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Albertsons unpacks mobile coupons as grocery chains embrace mobile

Supermarket chain Albertsons is encouraging consumers in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas to download the Just for U couponing application to take advantage of the latest discounts, adding the brand to the growing list of grocery chains implementing mobile-first sales offerings.

Customers will be able to leverage the personalized coupon program when shopping at one of Albertsons’ bricks-and-mortar stores or while planning their weekly grocery runs. The Just for U app, which originally began as a Safeway program, enables users to redeem coupons at checkout by inputting their phone numbers.

“Apps tied to loyalty are often the best approach for grocery stores, but like many things in mobile, choice is the killer app,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize and author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion.

Personalized offerings
The Just for U app, which will now offer deals redeemable at Albertsons’ stores, offers a customized experience for each user. Consumers must start by choosing coupons within the app and redeeming them at checkout by entering their phone number.

The app will collect information about customers’ shopping habits, and subsequently begin suggesting more personalized coupon choices alongside manufacturers’ coupons.

Consumers may be able to save up to 20 percent more when shopping at Albertsons, an enticing notion that may persuade hordes of individuals to download the Just for U app.

“It is always our goal to provide services that make grocery shopping and saving convenient for our customers,” said Connie Yates, public affairs and communications at Albertsons. “As apps have become an increasingly popular and effective way to communicate, we are excited to provide the Just For U app to our Albertsons customers.

“Customers are overwhelmingly responding to the new Just For U app – more people are signing up daily with many positive comments.”

Users who have enabled their smartphone’s GPS settings will be able to view deals for the closest Albertsons locations.

A plethora of grocery chains have recently tapped into the lucrative revenue potential of mobile, especially upon realizing that digital coupons are fast overtaking their physical counterparts in terms of popularity.

Consumers no longer prefer to clip coupons from Sunday circulars and potentially misplace them before their trip to the supermarket. Instead, they prefer to save desired coupons onto their most omnipresent devices: smartphones.

Rapidly evolving sector
Mobile’s many use cases have made it simpler for grocery chains to deduce which strategy works best for their audience. For example, Walmart’s Savings Catcher app scans shoppers’ receipts and scours local competitors’ inventory for lower prices before crediting back the difference, if applicable.

Leveraging beacon technology has also been a hotly growing trend over the past year. Supermarket chains that have implemented beacons can more easily target consumers who walk in and send them instant deals, aisle guides and interactive content.

Minyard Sun Fresh Market is tapping a mobile shopper engagement platform to roll out digital weekly circulars, personalized deals, product information and rewards to customers’ smartphones to ramp up the in-store experience (see story).

Meanwhile, Target’s standalone shopping app, Cartwheel, is currently testing a new feature enabling users to leverage manufacturers’ digital coupons, which offer dollar amount discounts rather than a percentage, giving customers access to increased savings opportunities (see story).

Albertsons is well-poised to enjoy an uptick in sales from mobile-savvy shoppers, especially those who prefer to plan out their grocery shopping trips ahead of time.

Brands that have little traction within their own mobile apps may find that teaming up with a third-party platform offers them the most bang for their buck.

However, keeping each shopper’s experience personalized should be the main focus for any couponing app.

“Personalization is key, bringing value to the mobile user and giving businesses ways to market in a one-to-one way,” Gotta Mobilize’s Mr. Hasen said. “In my house, we don’t eat red meat, so you can save your offer on ground beef.

“Not only is it irrelevant, it tells me that you aren’t loyal to my needs and my wife’s needs.”