The Death of Paper Coupons

August 4, 2020 | AppCard Team

In an age that has fostered extreme behavior change among shoppers and dramatically altered the in-store shopping experience, it is difficult for grocers to know how to adapt and thrive.  Rarely do we see singular events bring about successful adaptation to new realities and we should look at this evolution like a recipe with multiple ingredients.   Like most recipes, there are core ingredients and presentation-oriented ingredients.  In the current COVID world, we see three changes to the landscape that grocers must address.


First, there is an emotionally driven change to the shopper psyche.  Shoppers are looking for more and more ways to go contactless during their shopping trips, which can be a relatively difficult proposition in a brick and mortar setting.  This is a core ingredient and grocers that can provide a contactless and safe experience will thrive with new shopper acquisition and current shopper retention. 


Second, as the unemployment rate continues to rise, shoppers are looking for ways to save money and will continue to seek out grocers that help them save while still fulfilling their grocery needs and wants.  This is another core ingredient to the successful COVID recovery recipe.  


The third is the convenience.  This is a presentation-based ingredient that ties the first two together.  Simply providing contactless shopping and savings without providing a convenient way to do so will render these adaptations useless and shoppers will move on to another retailer offering these options conveniently.  


The first two adaptations go hand in hand.  Over the past several months the market has seen countless grocers minimize their weekly ad distribution,  discontinue the use of paper coupons at their stores and even during curbside pickup.  The paper coupons represented an unnecessary risk of contact that put both shoppers and grocer employees at risk.  To name a few, Bj’s Wholesale Club suspended the use of paper coupons as of March 30th, Weis Markets has canceled the use of paper coupons both in-store and curbside and Peapod has suspended them as well in an attempt to put shopper and employee safety first (  So, what are grocers doing to solve these issues?


Many grocers have opted to launch digital coupons at their stores.  Digital coupons allow shoppers, on one hand, to avoid touching the weekly coupon ads and handing them to grocery staff. However, on the other hand electronically clipped and loaded digital coupons to the shopper’s loyalty account makes the coupon redemption process a seamless, effortless and contactless experience.   This allows grocers to provide shoppers with savings that they need in a safe manner, during these trying times.  Examples of this adaptation in technology can be seen in larger retailers like Meijer and Target or independent grocers such as Shursave Markets, Piggly Wiggly North Carolina, Stauffers, Walt Churchill, and many other independent grocers.


While digital coupons check off the first two ingredients in our new COVID world, the ease of access, clipping, and redemption must be readily available and easy to use.  Digital coupon success hinges on touchpoints, how shoppers can find, access, and redeem them.  Digital coupons can be sent to shoppers via email, they can be accessed on a mobile application, website, and or e-commerce when integrated appropriately.  In some stores – shoppers can clip coupons in lane while waiting to checkout via in lane touch screens that are easy to keep clean.  With digital coupons, redemptions happen automatically once the shopper provides their unique identifier for their purchase — either a loyalty card or a phone number.  


You may be reading the above examples and thinking, “Meijer and Target are large retailers with the resources to evolve, what about the independent grocers that make up the backbone of the industry?”.

Rewards, loyalty and digital coupons are mission critical offerings that require the most reliable solution for your day to day promotions and pricing solution. The AppCard JBrain, powered by Intel’s CPU and WiFi helps put your data to work with intelligence from Edge to the Cloud across our IOT architecture.

In comes AppCard, one of the largest aggregators of digital coupon content in the United States, offering independent grocers and their shoppers’ access to hundreds of active coupons from National Brands, CPGs, Manufacturers and Wholesaler content every single month.Digital coupons are mission critical offerings that require the most reliable solution for your day to day promotions and pricing solution. The AppCard JBrain, powered by Intel’s CPU and WiFi helps put your data to work with intelligence from Edge to the Cloud across our IOT architecture.With over 1,200 independent grocers, and more than 17,000,000 active shoppers across the network. AppCard is the out of the box affordable solution for the independent grocer. The AppCard platform does not stop there.  With inventory being unpredictable during the pandemic, AppCards fast integration to your Point-of-Sale allows you to be confident that shoppers will only receive coupons for products that you currently carry in real-time.  We know you have a store to run, so let us help you evolve to the new normal simply and worry-free. 


AppCard is a Member of the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance. A global ecosystem of more than 800 industry leaders, the Alliance offers its Members unique access to Intel technology, expertise, and go-to-market support, accelerating the deployment of best-in-class solutions. Powered by Intel CPU, AppCard J-brain ensures data is captured at the EDGE and transferred to the cloud where we run our machine learning and AI to guarantee that offers, rewards and campaigns are all personalized to shoppers and employees.



USA Today, April 28, 2020.

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