Publix's New Digital Coupon Service Coming in March

Obsessed with saving money using coupons but aren't into the paper cuts from clipping or squinting at tiny ads on your smartphone?

Lakeland-based Publix in March plans to roll out a new digital coupon service that will allow shoppers to preselect discounts on the company's website before heading to the store. Once at checkout you'll give your information, more specifically your phone number, to the cashier and your coupons will be applied.

At the moment there are about 100 coupons on the site, usable only in stores where the program is being tested, for everything from trash bags to pasta to peanuts. The coupons are separate from those found in newspapers or stores and can't be combined.

The only catch seems to be that you'll be required to fork over your phone number if you want to take part. The program is managed by Inmar, according to the St. Petersburg Times. It's a North Carolina-based company that runs digital coupon programs, supply-chain software and pharmacy management software. A live ticker on the company's website claim it works with 1,700 retailers across the country and has processed more than 41 million digital coupons.

Similarly Winn-Dixie recently launched an online coupon program where shoppers select digital deals, add them onto their reward cards, which are swiped at checkout.

The small-print privacy policy to which users must agree while signing up says the company doesn't sell our rent any information to third parties, but notes that it might share the information with Publix's service providers or share "aggregated demographic information with our partners and advertisers."

Inmar Spokesperson Kimberly Reynolds said the company doesn't share details about its agreements with any of its clients, but said "third parties will not have access to our customers' information."

If there's little chance of our information landing on a marketing lead list, perhaps we can hope this program will send us alerts when coupons we use regularly (the buy-one-get-one kind, not the deceptive buy-two-save-50-cents variety) appear on the site.

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