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Lidl testing its first loyalty scheme

| International retailers

Lidl is reported to be testing a new promotion-based loyalty scheme in its stores in Scotland as its looks to fight-off attempts by the supermarket multiples to regain lost ground. .

According to The Guardian, four million ‘smarter shopping” cards were made available to shoppers in Scotland last week, distributed by direct mail, through newspapers and via the discounter’s 90 stores in the region. However, unlike traditional loyalty cards, shoppers do not have to register their details to participate in Lidl’s scheme. Instead, the scheme will enable shoppers to participate in a range of promotions planned by Lidl over the next 10 weeks, starting with a promise of £5 off if cardholders spend at least £25 in store over the next 14 days.

Lidl told the newspaper that the smarter shopping card was not a loyalty card but a “an innovative way” to reward its existing customer base and encourage new customers to do their main weekly shop with the discounter.

However, one industry analyst told The Guardian that the scheme reflected a market that was becoming even more competitive. Andrew Stevens, a retail analyst at Verdict, said Lidl’s move was a sign of tougher times for the discounters now that the major supermarket chains had invested heavily in cutting prices. He said consumers were likely to feel less inclined to shop around for bargains now that they had more disposable income.

“[The retailers] are under quite a lot more pressure than they have been,” he said. “Previously they had to just sit there but now they have to try harder to win shoppers over.”

Whilst Lidl said there were no plans to extend the scheme outside Scotland or beyond the 10-week trial, it hinted that it could be rolled out to other stores once it had evaluated its success.

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