Kroger and P&G Clash on e-Coupons – P&G Out

I think this a bigger story than meets the eye — the fight for the hearts and minds of the shopper rages on.

A couple of stories below (Atlanta Journal-Constitution & The Cincinnati Enquirer) on the impasse reached by Kroger and P&G on controlling shoppers engaged on the Kroger coupon web sites through P&G e-savers.

I’ve embedded an image of the Ralph’s web site coupon offer page — remember, Ralphs, Fry’s, King Soopers, Fred Meyer, Smith’s Food and Drug are all impacted by this as their web-site format and policies are dictated by the mother ship in Cincy.

In the image shown, you will see that there are currently 5 coupon offers — It only makes sense that there will be some shakeout. It seems illogical that a manufacturer would not either be part of a retailer network or another commercial aggregator.

Prediction: Kroger will install a hybrid – Their coupons (powered by dunnhumby) and additionally utilize the best commercial offerings in this space in a non-exclusive arrangement. Here’s the line-up as it stands now.

1. Kroger’s own system – This is a new entry on the site. Coupon values transmitted to FSP card.
2. Print at home coupons powered by Coupons.com – Remain in Kroger environment. 124 coupons offered this week. Most well developed on-line network.

Ralphs (A Division of Kroger) Coupon Offers Page

3. AOL Shortcuts – Coupon values transmitted to FSP card. Takes shopper to AOL site — THAT WILL CHANGE. 40 coupons this week.

4. Cellfire Network – Coupon values transmitted to FSP card. About 30 coupons from limited mfrs. this week — trying to offer non-supermarket deals through cell phone app. — Probably most developed promo effort in that space which is trying to find its way.
5. P&G e-saver – I’ll let the articles speak for the demise of that program at Kroger.

SF

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that “Kroger and manufacturer Procter & Gamble have come to an impasse and will part ways — in an Internet sense — at the end of the year. According to the story, “it means that Kroger.com will no longer host the P&G eSavers electronic coupons on the grocery chain’s Web site and P&G digital coupons will no longer be valid on the Kroger Plus loyalty card … Kroger, with 132 grocery stores in Atlanta and surrounding areas, was unable to persuade P&G to keep its coupons on the Kroger site without redirecting shoppers directly to the P&G site. So P&G will discontinue its eSaver program with Kroger after Dec. 31.”

See the image below on how coupon search has exploded according to Google in the last 12-18 months. Thrifty consumers seeking value continue to explore alternative methods for discounting. (Source Google and the In-Store Marketing Institute)

Another story on the topic apprears below.

Nearly 6 years of Google search term history - Source: Google

news.cincinnati.com

December 17, 2009

P&G, Kroger end coupon deal

By David Holthaus
dholthaus@enquirer.com

Procter & Gamble and Kroger are ending an electronic coupon program they started two years ago, meaning shoppers will no longer be able to load coupons for P&G products onto their Kroger shoppers card.

It also means shoppers will no longer be able to access electronic coupons for P&G products from Kroger’s Web site, but will have to get them from P&G Web sites.

P&G e-mailed customers this week to say they won’t be able to download its “eSaver” paperless coupons for P&G products such as Pampers diapers and Tide detergent to their loyalty cards after Dec. 31.

The program was popular with coupon-savvy shoppers who would increase their savings by using paper coupons in addition to the coupons loaded onto the Kroger Plus card, a practice called “stacking.”

“It really stinks,” said Tara Roark, a Wilmington mother who teaches couponing at www.couponbootcamp.com. For example, she stacks paper and electronic coupons for P&G’s Bounty towels to save up to 75 cents a roll. “We may have to revert back to the store brand or shop more at Wal-mart,” she said.

P&G said the program was a test that began in December 2007. “We were generally pleased with the results of the test to date,” said P&G spokesperson Judi Kletz.

Kroger indicated that it wanted its shoppers to access electronic coupons from its Web site, rather than be redirected to the P&G Web site.

“We’re interested in having customers on Kroger.com because that’s the way people who use our loyalty card can see all offers available to them,” said Kroger spokesperson Meghan Glynn. “While we regret P&G’s decision, kroger.com will continue to have great coupon offers from a variety of partners for our customers.”

Kroger is one of P&G’s largest customers, but the two Cincinnati-based companies also compete for sales as Kroger offers a growing list of store brands in P&G product categories such as pet food and diapers.

Staff reporter Laura Baverman contributed.

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~ by sjfrenda on December 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “Kroger and P&G Clash on e-Coupons – P&G Out”

  1. Steve, both Kroger and P&G have to had known going into this two years ago that the professional coupon mercenaries were going to tax the limits of this test going into it. I agree that this is a lot bigger than it seems and it sends the worst impression that neither Kroger or P&G have their consumer’s best interests at heart, especially during these bad economic times.

    The timing of their decision is as bad as the appearance that neither side had thought out the “stacking” issue in advance. Add in the fact that this comes out at Christmas time, it leaves an additional bad taste in the mouths of consumers that will linger a lot longer than both sides expect.

    This plays right into the strengths and positioning of Private Label Brands to step in and capitalize on bad shopper sentiment that will be meted out towards Kroger and P&G, in Cincinnati. Definitely a defining moment that both will regret.

  2. Very interesting, the battle rages on, the winner is the focus on return on investment marketing

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