By Colleen Flaherty

Killeen Daily Herald

The Fort Hood commissaries could look a little bit more like civilian grocery stores starting this fall.

Defense Commissary Agency officials unveiled plans for a new digital coupon card or "loyalty card" at a recent conference in Norfolk, Va., according to the Army Times.

Virginia-based agency spokesman Gary Frankovich said Tuesday that the agency was "excited to begin exploring this program, as our patrons are currently exposed to this technology in the public sector."

Digital coupons will be available for download to a "Commissary Rewards" card through a dedicated website, he wrote in an email. They will not be available for printing through the site.

The initiative is aimed at increasing customer satisfaction through convenience, Frankovich said, as those using coupons "will not have the hassle of clipping coupons, organizing them, saving them and remembering to bring them to the commissary for redemption."

According to the Army Times, commissary shoppers' coupon use has declined over the past year. Some 71 million coupons were used between October 2010 and April 2011, down from 76 million during the same period the previous year fiscal year.

The average commissary coupon value has risen, however, to 91 cents, from 87 cents in 2010, according to the Times.

Rebecca King, a Houston-based spokeswoman for the Kroger grocery store chain, whose Kroger Plus card program offers similar benefits, said Tuesday that digital coupons were the way of the future.

She didn't say whether coupon use has increased due to the program, but said that Kroger Plus was another way to drive loyalty and set Kroger apart from its competitors.

The news met mixed reviews from Fort Hood spouses.

Crissy Landez expressed enthusiasm, while others, including Shannon Williams, said they've shopped off-post for sometime and that Commissary Rewards won't bring them back.

Long lines and less selection than at other area grocers aren't worth the tax-free benefits and convenience of shopping on post, Williams said.

Contact Colleen Flaherty at or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.

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