The Belgian launch of Lidl's Plus app has been a major success, but organisations representing the elderly now claim it discriminates against them.
In the first ten days after its Belgian launch, the Lidl Plus app has lured in almost 300,000 users. The new digital loyalty card entitles its users to benefits like digital coupons. However, these benefits are exclusive, meaning people who do not use the app, do not get the benefits. That annoys christian elderly association OKRA, who says its members are subjected to "a new form of social discrimination".
The organisation explains to Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen that especially the elderly are prone to be excluded: one in three people between 55 and 74 is thought never to have used the Internet. These people, a category that already feels socially excluded, is now also punished financially, the organisation claims.
UNIA, a government agency that promotes equal rights, says it has received a complaint about the app. Its director Els Keytsman compares this issue with banks who charge higher rates for non-digital accounts: "This may hurt certain vulnerable groups even more; a retailer could just offer the discounts to everyone."
The discounter says it chose a long-term digital solution: "We focus on big discounts in the stores first and foremost, along with the extra benefits in the app", spokesperson Isabelle Colbrant says. Lidl is not the first retailer in Belgium to adopt a similar scheme: Carrefour also has two digital-only offers each week.