business news in context, analysis with attitude

Michael Sansolo yesterday had a column about how he found a new Lidl store in the US to be very strong in terms of consumer education and accessibility. This prompted one MNB reader to write:

Michael, what did you buy at Lidl ? Anything that you bought that would make Lidl a regular "trip"? Lots of PR about LIDL, but can anyone living in these areas tell us if the stores are busy?

Michael responds:

Thanks for your note and I'm sorry I didn't reference my purchases. But because it was a brutally hot day and I live more than 90 miles from this store, I couldn't do much shopping. However, I did buy one box of cereal, a snack item and one of their surprise features--a bicycling shirt.

If I were nearby the store I'd probably shop it regularly for wine (the selection and information was excellent) and some of the grocery items. But I'd check it regularly for the specials.

And the store was moderately crowded, especially for a mid-afternoon on Tuesday. By comparison, the nearby Aldi was a ghost town.

And MNB reader Tom Murphy chimed in:

One of the little things I noted in Michael’s comments was the picture of the Surprise section at Lidl’s…the sign says “Check back every Thursday and Monday for more surprises…”.  Might this also be a smart way to shift some of the shopping from the weekend to other days of the week?  This could certainly help spread the volume a little more evenly throughout the shopping week…which can’t hurt labor management.  It also straddles a lot of competitor ad weeks.
And from MNB reader Tom DeLuca:

Hey there! Just piggybacking on Michael’s observations of how Lidl knows how to talk to their shoppers, he didn’t touch on the notion of becoming a Lidl’er.  Like many, in the days before Lidl landed on our shores, I rolled up my sleeves to learn all I could and place bets on what I thought their impact would be. What fascinated me was the discovery that Lidl hosts an online “community” called, “My Lidl”, where Lidl shoppers, affectionately called, “Lidl ers”, can come and post “in the “My Lidl lounge” about all things Lidl. Lidl is listening as well as talking to their shoppers.

Regarding Albertsons saying that it plans to ramp up its investment in grocery delivery, one MNB reader wrote:

Maybe they should think about what they charge for slotting and concentrate on a real market strategy.

Responding to yesterday's story about Walmart "towers" designed to allow people to pick up online orders without actually interacting with employees, MNB reader Chris Esposito wrote:

Why does this remind me of filling out that slip of paper, handing it to the employee and seeing my item come out form the back on a conveyor at Service Merchandise…..
KC's View: