Lidl UK: three initiatives to watch

Date : 12 June 2019

We look at the latest developments from Lidl UK including expansion into ecommerce, a new marketing campaign and labelling system.

1. Exploring ecommerce

Lidl has said it is "actively exploring" ecommerce in the UK for the first time according to The Grocer. This comes after the retailer has advertised for an e-commerce project manager and a junior project manager. It has been a year since Lidl created the holding company Lidl Digital Logistics. Since then there has been growing evidence that the retailer is looking to expand into online.

Lidl first introduced its delivery service in Ireland in 2018 in partnership with Buymie. Buymie is a third-party grocery delivery service that began as a start-up in Dublin. It uses self-employed couriers to fulfil orders placed on an app in a similar way to Deliveroo. After a successful trial it rolled out the service across Dublin in January 2019.

Source: Google Play

Buymie now looks as though it is expanding into London. It has recruited a London-based general manager according the The Grocer. Buymie secured  €1m (£880,000) of investment in January and is expected to use this to roll out its operations in the rest of the UK. The businesses new general manager is Oli Reynoldson who previously worked for Deliveroo.

There has been no official announcements made but Buymie's new recruit has generated media coverage speculating over whether Lidl will partner with Buymie in London and launch a new delivery service in the capital. The Drinks Business has also revealed that part of Lidl's online team were at its London Wine Fair in May, adding to the speculation that an online offer is coming, and that alcohol will be part of this. 

Over the last 12 months, Lidl has expanded its online presence from four countries to 11, including grocery ecommerce operations in five countries.

Read more about how the how the discounter is accelerating its online expansion with an in-depth look at its presence across Europe and the US.

2. 'Big on the big shop'

Lidl has launched a new marketing campaign that focuses on product quality, sustainability and the wide range of products Lidl stocks. The retailer is still using the 'Big on quality, Lidl on price' catchphrase but the emphasis is on quality first and price second. There is a TV advertising campaign and in-store POS to support this.

This activity should help build Lidl's reputation as a destination for a full weekly shop. but when focusing more on quality, Lidl will need to take care not to alienate its more price sensitive customers.

Source: IGD Research Lidl Tooting

3. Transparency in meat production

Lidl is trialling a 'method of production' label on all fresh chicken products. The aim is to improve transparency and help shoppers make more informed decisions. This is a first for the UK. The retailer has said it follows the success of a similar labelling scheme introduced by Lidl in Germany last year, which has led to wide-scale adoption across the industry.

The label will distinguish between the following types of farming;

  • Indoor: Birds are reared outside the UK to legal housing requirements
  • British Indoor: Birds live in a safe, comfortable housing with natural daylight, bales, perches and pecking objects
  • British Indoor +: Birds live in housing with more space to exhibit natural behaviour with natural daylight and environmental enrichment
  • British Free Range: Birds live in safe, comfortable housing with access to the outdoors for a minimum of 8 hours a day
  • British Organic: Birds have access to large outdoor spaces, with smaller flock sizes and a GM free diet

Ryan McDonnell, Lidl's chief commercial officer has said;

"To ensure that we are continuing to make good food accessible for all households, it's important that we offer customers quality meat products that are from a range of different farming systems. In addition to working with trusted partners, to give our customers the confidence that welfare standards are being maintained, we feel it's important to provide them with very clear, objective information about how the meat was produced to enable them to make an informed purchase decision."

In addition, Lidl has also committed to sourcing all its fresh chicken from UK farms by October this year. The retailer sources two-thirds of all its core products in Britain at the moment and it is committed to extending this further in the future.

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