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Albertsons Just for U

Three years after discontinuing digital coupons, one of the nation’s largest grocery chains is bringing them back – and adopting a new acquisition’s personalized pricing platform that some once feared it might do away with.

Albertsons today is introducing Safeway’s “Just for U” to some of its own stores for the first time. The initial rollout is to Albertsons’ stores in the Southern Division, which encompasses the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a scattered few nearby stores over the state lines in Arkansas and Louisiana. Eventually, other regions are expected to follow.

It’s a bold move for a company that’s had a long-time aversion to loyalty programs, and a more recent aversion to digital coupons.

Many residents of the DFW Metroplex are already familiar with Just for U, which is offered in the region’s Safeway-owned Tom Thumb stores. Safeway rolled out the program for all of its loyalty cardholders in 2012, promising more than just coupons and discounts. While most grocery loyalty programs merely give you advertised sale prices when you swipe your card, and many allow you to load digital coupons to your card, Just for U offers something different.

Loyalty members who sign up for the program receive personalized, unique offers based on their shopping history. If you frequently buy a particular product, for example, a personalized “sale price” that’s not available to anyone else might show up in your Just for U account, to entice you to return to that store the next time you run out. You’re essentially offered a selection of unadvertised specials, which become more relevant to you and your purchasing habits over time.

Just a couple of years after Just for U was established, though, Albertsons bought Safeway, along with Safeway-owned Tom Thumb, Randalls, Vons and Pavilions. Albertsons had exhibited a history of doing away with loyalty cards in its new acquisitions. And that typically made collateral damage out of the digital coupons that could be loaded to those cards.

So some retail watchers predicted it might be only a matter of time before Safeway’s Club Card would go the way of the other loyalty programs that Albertsons eliminated – and that Just for U might be the baby that got thrown out with the bathwater.

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Instead, Just for U has not only survived, it’s gotten a huge vote of confidence by being introduced to some of Albertsons’ very own stores.

There are some important differences between the Safeway and Albertsons versions of the program, though. Safeway’s program is still linked to its Club Card – you have to be a loyalty member and swipe your card (or enter your card number or phone number) to participate. Albertsons doesn’t have a card, so all you need is a phone number. Safeway’s version can be accessed either online or through the Safeway mobile app. Albertsons has its own distinct Just for U app, separate from Safeway’s version and from the Albertsons app itself. You also can’t access it online – you have to have the app to participate in Albertsons’ Just for U.

An Albertsons spokesperson tells Coupons in the News that the Just for U launch is only in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for now. But Albertsons has stores elsewhere in Texas, and in 15 other states, so it’s reasonable to believe that Just for U’s rollout to Albertsons won’t begin and end in just one region. There’s just no specific timetable for any further expansion just yet.

Nor is there any word on whether Just for U will eventually roll out to Albertsons’ other recent acquisitions, such as Jewel, Shaw’s, ACME, United Supermarkets or even Haggen. Since doing away with their loyalty programs, though, several of those stores have introduced MyMixx, a phone number-based digital coupon platform. So introducing Just for U would require doing away with MyMixx. And it’s worth noting that Albertsons itself never adopted MyMixx – so in Albertsons’ case, adding one savings program doesn’t necessitate dropping another.

Albertsons’ introduction of Just for U – even if only in a single division, for now – is one of the first major initiatives that shoppers will notice about the Albertsons-Safeway integration. Another is the company’s decision to rebrand and consolidate its private label products under a single new name. Effective this week, Safeway-branded products are being phased out, as are products in Albertsons’ “Everyday Essentials” line. Both will now be absorbed into the new “Signature” store brand that will be consistent across all Albertsons-owned stores.

The name of the stores’ private label products is just a name, though. A company-wide Just for U program has the potential to be much more.

In theory, the idea upon Just for U’s launch was to make shelf prices essentially irrelevant. Prices would fluctuate and be different for every customer, similar to the way you have no idea how much your fellow travelers on an airplane flight paid for their tickets, and whether you paid more or less. In practice, though, Just for U isn’t quite as “personal” as it could be. It offers a comparative handful of personalized offers, padded out by hundreds of the same load-to-card digital coupons that are available to everyone.

So the savings platform hasn’t quite lived up to its promise just yet. But with its new corporate owner seemingly embracing the program, rather than eliminating it, Just for U’s future is starting to look a whole lot brighter than it once did.

21 Comments

  1. Pingback: albertsons just for u

  2. Milton Mitchell says:

    good

  3. Shelly Martin says:

    would like to sign-up

  4. EILEEN MCLAIN says:

    How to change my JFU to my cell #

  5. how come I don’t get e-mails from Albertson’s just 4 u like I get from safeway

  6. Have been trying to sign up for Albertsons – Cannot get the job done. Have tried to register many times. Please help.

  7. I want to get one of your digital deal coupons. Tried calling local Albertsons store on Trautwein in Riverside CA ; they couldn’t help suggest I call back later. Also tried to call Justforu toll free # but was on hold for a very-y long time, no one ever answered.

  8. Janis Justice says:

    sign me up

    • I tried to sign up for Albertsons Just for U. I was unable to sign up. I want to know why the company makes it so hard to sign up for Just for U. I went to customer service for help. I was put on hold for a very long time. I finially hung up as no one would answer. I have decided that I will not shop Albertsons any more. I will shop a grocery store that I do not have to use a card or go to a site to get sells. This is a good way to drive customers to go shop at another store. Albertsons should help when a customer asks.

  9. I tried to login to the Albertsons app but it wouldn’t allow me to because my phone number is linked to my Safeway card. Your phone number is your i.d. on the Albertson App. Figure that one out!

  10. Claire Richards says:

    I cant find a way to sign up

  11. We have this Just For U in Idaho. Albertsons bought out Pauls Grocery. We can get the points by using the home computer, we don’t get the “personal coupons”.
    My question is Why can’t all the points roll over all the time, we could use them towards specials like hams and turkeys for the holidays. If we earned the points we should be able to keep the points. Just a thought. I do like that it helps with gas purchases. Thank you.

  12. Steve Slater says:

    I was a Safeway JFU user but all Safeway stores closed in our area [Missoula Mt.]. Now do our shopping at Albertson’s and would like to do their store’s JFU. I tried calling your help # 1-877-258-2799 but had to enter info that I don’t posess. With Safeway JFU I used my home computer. Can I use my home computer with your program? Please, say yes and then tell me how to set your program up on my home computer. Thanks!

  13. Steven Schafer says:

    Downloaded justforu.com to find the Albertson’s store in Cody, WY is not listed as an authorized store. What a bunch of crap.

    • They just introduced the program this week to more regions, but they haven’t made clear exactly what regions. And they’re promoting it on the main page of their website, no matter where you are, which makes it appear as though it’s available everywhere. So I can imagine it’s pretty frustrating to download the app, thinking your store is part of the program, only to find out that it’s not. Hopefully they will roll it out to all of their stores soon.

  14. Walt Bond says:

    get your website fixed so a person can sign up.

  15. Sandra Lyon says:

    Would love to have s one great deals.

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