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Grocery stores bolster loyalty programs by linking into Coupons.com

The retailers are the latest to partner with Coupons.com with a deal that will roll across the Coupons.com Web and mobile application as well as the Grocery iQ app. Both apps are available for iOS and Android devices.

“Retailers are looking for new ways to reach and engage with the increasingly digital American consumer,” said Dhana Pawar, director of mobile product management at Coupons.com, Mountain View, CA.

“At the same time, the population is continuing to embrace coupons they can use on the go,” she said. “Our pure digital coupons enable retailers to connect with consumers and help them save money when they shop in their stores.”

Digital clipping
With the new feature inside both the Coupons.com and Grocery iQ app, consumers must first create an account with Coupons.com. From there, users can browse through a list of participating stores — which now includes Meijer, Marsh, Giant Eagle and Lowe’s Foods.

Consumers then tap the store where they are a member of the loyalty program. Users enter their information from their account — such as the card number — to automatically sync the app with their savings card.

Users can then browse through coupons under the ‘Savings card’ tab to add coupons directly to their cards from the app. The coupons are then saved to the user’s card and the discount will automatically be deducted at the point of sale.

In addition to the new retailers, major grocery chains including ShopRite and Safeway are also integrated into the app.

Consumers can also hook up the Coupon.com app with their GPS to receive local offers or search for coupons that can be emailed or printed via Wi-Fi.

Loyal users
Supermarkets have been slower to move into mobile, but with more consumers relying on their handsets as a digital storage space for coupons and shopping lists, more companies seem to be taking notice.

For instance, research from MyWebGrocer found that the number of grocery retailers with a mobile presence increased 110 percent in the first half of 2012 (see story).

By integrating loyalty programs with mobile, supermarkets can connect with consumers directly in-store to ultimately drive sales.

According to Ms. Pawar, research has shown that digital coupon users shop more often with bigger shopping carts than the average consumer. Additionally, these users shop within two days of adding coupons.

“Mobile users are becoming increasingly savvy shoppers,” Ms. Pawar said.

“We’re seeing more mobile consumers moving to coupons and using bar code scanning while in-store to research products and compare pricing,” she said.

“And, with the rise of apps like Passbook from Apple and other geo-based capabilities, we are also seeing more mobile offers available to consumers while they are in-store. Consumers seem to be responding well to these mobile savings options, and this is really only the beginning.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York