CINCINNATI —The Kroger Co. is putting an interesting twist on its loyalty program with the launch of a new debit card and mobile payment program that gives shoppers double the loyalty rewards, including fuel points and private brand discounts, when used in tandem.
To take advantage of these benefits, customers just need to link their Kroger Rewards debit card with the newly launched Kroger Pay mobile payment app, which also links to shoppers' personal loyalty accounts.
Mary Ellen Adcock, group vice president of operations, said the new technology is another step in its "front-end experience transformation."
Gary Millerchip, CEO of Kroger personal finance and corporate strategy integration lead, said the retailer's Restock initiative has allowed it to lower operating costs, and the new debit card is "another way we are doing just that while also rewarding customers who use it."
Kroger said the mobile payment option offers state-of-the-art technology that allows customers to enter their custom PIN or biometrics to access a single-use QR code that can be scanned at checkout for quick payment; at the same time, they receive loyalty benefits, including digital coupons and personalized offers.
The mobile payment program also rewards customers who hold Kroger's 1-2-3 Rewards credit card and Rewards prepaid debit cards, but the payment option can be linked to almost any major credit, debit or prepaid card.
Kroger is investing heavily in technologies to link to customer loyalty data as part of its Restock plan.
The announcement comes about a week after Target revealed its own Target Circle loyalty program, which also focuses on personalization.
Kroger Pay recently launched in the retailer's Columbus, Ohio, division and will roll out to 10 additional markets this spring, with a nationwide deployment slated for later this year. The Kroger Rewards debit card is currently available in Columbus and in Kroger's King Soopers and City Market stores, but it will be available in all Kroger outlets this spring.