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Grocers Asked to Stop “Digital Discrimination”

Consumer groups press supermarket execs to expand access to digital-only deals.

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While digital-only discounts can provide big savings for connected shoppers, many others can’t access these deals. The result: the latter shoppers are overpaying on essential grocery items during a time of record inflation.

To bring this matter to grocery executives’ attention, Progressive Grocer reports, a group of consumer groups sent an open call-to-action letter to the presidents of a dozen large supermarket chains asking them to find ways to help senior citizens and low-income shoppers take advantage of advertised digital-only in-store discounts. Recipients of the letter included The Kroger Co., Albertsons Co., Stop & Shop, Star Market/Shaw’s, Ralphs, QFC, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, Smart & Final and Safeway.

“It’s digital discrimination, and the most vulnerable people are being shut out of these online discounts at the worst possible time, given record-high inflation,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of Consumer World. “Big supermarkets need to provide an offline alternative to the digitally disconnected so they can reap the same savings that connected shoppers enjoy.”

The consumer groups’ suggestions for accomplishing that goal include:

  • Using barcoded “clip-or-click” store coupons in circulars so customer can choose their preferred redemption method.
  • Empowering cashiers to charge the digital price upon request.
  • Offering physical store coupons next to digital-only deals for those who didn’t/couldn’t electronically “clip” the offer.

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