Why Supermarket Digital Coupons Fail So Many Shoppers

Why Supermarket Digital Coupons Fail So Many Shoppers

Feature Photo: Robert Kneschke / Shutterstock

Have you been on a supermarket check-out line and witnessed the product that you saw on the shelf on sale for $2.99 rings up at $7.99? When questioning the cashier why you did not receive the sale price even after knowing that you gave them your supermarket club or discount card, you are told that you failed to add the item to your digital coupon list. You stand there with your jaw dropped open wide and simply say…. what? This is a common experience for so many shoppers especially those over the age of 60 or 70 who have not grown up during the age of digital coupons and apps.

Digital Coupons have become a very common concept in all supermarkets in offering their shoppers discounts on items if they have the technical experience to download an app on their phone or home computer and know how to use it. For young people and of course many tech-savvy baby boomers, this is something that can be dealt with even though it’s still pretty annoying. However, for most Baby Boomers and the World War II generation of older adults, it’s a challenge that leads to frustration, disappointment and often a few swear words around the lines “I will never shop in this store again!”

Not everyone human being in existence owns a cell phone. Recent research has discovered that close to 40 percent of senior citizens do not own a cell phone. These senior citizens are the types of customers that usually shop in the supermarkets almost on a daily basis. Senior citizens do not go to a grocery store once a week and buy food for the whole family. Many of them live alone and can not carry huge bags of groceries. They buy  a few items often based on sales they see in the newspaper or on display in the supermarket. I worked in an A&P Supermarket for three years, so I witnessed how the older generation shops.

The older generation cuts coupons because they need to save money on their limited income. Coupons are vital in planning what they are going to the store to shop for. However, many ads put in the papers by supermarkets are now very deceptive. Often it is in small print that the coupon must be added to their shopping wallet on their digital app. This is just too difficult for many seniors to do, and of course impossible for the ones that don’t own a cell phone. In the end, they head to the store looking to purchase the item and are often met with utter disappointment and an inability to pay for the items they went to the store to shop for in the first place. Of course many times out of frustration, the seniors will pay the bigger prices resulting in larger profits for the supermarkets. It would be hard to argue that the supermarts don’t recognize this.

Pouring more fuel on the fire is the fact that many supermarkets have really bad wi-fi making it difficult for shoppers who have the tech-savvy ability to add a digital coupon on their cell phones in the store a losing battle. You are staring at a pound of chicken cutlets with a sign that says $3.99 a pound with the digital coupon and the shopper has no chance of adding the coupon to their wallet because they can’t access the app on their phone standing in a dead zone in the store. Do you really think the supermarket wants you to add that coupon? Of course not, they want to sell you those chicken cutlets at 7.99 a pound, not 3.99 a pound.

The digital coupon concept that has been put into use by today’s supermarkets reminds me of the techniques used by big tech stores that advertise a tv or appliance for a low price and then tell you they have none left when you arrive while trying to sell you a much higher priced model.

For shoppers who are tech savvy and spend their time at home scrutinizing the supermarket app and successfully adding digital coupons to their cart, the digital coupon can help very much in saving valuable food shopping dollars. However, that has to be a small portion of shoppers. Even for those who do understand the apps, there are often many times when you make that last-second stop at the supermarket because you realize you need milk or bread and then become frustrated when you see that special sale but can not access your app on your phone because of no access to wi-fi to add that discount coupon. And how often do we leave our phones in the car?

In the end, supermarkets must recognize that they have a large base of older shoppers that can not add digital coupons to their shopping cards for so many reasons. The problem is that supermarkets probably already recognize the issues and look at it as working more in their favor than not. Unfortunately, it will catch up to them. Just ask the managers of the many stores that have closed because of the way they treated their most loyal customers.

Why Supermarket Digital Coupons Fail So Many Shoppers article published on BigCityReview.com© 2022

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