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Kroger supermarket chain expands mobile coupon promotion

August 21, 2009

krogerKroger Co. has expanded its mobile coupon campaign to serve 2,200 of its grocery stores around the country after a successful test of 200 stores.

The mobile coupon pilot took place in the South. More than half of the consumers who joined the program ended up redeeming more than one coupon. The conversion rate for coupons was more than 10 percent, according to Cellfire, the company powering the campaign for Kroger.

“Outside of the U.S., loyalty programs are making active use of the mobile channel,” said Rick Ferguson, editorial director of Colloquy, a firm specializing in loyalty programs.

“Particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, program operators are sending proximity bonus offers that utilize GPS, and mobile payment systems that allow members to accrue points while making purchases with their smart phones are big, particularly in Japan,” he said.  

“Europe has also made some inroads,” he said. “The U.S. and Canada, by contrast, really lag behind Asia-Pacific in use of mobile. It’s an undeveloped channel here, as email continues to be the predominant method by which programs communicate to their members.

“That will change, however, once mobile payments become commonplace in North America over the next decade.”

Founded in 1883 by Barney Kroger, the company is one of the largest retail food companies in the United States. Kroger specializes in distribution and merchandising of food, pharmacy, health and personal care items, seasonal merchandise, and related products and services.

Kroger and Cellfire have created a partnership that allows Cellfire users to reap savings when using their Kroger Plus Card. Shoppers can get large discounts from brands and select Kroger labeled products.

This exciting opportunity is available at Kroger stores in South Eastern states, Illinois, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas.

The Cellfire service is supported on almost any mobile phone that can connect to the Internet or data network. Cellfire works on every major carrier and phone manufacturer in the United States.

Depending on the mobile phone, users either get to use the Cellfire application or Cellfire Express, the company’s mobile Web site.

To sign up to get coupons in the first place, Kroger shoppers just need to visit Cellfire’s Web site at to activate their account.

Consumers can also text the keyword GROCERY to the short code 22888.

Cellfire sends interested consumers an SMS with a link to download the coupon application to their mobile phone.

Users can preset their Cellfire account to link to their Kroger Plus Card account, the supermarket’s loyalty program.

What this means is that every time the user selects a coupon from the Cellfire application, the coupon is added to the card and redeemed at checkout when the card is presented to the cashier.

Coupons that expire before being used are automatically deleted from the card.

The current economic slowdown has caused many Americans to start penny pinching. However, consumers redeem only about 2 percent of paper coupons.

Currently, Kroger is offering several different coupons. They can be viewed at

For example the grocery store is offering shoppers $1 off of Huggies Diapers.

In order to find participating stores, users just choose a grocery coupon and select “Locations.” In that section is a list of participating Kroger stores and their addresses.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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