Consumer groups want retailers to leave digital marketing alone | So Good News


A coalition of consumer groups is calling on grocers to reconsider their digital-only coupons, saying the deal targets people who don’t have cell phones or reliable internet.

Electronic-only sales — online or on store shelves — can save a lot of money, but require customers to clip coupons electronically from the retailer’s app or website.

For example, Kroger in Cincinnati, Ohio, is selling cold turkey for 60 cents a pound this week; with a digital coupon, the price drops to 49 cents per pound. And Stop & Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts, is offering half a pork loin for $2.99 ​​a pound; with a digital coupon, which drops to $1.79 a pound.

“There’s nothing wrong with digital coupons as long as they’re fair and everyone can take advantage of the promotional value in some way,” said Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and assistant attorney general in Massachusetts who runs the website Consumer World. .

Dworsky and others – including Consumer Reports, Consumer Action, the Public Interest Research Group and the National Consumers League – sent letters this week to Kroger, Albertsons, Stop & Shop and Smart & Final urging them to ensure that the products are available digitally and digitally. non-digital forms.

Kroger and Smart & Final did not respond to requests from The Associated Press. Stop & Shop said it would review the letter.

Albertsons said it offers digital coupons as a way to reward customers in its loyalty program, who can download the product into their apps. But the company said many of its stores also allow customers to submit weekly circulars to cashiers so the discount can be applied at the register.

Dworsky said this can be difficult, as customers and investors always know it’s an opportunity.

Albertsons also said it owns Vons, a California-based chain that Dworsky praised for offering “film or click” coupons in its stores, which allow customers to clip coupons or download them to their apps. Pennsylvania-based Giant Co. also offers “clip or click” coupons, Dworsky said.

“We will continue to provide support to our in-store rewards program users to help ensure they get the best deals and prices,” Albertsons said in a statement.

Dworsky said some stores offer cash to customers who request a digital price, but that requires the customer to try. They want stores to make sure shoppers honor digital deals when asked, or move away from Texas-based HEB, which places its store coupons next to the products it advertises.

Dworsky said seniors are the ones who don’t need a smartphone or the Internet or the tech savvy to know how digital-only coupons work.

The availability of cell phones varies significantly by age group in the US, according to a 2021 study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. The survey found that 96% of people aged 18 to 29 have a mobile phone, compared to 61% of those 65 and over. The same survey found that 25% of people aged 65 and over do not use the Internet.


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