Lidl is growing rapidly in the United Kingdom and to continue this further, the discount retailer is thinking about a move into ecommerce. The online activities could be a new way to compete with the Big Four of UK supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
Lidl probably won’t go all the way in terms of ecommerce, as its whole business model is based on simple and efficient operations that can keep the prices low. But it’s thinking about selling their wines online, RetailWeek writes.
Online grocery in the UK: €24bn by 2019
Online grocery sales in the UK are expected to hit 24 billion euros by 2019 and according to the British websites these figures have prompted Lidl to explore the ecommerce market more intensively. Until now, Lidl and Aldi didn’t do a thing with ecommerce in the United Kingdom, while their biggest competitors did. The growth of online grocery shopping helped offset the falling sales of major supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, although retailers are still struggling to make profit from their ecommerce operations. Shoppers just don’t pay enough in delivery charges to cover the costs.
Ben Hulme, who is the head of beer and wine for Lidl in the UK, told The Drinks Business the company was considering selling wines online, but that a decision was yet to be made. “The growth in wine is there to be seen and I would love to do it, however I don’t have the full picture in terms of the full complexity of what that would mean for the business”, Hulme said.
‘If we do it, we do it properly’
Hulme explains by saying he have been pushing it and would like to sell wine online in the UK, but that he doesn’t think it’s going to happen immediately. “At some point the heads will make a decision as to whether it makes sense – they haven’t said yes or no. We are aware that online is a big category. There needs to be a lot of thought put into it. What we are not going to do is put up a half thought out online shop. If we do it we will consider it properly and do it properly.”
RetailWeek says Lidl is ‘yet to trail an online service in Europe’, but it forgot the fact that Lidl has already launched a wine selling service in the Netherlands.
Four months ago, we wrote that the other big German grocery discounter, Aldi, is planning to launch an online store in the United Kingdom. But until now, we haven’t seen the launch of such a website yet. Still, it remains interesting to see what will happen in the grocery sector if Lidl and Aldi do offer their services online. Will they be able to gain more market share at the expense of the Big Four?