It may not come as a shock to many coupon users that the Atlanta area (and Alabama, South Carolina, and all of Georgia) Kroger stores will stop doubling coupons this month. The last day that coupons will double is September 21, 2013. To some shoppers this is a huge blow, but many families may not even notice. Did you know that Kroger is the second largest grocer in the US, falling second to Wal-Mart. It’s true. There are thousands of Kroger chain stores across the country.
If you are unfamiliar with double coupons the gist is that coupons that are $0.50 or under doubled automatically at the registers, often yielding free or close to free items. As of September 22, 2013 the Kroger stores in Atlanta are going to only give shoppers the face value of the coupon. When Kroger analyzed coupon usage they found that of the 2.5 million households that shop at Kroger only 8% use manufacturers coupons (that’s 200,000 families). Only 1/2 of that 8% uses double coupons (that’s 25,000 households). Only 0.5% of all Kroger shoppers in our region use 100 or more coupons that were doubled in a month. They basically decided that they wanted to appeal to the larger 2.5 million customer base than the small double coupon users.
Earlier today I attended a meeting with several Atlanta area bloggers and two Kroger employees. To be fully transparent I did receive a Kroger gift card and a bag full of goodies for attending the event. However all my opinions are completely honest and not swayed by the swag.
Instead of double coupons Kroger is implementing new lower prices. Prices were lowered on 3,000 items across the store. Kroger also knows our time is valuable so they are also doing their best to ensure quick check out times for shoppers. Kroger is comparing their store prices with those of their competitors and adjusting their sales based on their findings.
In addition to every day low prices, each week Kroger will feature low, great sale prices on select produce and meat. In the upcoming week we will see red grapes priced at 99¢/lb, which is a good deal (but if you follow along with the Aldi produce prices, you know that grapes have been priced at 89¢ per pound there for practically all summer). I asked if Kroger was going to take Aldi as seriously as Publix and Walmart when they are looking at how they will price their food. I was told that Kroger looks at all competitors. She also said that the produce at Aldi may be of lesser quality than the produce at Kroger and said the Mangoes at Kroger are large, probably larger than those at Aldi. I don’t know about any of that. I watch the both the size and the country of origin of the produce I buy at Aldi and when I am shopping at Kroger I compare them. They are basically the same. But I will be the first to admit that I cannot see what happens behind the scenes.
Kroger wants to emphasize their Fuel Reward Network as another way to save at Kroger. With the Fuel Reward Network you get points for your purchases at Kroger (excluding alcohol, tobacco, and lottery). When you reach 100 points (which is equivalent to $100 spent in store) you will receive 10¢ off a gallon of gas. You can save your fuel rewards and save a maximum of $1.00 per gallon (limit 35 gallons per transaction) at Kroger and Shell gas stations. Kroger also doubles your Fuel Reward Points when you purchase select gift cards (excluding Kroger the the credit card gift cards). A few times a year they give 4X the points for your gift card purchases. That really does add up and works in our favor. I buy gift cards to use as gifts for teachers at Kroger when they have extra gift card rewards.
As I sat in my meeting this morning all I could think was “oh no….it’s coming……all this talk about new, pretty signs and lower prices can only mean one thing……” And then….BAM….the end date of double coupons was released. It was one of those moments when you think “I knew it” and “Oh crap” all at the same time.
Let’s go back to those numbers I gave at the beginning. 2.5 million households is a lot of people shopping at Kroger! But only 200,000 households use coupons? And approximately 25,000 households double coupons? I am in that 25,000 number. I love my coupons doubling at Kroger. That’s part of the reason why I shop there (that and I really do like the Simple Truth products). In the end Kroger is making 25,000 people upset and potentially making two million four hundred seventy-five thousand people happy with their new lower prices.
I am sure we all have the same question…..Will Publix continue doubling coupons now that one of their biggest competitors stopped? Ingles doubles coupons (although it is a weird schematic). Will they stop too? It’s too early to know right now. My fingers are crossed like yours that Publix continues doubling coupons as well as accepting competitor coupons. I do love that the grocery stores in the Atlanta area all offer something a little bit different. With lots of people jumping off the Kroger bandwagon that means Publix will pick up some more loyal customers. They will retain those customers with double coupons. Just sayin’!
Will this change how you shop at Kroger? Are you excited to see new lower prices throughout the store or are you disappointed that you are in the minority of double coupon users who will no longer receive that perk anymore?
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