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Earlier this month, Kroger said that it would eliminate its use of print advertising and coupons because of declining newspaper circulation and many newspapers eliminating their print editions.  Kroger said that it the ads for Kroger stores and subsidiaries, including Ralphs, Fred Meyer and King Soopers, would shift online, with printed copies available in stores.

But now, the retailer is saying that it "is now making accommodations for the smartphone-challenged who have been unable to get many digital deals," the Journal-News reports in Ohio.

According to the story, Kroger issued a statement saying that "We understand that not all customers choose to engage digitally when shopping with retailers. Customers who would like to take advantage of digital coupons can receive the discounted pricing at any customer service desk.”

"In addition, Kroger said 'customers do not need smartphones to access savings, simply log on to Kroger.com and start clipping,' after entering your Kroger Plus Card number.  That means shoppers may clip digital coupons on your laptop at home, that go directly to their loyalty cards."

KC's View:

Making accommodations for a customer demographic - albeit a fast-shrinking one - is never a bad idea.  I still think that this is just a temporary blip in the inevitable march toward digital-only ads and promotions.

As I said when Kroger made the original announcement, this actually allows it to argue that it is providing a more targeted, customized and effective experience for shoppers.  The upside is potentially enormous.

Let's be clear - Digital engagement is a competitive advantage.  If a retailer can engage with a shopper in this way, costs go down and sales go up because of the retailer's greater relevance.  And Kroger wants to get ahead of the competition, not settle for the status quo, because it wants to dominate.