The grocery chain has made a move that’s sure to surprise some of its regular customers.
For better or for worse, Kroger is ending one of its company’s mainstays, which may be a shock to its customer base. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based grocer has been around for over a century, and with a long history its customers have clear expectations are generally resistant to change.
Kroger isn’t unlike its grocery competitors, Walmart (WMT) – Get Free Report and Target (TGT) – Get Free Report as it has also increased the number of self-checkout kiosks. Some if not many shoppers are frustrated by the switch but are stuck because the large retail grocery chains that have self-checkout kiosks, usually have the lowest prices.
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The switch to being able to check out with a cashier, then at the self-checkout kiosks, and then using a grocery app has been a long difficult road for some. The convenience of using the app to shop online and have groceries ready for pick up or delivered is a great time saver for customers. The scan, bag, and go app, takes the shopping experience to another level for some, but it could mark the end for how many others prefer to shop going to the grocery and having a cashier ring them out.
Kroger’s Latest Move May Upset Customers
Kroger is making a move that could upset customers, but really, it’s a move toward a greener future. Kroger is going to discontinue sending out its printed weekly ads that are usually sent out as newspaper inserts. In May the Kroger circular ads will stop in Michigan, Mississippi, Indianapolis, IN, and Portland, OR. However, the printed ads will still be available when shoppers go inside the grocery stores.
Keeping up with all the technological advances Kroger has already made to streamline operations, the weekly circular will still be available online. The digital weekly ad isn’t new, but before customers could still expect to see it come to their homes printed.
It’s fairly safe to say, a lot of customers won’t miss having to recycle the weekly ads, but there are others who prefer to shop ‘old school’ by perusing the weekly ad, to see if Kroger has the best deals that week, compared to its competitors.
The news of the demise of the weekly printed ads doesn’t come as a shock, as more and more ads are run digitally over print in every other industry. This change will also allow the company to cut costs, as there is a rise in other operational costs. There is no official timeline indicating when other markets will drop sending out the weekly ads, but its sure to come at some point.
“Kroger has been conducting research for over two years to better understand the changing media consumption habits of our customers, the contribution to sales provided by the printed weekly circular and negative impact to our distribution costs driven by increasing labor and fuel costs,” said Kroger to the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, MS.
Kroger Still Sends Out Deals
Kroger shoppers can still learn about the weekly deals without the printed ad. Shoppers can use a QR code that they can scan with a smartphone to see the digital version of the weekly ad. Kroger knows that some consumers might have a hard time adjusting to not receiving the weekly ad, and some might even depend on knowing what the ad details, so it will allow shoppers who want to receive a copy, can call their local Kroger and request one to be sent to their home.
The idea that Kroger is dropping the weekly printed ads is twofold, it cuts operational costs, but it also reduces unnecessary paper waste. “I think it’s known in the industry, typically, direct cost to producing a flyer normally represents 50% of the total marketing budget,” said Mercatus CEO and president Sylvain Perrier. Mercatus is an e-commerce solutions company that works with numerous grocers. “So that’s printing cost, development and distribution with a very difficult to near impossible way to measure the return on the investment.”
Kroger is a proponent of creating a zero-waste community. “We are continually looking for creative and innovative solutions to support our vision of creating zero-waste communities,” said Vice President of Our Brands for Kroger, Juan De Paoli. While the weekly ads will still be available in stores, not mailing them out to the stores entire market, will definitely help create a more environmentally friendly way for shoppers to learn about the weekly deals.
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