during that time with an average of one banner every three weeks.”

So Google may not have been particularly bullish on digital coupons. But now that the dust has finally settled and its last former client has moved on, the future of digital coupons is looking brighter than ever. You may or may not choose to use them, but in the case of Raley’s and others who’ve been left in the digital coupon darkness – at least now you can.


  1. I wonder if Foods Co. is in direct competition with Raleys. We have Nob Hill here, and I shop Raleys when I visit other family in the Bay Area. I’ve never heard of Foods Co.

    • Raley’s/Nob Hill and Foods Co. coexist in Sacramento, San Francisco, Salinas, among other places – they may appeal to different segments of shoppers, since Foods Co. is a no-frills-type discount grocery store, but their proximity would make them competitors nonetheless.

  2. It may not be headline news, but how Kroger & YouTech handle Raley’s ability to access digital coupon content could be worth watching.

    Retailers aren’t exactly known for playing nice & sharing content with their competitors…

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