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Do supermarket apps really help you save?

Almost all supermarket chains are trying to increase customer loyalty with coupons and smartphone apps. But is digital bargain hunting actually worth it?

Lidl, Edeka, Rewe, Penny, Kaufland or Netto: Almost all of them offer coupons and discounts via app and have a real bargain battle week after week. The supermarket and discounter apps have already been downloaded more than 20 million times. Retailers try to retain their customers in the long term with exclusive discounts. Will this plan work?

Questionable customer loyalty

Not quite, says price expert Sven Reuter from the price comparison portal smhaggle, who examined exactly that in a recent study. According to this, only 19 percent of all consumers remain loyal to their retailer, more than 80 percent make new decisions week after week and go for the best offer. You don’t just have one app on your smartphone, but at least two or three.

This shows that the apps didn’t really work well as customer loyalty programs, says Reuter. “We found that the users are the consumers who particularly look for offers and also buy from competitors.” So exactly counterproductive when it comes to customer loyalty.

Sample in the weekly shop

Is bargain hunting worth it for app users? In a sample of the Mr-Market magazine mex At Edeka, Lidl and Rewe, an average weekly shop with fruit, vegetables, meat, butter, eggs, dairy products, detergent, sweets and drinks worth around 50 euros ended up in the shopping cart. Selecting suitable coupons with additional discounts is not that easy. At Lidl, out of 25 coupons available in the app, exactly five of them fit the shopping cart, at Rewe, four out of 20 coupons are activated, at Edeka there are three out of 22 possible.

Lidl has the highest savings rate, at 3.36 percent. At Rewe, the coupons saved around 2.3 percent in the sample, and at Edeka 1.3 percent. Sven Reuter conducted a larger study. He analyzed 100,000 receipts, calculated the savings through coupons as a percentage and came to similar results: at Netto the savings are the lowest at an average of 1.3 percent, at Lidl they are the highest at 3.1 percent.

Benefits for customers and dealers

You are guaranteed to save one percent on every purchase, says Reuter. That’s nice for customers, but what’s most important for retailers is that they ideally also buy products that aren’t currently on sale. That is the goal.

And where is Aldi in this game? For the discounter, customer loyalty via app hardly seems to play a role. At Aldi they rely on the simple presentation of the current offers, traditionally in the brochure. There is no additional savings potential. When asked, Aldi points out that as a price leader it already has the cheapest offers. In the end, customers have to calculate for themselves whether this is true.

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