July 10, 2009, 12:00 AM

Safeway connects mobile phone and grocery card for digital coupons

Cellfire has expanded its national digital grocery coupon program, adding Safeway, one of the largest grocers in the country. Cellfire digital grocery coupons are available via mobile phone or computer, and redeemable at 1,500 Safeway stores and online.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Cellfire Inc. has expanded its national digital grocery coupon program, adding Safeway, one of the largest grocers in the country. Cellfire digital grocery coupons are available via mobile phone or computer, and redeemable at more than 1,500 Safeway stores nationwide under the banners of Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s and Safeway.

“Shoppers are spending more and more time online and we see electronic coupons loaded to their shopper card as a way to better serve our customers,” says Michelle Marian, vice president of interactive marketing at Safeway Inc. “As Safeway launches the new couponLink program, we’re excited to partner with Cellfire to offer our customers a unique way to save at our stores and online. Also, our customers who shop online at Safeway.com can now use the digital coupons.”

To receive coupons, a consumer visits Cellfire’s web site and activates a free account, selects her telecommunications provider (consumers must have wireless data service to receive coupons), mobile phone manufacturer and mobile phone model, and then enters her phone number. Cellfire then sends the consumer a text message with a link to download the company’s coupon application onto her mobile phones. For some phone models, a consumer accesses Cellfire’s mobile web site instead of downloading the application.

Once the account is activated, consumers can browse through the application or mobile web site to view coupons from numerous businesses, including Safeway. A one-time set-up allows the user to link a Cellfire account with a Safeway grocery savings card. Coupons selected from within the Cellfire application are downloaded into the Safeway card account and automatically redeemed at checkout. Once a coupon is used or expired, it automatically is deleted from the consumer’s Cellfire and Safeway accounts.

“During this recession, there is no better time to offer coupons and do so in an effective and efficient way to help grocery stores drive traffic and build affinity,” says Brent Dusing, CEO of Cellfire. “We expect more grocery chains to make the same decision that Safeway has-to marry the most popular device of the 21st century, the mobile phone, with the most popular place coupons are used, the grocery store.”

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