Layout, product and a ‘give it a go’ mentality underpin Lidl’s UK success.
Stollen? Marzipan log? Gingerbread house?
It’s Christmas, or at least it is as far as Lidl is concerned, and that means a Santa’s sack-full of German festive goodies.
Long before December 25th, the chances are good that anybody frequenting the not-so-hard discounter will have yielded to temptation and exited bearing lebkuchen.
While Lidl may have softened its no-nonsense attitude to store design, leaving Aldi in its wake, for the most part this is still a store where piling it high and selling it cheap is what it’s all about.
Yet we still find our way to the festive area and pick up a treat or two en route to the general merchandise aisle as we try to work out whether there’s anything we really can’t do without this week.
A softened offer
Lidl has actually done much to make itself more acceptable to those of a sensitive shopping nature, with wicker baskets for the baked-in-store bread and pastries, and signage that no longer looks as if it were written that morning by someone semi-literate.
“Lidl has actually done much to make itself more acceptable to those of a sensitive shopping nature”
Instead, it has paid attention to making shopping a Lidl store something that can be done at less than a gallop.
It is still a discounter and it’s the products that do the talking.
The layout is very functional and if you’re interested in visual merchandising vignettes, you’d probably best look elsewhere.
Frightening the big four
But it still looks and feels better than, say, Asda.
Head into Asda at the moment and many of the things that characterised discounters as they used to be are apparent.
“Shopping in Lidl remains an adventure – there are many things that are just plain unfamiliar”
The signage doesn’t just inform, it bawls – to the point when there is so much visual ‘noise’ that it runs the very real risk of being ignored.
Then there are the products. Shopping in Lidl remains an adventure – there are many things that are just plain unfamiliar and being forced to adopt a ‘give it a go’ attitude may form part of the experience.
In Asda, by contrast, there remains a sense of pleasing the lowest common denominator which is, ultimately, a little dull.
Putting the two side-by-side, whether it’s product or a determination not to look cheap (even if it is), Lidl comes out on top.
The ‘big four’ have every reason to continue looking over their shoulders with trepidation.