I’m probably in the minority when it comes to coupons – at least that’s what the new couponing reality shows would have you believe. I am not a couponer and I doubt very much that that will change anytime soon. I buy food by nutritional value, not by the discount. Free isn’t really free if it’s unnatural and processed food and unfortunately food that’s free from artificial colors and flavors are rarely the ones on sale. Still, I’m not rich so if there’s a way to save on real food, I’m all for it and that’s why Safeway’s new discount savings program just for U intrigued me.
This new just for U program takes into account your shopping habits as tracked by your Safeway Club Card and then makes you offers on discounts for items based on that information. I recently got a chance to meet with the top folks at Safeway to learn more about the program, how it works, and how it’ll benefit customers, plus we got to take the new program out on a test shop.
We met at the Bellevue Safeway Headquarters and learned that the program took two years to develop and it includes a new smartphone app. But don’t worry if you haven’t made the financial commitment to a smartphone because it works from the web as well. But what’s really fantastic is that people like me who have a web-enabled device (iPod Touch in my case) that require Wi-Fi can use our devices in the stores, because many of the Safeway stores have free Wi-Fi available so we can access the features as well.
Connie Thomopson of KOMO TV News
How Safeway’s just for U Program Works
To find your just for U personalized deals, visit the Safeway site online and click on the just for U icon. Once there (and if you’re logged in), you’ll see your specially discounted items and any free trial items available just to you. When I did this I found discounts on antacids and shampoo; one was the national brand my husband always uses, the other was the store alternative.
“Load” any of the deals onto your Safeway Club Card virtually which just a click of your mouse and when you shop you’ll get the best price for the items you select; whether it is Card savings or just for U savings. All coupon rules still apply (in Washington there is no such thing as doubling, but you can still stack a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon). The store personnel have been trained on the new system and when I stopped at my local Safeway on the way home from the event they were signing people up in the aisles and checkout went smoothly.
Shop It Out!
The influential bloggers invited to the event were taken to the new Bellevue Safeway store after loading up their cards with personalized deals. Each blogger was given $50 to spend and a few coupon bloggers brought their trademark binders and bins full of coupons.
After a few words by Steve Frisby, Safeway Division President for Seattle & Portland, we took off to find our deals. Sadly two of the items I intended on purchasing were sold out on the shelves so my final savings with card deals and personalized just for U deals was a mere 9%. I chose not to get the free eggs (they were not organic) which would have upped my percentage a bit. The top saver? The blogger with the bin of coupons. She saved 70% off the retail price of her groceries.
I did shop again on the way home (we weren’t able to purchase perishable items at the early shop and evidently 90% of what I buy is live, perishable food) and my savings on that trip was 19%.
For hard core couponers this is a great way to be sure you’re getting the best deal. Personalized deals may also show you competitor’s pricing to further remind you of the savings. Adding coupons is a once-a-week chore which just requires a visit to the Safeway Coupon Center to check out the newest manufacturer, store, and just for U coupons. It takes about 7-seconds to do a full page of coupons and once loaded you’re not required to use them, but they’re there if you purchase the item. Since my husband is our main shopper at Safeway I’ll be going in once a week and loading coupons in the off chance he buys something on the list – who doesn’t love free money?
Places for Improvement
For families like mine, the just for U system isn’t very accurate. I do 90% of my shopping from an online competitor so Safeway only sees the bits and pieces we pick up locally which gives a very inaccurate look at our needs. Sadly there’s not a feature that would allow me to provide a profile of my family which would immensely improve the performance of the system and perhaps get me to move some of my purchases from the competitor over to Safeway.
The Safeway Team
I was impressed by the Safeway team and their enthusiasm surrounding saving their customer’s money. It felt genuine and honest and I appreciated that very much. The team was generous with their time and answered every question asked of them.
Safeway promises more upgrades and features in the future, but for now the very workable app is available for download or use the web access.
Saving money has never been this easy – virtual couponing is a fabulous future-looking technology.