March 18, 2008, 12:00 AM

New AOL service moves grocery coupons online

AOL has launched a service called Shortcuts that lets consumers link online coupons to their Kroger grocery store loyalty cards, then redeem them at stores by swiping their cards.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

AOL has launched a service called Shortcuts that lets consumers link online coupons to their Kroger grocery store loyalty cards, then redeem them at stores by swiping their cards.

Once registered, shoppers can search at www.shortcuts.com for coupons by product, brand and category and click on the coupons they want. Those coupons are associated with the customer’s Kroger loyalty card account and automatically redeemed when the shopper swipes a card at checkout.

Shoppers can also sign up for e-mails detailing how much they’ve saved, coupons redeemed and the value of unused coupons. They can also print out lists of coupons they have clicked to take to the store.

General Mills has agreed to offer coupons via Shortcuts on such brands as Cheerios, Green Giant and Yoplait products, and Kimberly-Clark and Kraft plan to join the program, AOL says. The web portal says other consumer products manufacturers are expected to join the program in coming months.

“Everyone wants to save money at the grocery store, but the hassle of paper coupons gets in the way,” says Sharon Baker, executive director of Shortcuts. “Shortcuts offers a simple online solution that takes scissors out of the equation.”

“Shoppers are spending more time online and are always looking for ways to save money and save time,” says Ken Fenyo, vice president, corporate loyalty, at The Kroger Co., which operates 2,487 supermarkets in 31 states. “ Shortcuts is a perfect fit, and we’re excited to work together to launch this program.”

81% of shoppers have at least one loyalty card and 75% use one at least weekly, says AOL, citing 2006 data from CMS Research.

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