Offering discounts through mobile applications is becoming increasingly popular among supermarkets, with Lidl and Albert adopting the strategy in the Czech Republic. However, the move has been met with mixed reactions, particularly from customers without smartphones who cannot benefit from the discounts. Lidl and Albert do not issue traditional plastic cards, which other supermarkets offer to customers who do not have mobile applications.
Lidl and Albert offer special discounts to customers with their respective mobile applications, but the discounts vary. Albert offers different prices for discounted items to customers with the app, while Lidl only provides discounts on specific products. Discounts on things such as juice, toilet paper, and watermelon can be significant, making it appealing for customers with the app.
Some customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the practice, with some even calling it discriminatory against those without smartphones. Lidl and Albert have defended their decision, saying that they cater to most of the population, with over 70% of Czechs using smartphones. They also claim that the use of the app aligns with their environmental goals of reducing waste from plastic cards and printed receipts.
Despite their justifications, some customers without smartphones may feel left out, particularly if they cannot benefit from other discounts and promotions supermarkets offer in the case of an older woman who was unhappy with the final price on her receipt. She had no smartphone and was unwilling to buy one just for shopping. Such customers may opt for other shopping options that offer discounts in ways that they can access.
While offering discounts through mobile applications is a smart business move that aligns with environmental goals, supermarkets should consider alternative options for customers who do not have smartphones. The practice should not disadvantage customers who do not have access to or are unwilling to use the technology. Traditional plastic cards or discount options could help supermarkets cater to a broader customer base.