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Global Grocery Discounter E-commerce Strategies

March 2019

As competition between grocers has intensified, discounters have increasingly turned to value-added strategies, including e-commerce. This report explores why e-commerce is a promising expansionary strategy for grocery discounters, details the e-commerce strategies of some of the world’s leading discounters including Aldi, Lidl, Walmart, Dia, and Rewe, and offers a specific framework with specially selected data to analyse grocery markets and discounter prospects in any country.

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Key Findings

The search for growth means discounters have invested more online than might be expected

Discounters are conservative, even by retail’s typically slow-moving standards. They have historically shunned rapid expansion in favour of step-by-step improvement of their fundamentals. A few of the largest discounters have dabbled in omnichannel investment for over a decade, but serious money started to flow into these programmes in 2015.

Digital services (in-store and out) are an attempt to expand the customer base

Discounters have been concentrating on their fundamental offer for so long that they have run out of room for growth in some countries. In order to continue to expand, they are seeking ways to find new customers and encourage existing customers to spend more. As e-commerce is the fastest growing area of retail, they are focusing on online retailing in order to achieve growth.

Common themes include a focus on mobile solutions, cross-border infrastructure and building new communities

There are significant differences by retailer and country, but common themes emerge. Mobile is a focus for everyone, particularly in less developed markets. Cross-border is also important, reflected in the search for international partners in China and well-placed infrastructure investment in Europe. An emphasis on community is common, with retailers recognising the struggles of local women, the elderly and working class consumers, and trying to provide a forum for discovery and discussion amongst them.

Discounters are sticking to their playbook

While discounters have adopted new tactics, many stem from the same strategy. Investment in assets that are low cost, like a basic mobile app, or experiments that are high margin, like home delivery of alcoholic drinks, indicate that discounters are approaching e-commerce with their conservative mindset. 

Introduction

Scope
Why read this report?
Key findings

Why Discounters are Exploring E-commerce

Discounters, like all companies, are looking for growth
There are two main paths to growth
Omnichannel perks are the new frontier in value-added expansion
Pros and cons of e-commerce for discounters

E-commerce Strategy by Discounter

Key themes in current discounter e-commerce strategies
Aldi: digital strategy overview
Aldi: digital strategy breakdown (1)
Aldi: digital strategy breakdown (2)
Aldi: digital strategy breakdown (3)
Lidl : digital strategy overview
Lidl: digital strategy breakdown (1)
Lidl : digital strategy breakdown (2)
Lidl : digital strategy breakdown (3)
Rewe Group: digital strategy overview
Rewe Group: digital strategy breakdown
Rema 1000: digital strategy overview
Rema 1000: digital strategy breakdown (1)
Rema 1000: digital strategy breakdown (2)
Biedronka: digital strategy overview
Biedronka : digital strategy breakdown
Walmart Inc : digital strategy overview
Walmart Inc : digital strategy breakdown (1)
Walmart Inc : digital strategy breakdown (2)
Dia: digital strategy overview
Dia : digital strategy breakdown (1)
Dia: digital strategy breakdown (2)
Dia : digital strategy breakdown (3)

Making These Data Actionable

Market conditions should shape grocers’ primary digital strategies
Applying a data-based framework to localise your strategy
Using data to analyse how comfortable locals are with e-commerce
Layering competitive insights into local internet data
Using data to analyse delivery preferences
Layering competitive insights into local population data
Using data to analyse grocery store preferences
Layering competitive insights into local grocery store data
Layering the framework for even more complexity

Appendix 1: Market Evaluation for E-commerce

What this appendix is for
Appendix: discounter landscapes (A-C)
Appendix: discounter landscapes (D-M)
Appendix: discounter landscapes (N-U)

Appendix 2: Discounter Details by Country

What this appendix is for
Appendix: discounters’ online presence (A-B)
Appendix: discounters’ online presence (C-D)
Appendix: discounters’ online presence (D-G)
Appendix: discounters’ online presence (G-P)
Appendix: discounters’ online presence (P-S)
Appendix : discounters’ online presence (T-U)
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