Discounter evolution: self-service checkouts and in-store recycling

Date : 15 April 2019

We are frequently seeing discounters Aldi and Lidl evolve their store concepts to meet the changing needs of shoppers. This week we have seen Aldi UK trial its first self-service checkouts and Lidl Ireland pioneer in-store recycling.

Aldi launches self-service checkouts

Aldi has launched self-service checkouts in its Glascote store in Tamworth, according to Retail Gazette. Although this is standard amongst the Big Four retailers and Aldi's main competitor Lidl, has them in 150 of its 740 UK stores, this is a first for Aldi. The retailer hopes the checkouts will improve the shopping experience, making it quicker and simpler. Aldi will make a decision on whether this should be rolled out to other stores based on the success of this trial. 

For subscribers, take a look at our store visit report of Aldi Glascote. The store is used as a testbed for the new initiatives and concepts before they are considered for roll-out across the country. It demonstrates other exciting new features that point towards a more sophisticated and efficiency-focused strategy to future-proof the business. 

Aldi is continuously innovating. We recently saw it open the first Aldi 'Local' banner. This store has been created to improve the shopper experience in cities.

Lidl Ireland launches in-store recycling

Lidl Ireland has become the first Irish retailer to offer shoppers in-store recycling stations to reduce packaging waste bought in-store. Shoppers can dispose of unwanted paper and plastic packaging in stations placed at the end of checkouts. This began as a trial in three stores and has been so successful Lidl is rolling it out to all its 160 stores in Ireland.

Plastic continues to be an area where retailers are frequently launching new initiatives to try and reduce waste. Aldi recently launched a trial to go plastic-free on five fruit and vegetable lines in Scotland. Tesco has also started a plastic-free fresh produce trial.

Discount continues to evolve

We are increasingly seeing discounters evolving, trialling new initiatives and store concepts across Europe. Aldi, Lidl, Norma and Eurospin have all looked to evolve with different concepts to target new shoppers and expand their reach;

  • Lidl opened its smallest store in Germany in February. At 503 sq m it is less than half of the traditional size of a Lidl store and offers 80% of the standard range. This is part of the retailers strategy to secure space near city centres. Plans are to open four more of these in 2019 in Munich
  • German discounter Norma is building larger stores and increasing its range. It will be adding around 160 SKUs to its existing range, mainly in chilled and fresh. The retailer is looking to emulate Aldi and Lidl's newest store formats
  • Italian Eurospin is also trialling a larger format. There will be greater space dedicated to fresh, including a butchery and bakery

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