How to get Americans shoppingAugust 14, 2012 @ 8:33 am (Updated: 9:45 am - 8/14/12 )
Coupons aren't just generic mailers anymore. (AP)
While the politicians bicker over how to get Americans shopping, grocers are taking action.
They've amped up their loyalty cards with customized digital coupons that target you personally.
I watched the signup video for Safeway's Just4U program. Watch.
"You're going to need your Club Card or phone number, because Just4U works with your shopping history," says Margaret, the woman in the Just4U promotional video.
And this is not like those mass mailings that merely print your name on a boilerplate coupon -- these are deals based on your personal shopping profile.
The idea is to give YOU a deal that someone else might not get.
"You do want to get those Just4U emails, they let you know when your new savings are in," the promotional video says.
According to the New York Times, the computer is so smart that If you have teenage boys, for example, it will offer a discount on sliced bologna; and if your shopping patterns indicate that price is no object, it'll recommend the expensive sliced bologna.
Kroger has a similar program. Other chains will follow because it works. Kroger reports the redemption rate of these personalized coupons is 70 percent.
And you see what's eventually going to happen. Price tags become meaningless because the price is potentially different for every person. Like airline seats. Like variable tolls. But if it gets people into the stores, that's exactly what the economy needs.
"OK, you're all signed up and ready to save," says Margaret, the promotional voice for Just4U.
I know the economists say income inequality is growing in America. But this reminds us that if you play your loyalty cards right -- you can still come away with a real bargain on sliced bologna.
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