Digital coupons catching on for stores, customers

Publix to roll out new system; Walmart, Target, Winn-Dixie already using method

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you shop with coupons, read on.

Publix Supermarkets is taking a leap into the world of digital couponing.

Shoppers like Michelle Howard are looking forward to the new technology.

"I would try it, anything to save money," Howard said.

Publix is launching an online system allowing shoppers to browse hundreds of relatively higher-value coupons online, virtually clip them out, and redeem the discounts at checkout.

A few Publix stores already offer digital coupons. It will roll out for the entire company starting Monday and will last through March 23.

Shoppers can sign up online then register their phone number for ID purposes, then scroll through digital coupons and click the ones they want. The system stores that information.

When shoppers reach the cashier, they enter their phone number in the keypad, and if shoppers put those items on the belt for checkout, the system applies the discount to the total.

There's no need to print the coupons.

"Just to have that option to be able to go and click on something and it's automatically there, that's a great idea," Howard said.

Some stores already offer digital couponing. Walmart and Target have all built systems that let shoppers access online coupons. Target also offers a coupon app for all smartphones.

"Instead of guests having to bring their binders with a lot of coupons, they're able to just have all of them on their phone, and instead of having to scan all of them individually, they can just go ahead and scan one and that's all it takes," Target employee Claudia Nuaes said.

Winn-Dixie also recently launched a system in Florida that lets members of its shopper club load coupons onto their shopping card for redemption at the store without printing.

Shopper Leilani Ilano likes the idea of going paperless.

"The hassle of having paper coupons is remembering to bring them, 'cause a lot of times I forget it at home," Ilano said.

The digital system is not a replacement for paper coupons. Shoppers can still print out coupons from other websites.