Kroger Is Getting Rid of Its Beloved Weekly Ad Insert, Starting Next Month
Customers are sad to see them go, but the grocery store says the move will cut costs.
We're all hunting for the best prices at the grocery store—especially these days. Maybe you've swapped out name-brand products for generic ones, or perhaps you're no longer tossing impulse buys into your cart. But seasoned Kroger shoppers know which items are the best buys before they even get to the store, as deals and sales are spelled out in the store's familiar weekly ad insert. Customers have relied on receiving these ads at home for years, but this will no longer be the case for many shoppers next month, as Kroger just announced it's no longer mailing out weekly ads or including them in newspapers in certain markets. Read on to find out more about Kroger's move to digital only.
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Kroger shoppers in four states will lose ad inserts at the end of May.
Some of us hold steadfast to print media, maintaining our daily newspaper subscriptions. There's something comforting about holding the paper in your hand while sipping your morning coffee—and it's also a convenient way to learn about different sales you don't want to miss.
Kroger has long sent out its ads in local newspapers or directly to your home, but customers in certain parts of Michigan, Indiana, Mississippi, and Oregon will no longer find these inserts in the mail after May.
Different news outlets report that Kroger is getting rid of paper ads and switching over to digital. Some shoppers in Michigan were informed of the change in the weekly ad for April 19 through 25, which announced, "Your weekly ad is going digital," the Detroit Free Press reported.
"Beginning May 28, we'll no longer deliver printed weekly ads to your home," the ad sent out in Michigan reads.
The May 28 date also applies to customers in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Portland, Oregon, Grocery Dive reported. Kroger shoppers in Columbus, Mississippi, will say goodbye to ads even sooner, as The Columbus Dispatch informed its subscribers that it will no longer have Kroger inserts as of May 24.
It's unclear whether this policy will apply nationwide.
For those who still want the print ad, you can pick up a copy in-store or call Kroger's hotline at 800-576-4377 to arrange for an ad to be sent to you directly, the Detroit Free Press reported. But in the latest ad, Kroger directs customers to go digital by scanning a quick response (QR) code.
You can access the weekly ad on Kroger's website or through the app, and once you create an account, you can download "exclusive digital coupons and much more," the most recent print ad states.
"Kroger is joining many retailers in shifting the way our weekly ads are distributed," a company spokesperson told Best Life. "Printed copies will still be available in our stores for customers to peruse. Customers can also view our ads in the Kroger mobile app or at Kroger.com when they are planning their weekly grocery trips."
Customers are airing their grievances.
The Detroit Free Press noted that some delivery areas in Michigan haven't received a print ad in quite a while, but customers who just learned of the change aren't happy about it.
"I like looking through the circular and planning my weekly shopping from it," Sharon Broshear of Brownstown, Michigan, told the newspaper. "I go through it and mark what's on sale and decide whether it's a good price."
In addition, Kroger shoppers expressed concerns about access for seniors, who may not be comfortable going online or navigating the store's app. Others said the digital approach could be tricky for people without access to the internet or smartphones.
"While I don't mind because I can view the ad online, I do think that it would affect those customers who aren't comfortable accessing the information online (elderly, those without internet, etc.)," Jolyn Felten, administrator and owner of the Bargains to Bounty Facebook page, told the Detroit Free Press. "I know paper ads are available in the store, but it isn't the same."
Kroger says it will save money by cutting the ads.
In a statement to the Detroit Free Press, Kroger said that it's discontinuing ad deliveries in some areas while the company "continues to create a simple, convenient grocery shopping experience." But like many other retailers, Kroger is also going digital to cut costs.
"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," the company told The Columbus Dispatch about its decision to discontinue print ads.
As Sylvain Perrier, CEO and president of e-commerce solutions company Mercatus, told Grocery Dive, Kroger's move isn't all that surprising.
"I think it's known in the industry, typically, direct cost to producing a flyer normally represents 50 percent of the total marketing budget," Perrier said in an interview with the outlet. "So that's printing cost, development and distribution with a very difficult to near impossible way to measure the return on the investment."