There’s a frenzy of speculation in the trade press this week that German discounter Lidl could soon launch an online grocery delivery service in the UK. No official plans have been revealed as yet, but as Lidl already operates online shops in Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Poland, a UK service seems highly likely.
It’s thought that a first stage online launch would cater for delivery of wines, spirits and non-food items such as toys and homewares, similar to what Aldi currently offers in the UK.
This is largely based on rumours that Lidl is exploring a partnership with logistics giant iForce, which is thought to already handle some of Lidl’s inventory services, according to The Grocer.
Redditch-based iForce, part of the Eddie Stobart group, already boasts leading retail clients including Tesco, John Lewis and Waitrose in the UK. It’s interesting to note that Aldi also uses iForce to provide supply chain solutions for its wine, spirits and non-food delivery service which launched in 2016.
The speculation has been fuelled by reports in October last year that Lidl was advertising for digital managers for “exciting new ecommerce projects”, while in 2018 Lidl launched Lidl Digital Logistics Great Britain Ltd, adding further weight to speculation a UK launch could be imminent.
Lidl’s US home delivery trail
It May 2019 it emerged that Lidl would begin offering home delivery in the US as part of a partnership with digital retailer Boxed.
The partnership involves Boxed licencing parts of its end-to-end delivery technology to the German discounter, offering an assortment of Lidl’s snacks, fresh meat and produce, beverages and home essentials to Boxed customers in parts of New York and Georgia.
In this trail set up, it’s been reported that Boxed’s employees select the items from Lidl’s stores and deliver them in as little as three hours.
Lidl’s home delivery in Ireland
In Ireland, Lidl already delivers groceries within one hour in partnership with local delivery company Buymie (pictured left) which has also teamed with Tesco.
The partnership with Buymie started in January 2019. Lidl has made collaboration with small, local delivery services the mainstay of its online strategy in several markets.
Waiting for the right market conditions in the UK?
It may be that Lidl is not quite ready to leap into the UK home delivery market which is already fiercely competitive. German industry publication Lebensmittel Zeitung quotes Lidl’s head office dismissing a UK online shop launch as “speculation”. Industry observers note that Lidl is struggling to find a profitable model for the UK, given current market conditions here.
Photo credit: Lidl Corporate