The central driving force for Aldi is clear: cut costs and be efficient, so that the prices charged to customers are as low as possible. It’s the reason for its reliance on private-label options, as well as its refusal to provide bags to shoppers. This consistent, well-established image is part of why so many people were surprised to read that Aldi would soon be offering home delivery services—an expensive offering that seems more in line with high-end retailers rather than discount grocers.
But Aldi also believes that it needs to address customers’ needs, and today’s shoppers need convenience. The home delivery service proved popular in early, limited tests, leading the grocery to expand its availability to approximately 75 markets in 35 states throughout the United States. For this nationwide rollout, it is partnering with Instacart, so that it can leverage that company’s existing online ordering capabilities and logistics knowledge.
Such moves—it is also testing curbside pickup services in some other markets—also reflect Aldi’s goal for the future, which is to become the third largest grocer (counted by number of stores) by the end of 2022. To do so, it needs to add to its 1,800 existing locations and reach a total of 2,500 stores. These stores likely will look at little different too. Aldi plans to expand its organic, fresh foods, and ready-to-eat offerings by 40 percent. Can bags be far behind?
1. Are these changes appropriate responses to consumer demand, or are they risky moves that might disrupt what has made Aldi successful thus far?
2. What services do you demand to get you to shop at a particular grocer?
Source: George Anderson, “Are Aldi’s Customers Who You Think They Are?” Retail Wire, September 19, 2018