Utah's Macey's to be first with digital coupons, other perks
Macey's 11 grocery stores on Monday launched a perks program that automatically loads weekly store coupons into shopper's digital accounts at the supermarket and later on their smartphones.
The program is part of parent company Associated Food Stores' partnership with software firm Accelitec, based in Washington. The procedure enables shoppers to redeem digital coupons and later this fall to check out with a tap of their phone using Google Wallet.
"This is geared to be user friendly," said Jason Sokol, director of marketing at Associated, one of Utah's largest retail grocery chains. "It's not a loyalty card, it's a way we can say thank you to our guests."
Macey's is the first to get the new perks program with Accelitec, which has partnered with Google for promotions, e-coupons and mobile payments. Other Associated retail stores and some independent grocers will launch theirs in early 2013.
The perks program also informs shoppers about upcoming events and promotions, as well as provides information about recalls and other safety issues. Those who sign up may redeem points for a Thanksgiving turkey, along with surprise giveways.
Homemaker Melanie Holland of Herriman said she's excited about the perks program because "I can't keep all the coupons organized, and several never even make it to the store."
Adding to the convenience is that families may link apps, allowing spouses and teens to redeem points and savings.
Josh McMorris, 17, of West Jordan said he's ready to sign up. "I help my Mom with the food bills," he said, "and we both like savings."
Soon, shoppers will have access to hundreds of new digital offers from Google's national manufacturer partners. They may click and save coupons to their Google Wallet account directly from Associated's website at home or in store.
Associated will use this process early next year when it deploys Google Wallet's mobile-commerce technology so that customers may transmit payment and coupon information with one action from their smartphones.
The technology, which has been integrated with Wallet, eventually will be deployed across point-of-sale systems within Associated corporate-owned stores, including Fresh Market, Dan's, Lin's and Dick's Market.
Google Wallet launched in 2011 as a way for mobile shoppers to transmit payments electronically at the point of purchase. The service has since added more than 20 national partners, including Walgreen's, CVS, Toys R Us, Jamba Juice and Old Navy.
The downside is a smartphone must be equipped with a special chip in order to work with Google Wallet, and not all smartphones, including the iPhone, have the chip.
Associated Food Stores is an independent retailer-owned warehouse based in Salt Lake City, which provides warehouse facilities and services to more than 400 grocers in the Intermountain West.
Shoppers may redeem digital coupons, while later this fall some may checkout with a tap of their smartphone.
Hours: Open 24 hours, closed Sundays
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