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Got three emails about our Lidl coverage.

One MNB reader wrote:

I was in 2 of the Lidl stores after they opened.  Rocky Mt NC and Greenville SC. The item selection was off for the US consumer all across the store.  Frozen items that were being discontinued in other retailers.  Non-food items that weren’t relevant or very low end, and some “off the wall” choices for grocery items. 

The bakery was nice in one store but closed and under repair in the other…..already?

Both stores were dirty and had freezer issues with frosted over doors and dairy doors that were shattered or not closing properly. 

The wine pricing was good and the selection pretty standard. 

The overall look to me was ok, not really impressed.  Very industrial in appearance. 

The aisles were “overstocked” as if they were prepared for the masses that didn’t come.

Shelf conditions were a little messy but that could be due to time of day. 

Each store, for only being open a week were, in my opinion, slow for a new store. Parking lots were half empty, unlike other stores in the area.

I recently had a conversation with a family member, millennial, that lives by a new Lidl right down the road and they said that they probably won’t switch from the Aldi, Whole Foods, Publix shopping direction they currently have, because they didn’t like the first Lidl in that area to open.  Interesting.

I feel they had better revamp their model quickly or this road could be a long, pothole strewn, journey.

And, from another reader:

I’m a strong believer that matching expectations is critical in nearly every business situation.

In the case of Lidl, it seems to me that they could greatly benefit from social media campaign or such to show people how to shop at their stores. Their stores are a leap from US stores and even Aldi. Buying a new Heidi Klum fashioned skirt, merchandized in a cardboard box in the center of the store is somewhat perplexing. This is not Fresh and Easy (Tesco) or any of the newly developed formats we’re seeing rolled out.

I would have liked to be better prepared, prior to visiting, to know what to expect and how to benefit. Such a shift often requires a bit of education and will be interested to see if / how that may roll out over the next year.

And from another:

Lidl should outperform Aldi and Sav a Lot as it offers a better shopping environment. They may even siphon some customers from Dollar General or consumers who need to drive distances to get to a WM supercenter.

However, if Lidl sticks to their format, they will continue to suffer disappointment. Shoppers do not see them as a “larger Trader Joe's” or an alternate to their favorite full service supermarket. Too early to “sound the gong”, but I am watching for pivot.

Also got some email about Market Basket’s first-ever website.

One MNB reader wrote:

I was saddened to see that the site that Market Basket set up was not following the Accessibility Guidelines per W3C (WCAG 2.0). I am not from the Boston area nor have I ever been in one of their stores. However, with the opportunity to start from scratch, creating an experience that is inclusive for those using Assistive technologies would be a critical deliverable. As you probably know Winn-Dixie lost their litigation trying to state that the online experience is exempt from the same Accessibility rules as their stores. Hopefully they will address it soon so all their customers can use the new site.
KC's View: