FORT LEE, Va — The Defense Commissary Agency is making progress in its rollout of the Commissary Rewards Card that will soon allow customers to access and redeem digital coupons at all of its stores.
Testing began Aug. 8 at the Fort Lee Commissary, Va., eventually moving to 30 stores by the end of the month. DeCA then began a gradual rollout to its commissaries in September, with deployment scheduled to be completed by early fall.
Cards can only be used at commissaries where the card has been deployed. Customers are asked to check with their local commissary to see if the card is available at their store. Stores that are using the cards will be actively passing them out to authorized patrons and will have signs displayed promoting the program. As an introductory offer, customers who pick up their cards by Oct. 24 will receive preloaded digital coupons on their cards that they can use in the commissary immediately.
“We are very excited about this new initiative,” said DeCA Director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu. “These cards will allow our customers to reduce the number of paper coupons they have to clip and carry,” he added. “That saves our customers time, effort and money.”
The cards, which will only be available at commissaries, are easy to use. Once customers get their cards in the store, they will need to visit DeCA’s website to register it and load digital coupons to their account. Once the card is scanned at the register, the coupons will be matched to their purchases and the savings automatically deducted. It’s that simple. Customers like retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Scherer said they are excited about what the program has to offer.
“I don’t coupon enough,” said Scherer, the first commissary customer to use the new card at the Fort Lee Commissary. “But now that I have this, I don’t have to ñ I can just load them on the card at home and come shopping.”
Customers will have the option of printing off a list of their coupons before making the trip to the commissary to help them keep track of their savings. New offers will typically be posted online every two to three weeks.
As an incentive, customers who register their card by Oct. 24 can enter the 2012 Commissary Rewards Card “Home for the Holidays Sweepstakes” sponsored by Dr Pepper-Snapple for a chance to win round-trip airline tickets for four to anywhere in the states, lodging in a hotel room that accommodates four for six days and five nights, and $1,000 spending money. The sweepstakes entry form will appear at the end of the registration process online.
Digital coupons, just like their paper counterparts, have expiration dates and other terms and conditions that must be followed for redemption. However, digital coupons will not be accepted for up to six months after expiration overseas, as paper coupons are. That’s because the coupons are distributed digitally and are instantly available to all customers worldwide, so overseas customers won’t need extra time to use the coupons. Once a coupon expires, it will disappear from the customer’s account.
Also, DeCA’s coupon policy limits coupons to one per purchase, so these digital coupons cannot be combined with manufacturer coupons, including paper coupons and military or commissary coupons.
Future enhancements to the card are expected to enable DeCA’s industry partners to target savings based on the customer’s specific usage, alert patrons to available sales promotions at their local stores and reward consistent shoppers with specific incentives.
“Digital couponing is the first of many innovative programs that are part of our Commissary 2020 vision to deliver a 21st century benefit,” Jeu said. “We are always working with our industry partners to negotiate the lowest possible prices and identify new ways for our customers to save even more.”