A trend within the convenience sector that many industry experts have hinted towards is the change in store formats, and Lidl is no exception.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this would take a rather long time to implement; however, Lidl have already given us a glimpse of plans for their Dublin outlets.
Consumer habits have been changing rapidly over the last few years, with convenience shopping becoming more desirable than ever.
These changes in consumer behaviours have meant that bigger brands and supermarkets have had to become creative with store formats.
Lidl have taken this opportunity to try and revamp some of their stores to a more in line way of shopper’s in-and-out attitude to convenience shopping.
Deirdre Ryan, acting head of communications and CSR for Lidl Ireland stated to Ireland’s Forecourt and Convenience Retailer that:
“At Lidl Ireland, we have a number of store formats to suit the locality in which the store being built. Our newest store format boasts a modern architectural design and spacious interior layouts including wider aisles and additional tills for an enhanced customer shopping experience.”
Deirdre also spoke about the new store format also incorporating a range of strategies to reduce environmental impact. One instance of this change is seen by the fact it is powered by green electricity and is certified to ISO50001 energy efficiency standards.
Lidl Ireland recently announced its commitment to the introduction of electric vehicle charging points to all new stores and across all major store refurbishment projects.
This announcement means that Lidl will provide the largest network of electric vehicle chargers in the Irish supermarket sector, enabling customers to charge their electric vehicles free of charge whilst they shop.
Lidl also plans to add more than 40 additional shops to its network in the Republic within the next five to seven years, but it is not currently considering convenience store formats for Dublin city, according to its property director Alan Barry.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Barry stated that: “At the minute our ambition is to have 200 stores [in the Republic] but hopefully by the time we get to 200 our ambitions will have grown even larger.”
Stats show that people throughout Ireland 1.5 million people in Ireland visit Lidl each week, spending on average between €20 and €30. This rather large chunk of the market share for convenience shopping in the country didn’t go unnoticed by the retailer.
Barry continued commenting on the fact it was vital that Lidl does not try to increase our market share to such a point that we reduce our efficiencies and we can’t offer the best price for our customers.
Lidl also stated that it will be adding other commercial units and residential accommodation on some of its sites, in response to demands from local authorities.
On its 436-unit student accommodation in Ballymun, Barry said it would “build and develop” the site and then “sell to a user at the end”.
It is clear to see, Lidl are adapting to the changing conditions that consumers have demanded. Much in the same way we have seen developments in the USA over the last three or four years, we could see the start of developments in Ireland from this point on.
The second that consumers feel comfortable with the changes in both format and technology is the same second that they will start to change their shopping habits.