CHANDLER, Ariz. — Bashas' here is positioning itself as a discount-friendly retailer by expanding a program that teaches people how to use coupons more efficiently.
Free Coupon Sense classes are now being offered in select Bashas' units in the Metro Phoenix area. Before now, the classes were offered only in Bashas' Gilbert, Ariz., location.
“We're providing Coupon Sense with a venue,” Bashas' spokeswoman Alison Bendler told SN. “They do all the logistical work.”
Coupon Sense is an eight-year-old coupon subscription service that a Chandler mother launched as a way to save money on her groceries. The program has since branched out to all of Arizona and Utah.
For about $3.50 a week, members receive a personalized shopping list that pairs manufacturers' coupons with retailers' weekly ads. If a retailer discounts a box of $2.50 crackers to $1.99, and the manufacturer runs a $1 off coupon for the same item in the Sunday paper, the customer will be made aware that they could get the item for just 99 cents. When retailers offer double and triple coupons, savings can be much greater. Coupon Sense members say they even get many items for free.
Members access their personalized lists, which feature discounts from multiple retailers, by entering their name and password on the Coupon Sense website, www.couponsense.com.
Two years ago, Coupon Sense instructors began offering free classes in a Bashas' store in Gilbert. Based on growing consumer interest, Coupon Sense decided it was time to add more stores.
Attendees are taught how to find and file coupons, and how to use them efficiently. Shoppers do not have to become Coupon Sense members in order to attend.
Bashas' was eager to accommodate Coupon Sense because it views coupon shoppers as an important target market, said Bendler, since many discount-sensitive shoppers are not loyal to a specific retailer. Rather, they typically choose their weekly food store based on which has the best savings that week, she said.
“This program helps drive traffic to our stores,” Bendler said.
The retailer caters to coupon shoppers in other ways, including offering double and, occasionally, triple coupons.
Along with adding more Coupon Sense classes, Bashas' is promoting the classes more heavily. Bashas' home page now has a link to www.thecouponlady.info, which provides information about Coupon Sense and a registration form for the Bashas' classes.
Bashas' also provides Coupon Sense brochures at the customer service desk, and has created in-store signage.
Nina Brannock, a Coupon Sense manager, said Bashas' is Coupon Sense's biggest retailer supporter.
“I give kudos to Bashas',” she said. “Who would think that a supermarket would teach people how to save money in their stores?”
The Bashas' classes, taught by a Coupon Sense instructor, are about 30 minutes long and are held in a seating area near the deli department. The classes typically take place every other day.