Friday, March 30, 2012

Getting More from Your Grocery Store


Look in your purse or on your key ring.  If you’re like most consumers, looking back at you are reward cards or key fobs from your favorite stores.  Frequent shopper cards were created to generate loyalty to a particular business.  Keep shopping and you get a cost savings either at the time of purchase or at a later date (and sometimes both).  I’ll admit I have quite a few.  One or two I use often and others I haven’t used in years.  There are advantages and disadvantages to joining a rewards program.  You give up all privacy regarding your shopping habits and even how your pay for your purchases.  Retailers use this information to create incentives to get you back in the store usually with coupon and special offers.  This normally works in your favor unless you’re pregnant and you shop at Target.

The frequent shopper program offered by Dominick’s has made it hard for me to shop its competitors.  Like most grocery stores, Dominick’s (a Safeway store) has a frequent shopper program, the Fresh Values card.   Using the Fresh Values card, I get discounts on sales items. As a card holder for 10 years and counting, I used to plan my shopping trips by matching the sales circular and coupons to my shopping list.  That changed with the introduction of the “just for U” program.   This program moved the Fresh Values card to the web.  From the store website, I am able to create a shopping list based on sales circular and add sale items to purchase to my card.   While I’m able to do this at other stores, the next features make this program a winner.  You are able to load coupons on your card almost eliminating the need to clip coupons from the Sunday paper or from popular sites like www.coupon.com or www.smartsource.com.  With “just for U”, I finally benefit from Dominick’s tracking my shopping purchases via the Personalized Deals.  For example, I love Ocean Spray Craisins which normally costs $2.99.  Based on my purchasing history (which says Craisins are always in my shopping cart), 
Dominick’s gives me a Personalized Deal of $1.99.  I add the deal to my card and I’ve save a $1.00.   Deal Match allows you to add competitor deals to your card which also keeps you at Dominick’s and not headed to another store.  A weekly email alerts you to new deals which make getting ready to shop that much easier.

When I shop using the “just for U” program, I can expect to save at least $20.  However, this past weekend, the program really paid off.  List in hand (ok, on my Playbook tablet), I headed to Dominick’s with my Personalized Deals, digital coupons, club savings and Deal Matches load on my card.  It turned out that just about all of my purchases involved some type of savings.  My total grocery cost (including taxes) should have been $119.17.  With a combination of the savings added to my Fresh Values card, I brought my total down to $63.68 (a 47% savings).  The highlight was the Breyer’s Oreo ice cream I purchased for $.49 (Regular price $5.99 -$2.50 Club Savings - $3.00 “just 4 U” Savings).  Every retailer tracks our shopping habits is some way, now we finally benefit.