Safeway takes the leap

Forward.. Remember the way we use to shop the grocery store. Hmm.. If you were really organized, you would cut out the coupons from the weekly flyer or newspaper and make a list of the items you want before you went to the store. Then it’s a matter of going to the store, walking down the aisles, comparing the prices of the sales items against what you may have on your list and hoping that you aren’t paying too much. If you are like me, you just go to the store and decide on the spot what item offers the best deal and put it in the cart.

I think that this has changed forever. As a freelance Web designer I have to have a “day job” and mine is working at Safeway. Recently, it has come to my attention that Safeway is launching a new program called “just for U”. At first you may think that this is just another ploy to get me to go to their website and get pitched for stuff I am not really interested in. Just the opposite is true. Safeway has developed a truly new concept when it comes to buying food at the best price possible.

For years we have been handing over our club card to the checker to get the discount on items that are listed on the ad or in store promotions. Ever wonder what all this data is being used for, like what you buy, when you buy it, and how much you are willing to pay for it. It does allow Safeway to keep its stores stocked with items you want when you want them, but is that it? Up until now that was all that this data was used for at least from my limited point of view.

The just for U program that is being launched on 10/27/10 (northern California) will provide to everyone who signs up, personal “deals” and “specials” targeted just for them. It also allows you to load these coupons onto your card so you don’t have to spend your time clipping out coupons from the newspaper or flyer. Most important is that fact that these deals and specials are truly just for U. Your buying history determines what offers will be available to you when visiting the website. Also these prices will be the most competitive that are on the market beating everyone else’s prices for the same product. Oh, one more great innovation, you will also be able to print (or email it to your hubby) “your” shopping list with all the great deals.

This whole concept is pretty slick and reflects what shopping should be about in the 21 century. Using the technology available to provide the on-line services that we need and expect of company’s who are selling us services and products. The only way I can see that this system might fail is “user error”. If I have more than one Safeway card and load the deals onto one card but use the other card when I go shopping then I will not get the deals I was expecting. If I let other people use my card to purchase their goods, then their shopping history will be added to my shopping history and will add offers of products that I may not be interested in. The fact is the only one that can mess up this program is me. Of course there is always customer service if I find myself really stuck.

Conclusion; Hats off to Safeway and its innovative approach to the way we all buy groceries. It will be interesting to watch how the other retailers try to catch up in the market place.


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