Speculation has emerged around whether Lidl is planning to launch an online delivery service after it created a holding company called Lidl Digital Logistics in Britain.
The Daily Mail reported that the discount German retailer was gearing up to enter the online grocery market as it looks to compete with the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, both of which have established e-commerce operations.
Lidl Digital Logistics was incorporated with Companies House on 25 April, with initial shareholdings of £50,000. The retailer’s chief financial officer Dirk Kahl and chief executive Chritsian Hartnagel were registered as directors for the new business.
The move may have been prompted by news of a potential £15 billion merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda to create the UK’s biggest supermarket.
Both Aldi and Lidl reacted bullishly to Sainsbury’s pledge to slash everyday prices by 10 per cent if the merger goes ahead by vowing to remain cheaper than their competitors.
According to a 2015 survey by IGD, a third of shoppers would consider buying fresh and chilled food online from the discounters.
The same study found that 78 per cent of consumers who already shop at Lidl and Aldi and shop online with other retailers would be willing to order online from the discounters.
However, up until now the German supermarket chains have been reluctant to venture into e-commerce because it wouldn’t fit with their low-cost, no-frills business model.
“Once you factored in the cost of picking, packing and delivering, there’s no way Lidl could have offered the same low prices you find in store,” retail analyst Natalie Berg from NBK Retail told The Daily Mail.
“However, the rise in third-party delivery services is opening doors for supermarkets, allowing them to cater to the growing demand for online grocery without the hefty investment in infrastructure or systems.”
One example of this is Marks & Spencer, which began trialling a delivery service with courier firm Gophr in Camden and Reading in September 2017.