Kroger Makes a Huge Change Some Customers Won’t Like

Kroger faces a regulatory fight over its proposed merger with Albertson’s (ACI) – Get Free Report. That deal would create a grocery chain with more than 5,000 locations spanning 48 states.

The combined company would include over 52 manufacturing plants, nearly 4,000 pharmacies, and more than 2,000 fuel centers. The merger would create a market share of about 18% for the new Kroger (KR) – Get Free Report and Albertson’s entity.

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This big proposed merger has also attracted a lot of attention from federal regulators. They allege that the combined chain will have a major advantage over other regional grocery chains (although you could argue that both Walmart (WMT) – Get Free Report and Target (TGT) – Get Free Report, among others, already enjoy those advantages). 

Still, when Uncle Sam has its eyes on you, that seems like a time to stay under the radar. Kroger has chosen not to do that and it’s ending one of its long-running programs that has been a staple of how people shop for decades.

Kroger is moving to only offering digital coupons.

Image source: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Kroger Makes a Major Coupon Change

Kroger recently shared that it would discontinue distributing its weekly printed ads. These inserts were usually found in newspapers, and with fewer consumers having newspapers delivered, in an effort to move to a more digital age of advertising, Kroger is winding down its weekly ads being sent to customers’ homes.

Those circulars, which featured coupons on countless items, will largely but not completely, no longer be printed. Instead, the deals will be offered in a digital format.

Customers still have access to the great deals that would come in the weekly Kroger circular, but now they are going to be in a digital weekly ad that can be viewed and accessed via a smartphone. Kroger did consider that some customers may still prefer the weekly printed ad and is willing to continue to send it to customers if they call their local Kroger and request it to be sent.

In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, Kroger is a proponent of creating a zero-waste community, and ending the weekly printed ads, will greatly reduce waste produced by the company. The weekly ads will still be available in the store, but the company should have cost savings from reducing operations of printing, development, and distribution including the labor and fuel costs of sending out the circular.

Kroger Shoppers Have Options

Even if customers don’t have a digital account or a smartphone to be able to create a Kroger account, the grocer wants to make sure anyone who wants the discounted pricing can have access to it. They might just have to wait a little longer to get the special pricing. Customers who do not have access to the digital coupons can still get the discounts if they visit the customer service desk.

Visiting the customer service desk may add a few minutes to a customer’s shopping time, and others might find that having to wait in yet another line to check out frustrating. However, Kroger wants to make sure these customers are still going to be accommodated as not everyone has the access or the ability to create an online account. These customers can also still have access to Kroger Fuel Rewards.

Kroger, however, has tried to embrace new technology without shutting out customers that aren’t using it. Customers do not need to have a smartphone to be able to take advantage of the online discounts, the company said, but they can get access by going to, according to Fox 59 in Indianapolis.

However, this does not fix the situation for all customers. Some shoppers struggle with technology, like Pat O’Brien, who is concerned about Kroger ending their weekly print ads.

“They are making it too hard,” O’Brien said. “I mean, seriously,” O’Brien told WCPO 9 Cincinnati

Kroger, however, is working to find a way to help all its customers save money while shopping online and in stores no matter how knowledgeable the customers are about technology.

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