Aldi checkout scanner

Source: Aldi

Aldi said the devices were for electronic gift cards, not loyalty

Aldi has insisted it still has no plans to launch a loyalty app, after scanners were spotted at its checkouts identical to those used by Lidl for its rewards scheme.

Lidl Plus users scan the app at checkout to claim exclusive discounts and personalised rewards. The app has been credited by Kantar with helping fuel Lidl’s sales success, at the same time Aldi’s growth rate has shrunk dramatically.

A version of a rewards scheme from Aldi is widely anticipated, and the same hardware, used to scan QR codes in an app on a mobile phone, has been seen at its checkouts in the UK.

However, the discounter was adamant the devices had nothing to do with loyalty and were instead for electronic gift cards, though the scanners are in only some of its stores.

New Kantar data this week had Lidl as the fastest-growing bricks & mortar grocer for the 10th month in a row, with sales up 8.1% year on year in the 12 weeks to 9 June, and its market share up from 7.7% to 8.1%.

Meanwhile, Aldi’s growth was stalling at 0.8%, having slowed steadily since September 2023, when it was 17.1% up year on year. Aldi’s market share is also down year on year for the fourth month in row, from 10.2% to 10% in the latest set of Kantar data.

Read more: Aldi playing whack-a-mole with Tesco’s price matches

Marc Houppermans, executive partner at Düsseldorf-based Discount Retail Consulting and a former Aldi Netherlands board member, said Aldi was working on an answer to Lidl’s app at international level but “will do it differently as many Lidl customers complain that they do not get the same discounts if they do not have the app”.

Houppermans pointed to a current promotion by Aldi in Germany – where it has also maintained no loyalty scheme is planned – as a clue.

The promotion, which launched on 14 June to tie in with the Euros, offers shoppers a €5 discount voucher when spending €40 or more. It is a rerun of previous coupon promotions but Aldi is now also “working at the same time on an app system”, according to Houppermans.

Lidl Plus launched in the UK in 2020 and is used by 38% of shoppers [Nielsen Homescan November 2023].

Along with its bakeries – which Aldi also lacks – the app was fuelling Lidl’s growth to record-high market share, Kantar said in May.