Stop & Shop has begun testing new in-store kiosks aimed as consumers who are “digital hesitant,” a spokesperson for the chain told Supermarket News.
The new kiosks, dubbed Savings Stations, “provide a convenient way for customers, particularly non-digital shoppers, to activate and load their digital coupons on their card while shopping in-store,” the company, which is a division of Ahold Delhaize, said in a statement.
Edgar Dworsky, founder and editor of Consumer World, who has been advocating for supermarkets to offer more access to digital coupons, described the new kiosks as “good news.” Digital coupons can be challenging for some shoppers to access, especially low-income and elderly shoppers, but the new kiosks could help resolve that issue at Stop & Shop, he said.
Customers can either scan their loyalty card or enter their phone number at the kiosk, and the digital coupons from the circular will be instantly activated to the shoppers’ Go Rewards loyalty account, the retailer said. Savings are then applied at checkout when the customer scans that same loyalty card or enters their phone number.
“Direct feedback from the customers, and store associates, has been extremely positive to date,” the retailer said.
In addition to getting the digital offers loaded to their account each week, the kiosk also allows customers to:
- Have new offers printed upon each visit
- Sign up for the Go Rewards loyalty program and receive instant offers
- Browse seasonal recipe ideas and print directly from the kiosk
- Print activities sheets to help keep kids busy during shopping
- Activate offers with a scannable QR code for customers that don’t want a printout
“While the kiosk is aimed for customers that are digital hesitant, it serves a purpose for every type of shopper,” the retailer said.
The Savings Stations will be piloted in several stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. The kiosks are supplied by EntryPoint Communications, which also supplies kiosks for Stop & Shop sister chain Food Lion, as well as for Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Price Chopper and others, according to its website.
Improving access for low-income, elderly consumers
Dworsky last year began highlighting the challenges that digital coupons pose for consumers who don’t have internet access or a smartphone to download coupons on their own.
“That process effectively shuts out millions of non-tech-savvy shoppers including seniors and low-income folks without such access, and thus they are forced to pay higher grocery prices,” he said.
Consumer World formed a coalition with other organizations, including Consumer Action, Consumer Reports, National Consumers League, and PIRG to urge retailers to adopt workarounds so that these shoppers are charged the same lower sale prices as connected customers.
Last November, Dworsky said the coalition sent letters to the CEOs of several supermarket companies, including Stop & Shop, Smart & Final, and several banners owned by Kroger and Albertsons.
Earlier this year, Kroger appeared to take steps to address the issue at least partially by allowing customers to access digital coupons from its website without using a smartphone.
Although Dworsky said in a blog post that he still had some suggestions for the improvement of the Stop & Shop Savings Stations, he applauded their introduction.
“We salute these companies — and those chains that have already adopted kiosks — for stepping up and offering a simple solution to make digital coupons accessible to everyone,” he said.