UK: How Aldi becomes an online retailer

Discount Retail Chain Aldi UK (privately owned) is currently testing several ways of selling groceries online.

In Great Britain, Aldi (Süd) is currently testing several ways of selling groceries online. One of them is the cooperation with the restaurant food delivery service Deliveroo (see Aldi’s new online grocery expansion will battle for “pole position”), which has been delivering products for cooperation partners to its customers for a long time.

"Slightly higher prices" than in the store

In Ireland, Aldi and Deliveroo have just announced that they will deliver online purchases with no delivery costs. The campaign is (initially) limited in terms of location and time: Until February 11, customers who live in the vicinity of a participating Aldi store in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick can enjoy it.

The Aldi-Blitz purchase, which should be delivered within 30 minutes, is ordered via the Deliveroo app - at "slightly higher prices" than in the store, as the retail chain informs online, "to cover the additional costs".

After all, the products have to be picked and made available for collection in the store by the already manageable staff, exactly the opposite, in other words, for which the discount was originally founded.

A quarter of all UK markets offer pick-up services

In addition, there is a minimum order value of 25 euros (US$30). Their are a lot of rules that on the one hand aim to reduce the complexity of order purchases and probably don't even give customers the idea of ​​letting Deliveroo courier drivers drive through the city with huge shopping carts. (Especially while the shelves of some retail chains remain empty due to Brexit.)

Aldi has its own pick-up service (Click & Collect) in England, Wales and Scotland to handle larger online purchases. It was first tested last September (see Aldi click and collect service trialled for first time) and has now been expanded to around 220 stores. This corresponds to almost a quarter of the 900 stores that Aldi has in Great Britain. And it demonstrates the remarkable speed at which the discounter can roll out a new concept if it believes that it could be necessary to continue its growth story in the UK market.

Simply shop online

The website is also discounted through and through and limited to the bare minimum. But that's very pleasant: After a one-time registration, the user looks for: the store of choice, then shopping can begin immediately. With a simple seven-day overview was shown with one-hour pick-up windows covering the entire day.

Mornings and evenings seem to be particularly popular, with the afternoons being the least busy. You can even have your shopping brought directly to your car in the parking lot on Sunday mornings, where parking bays are specially marked for Click & Collect customers. Cost: 4.99 pounds (around US$6).

If you want to practice the strictest social distancing, you can even get the bags directly in the trunk if you wish, explains the discount chain. This is an amazing service, especially when you get to the point like the British free newspaper "City A.M.", which reminds its readership of the actual core concept of the discount pioneer: "Aldi offers an offline supermarket experience."

The market forces Aldi to act

The fact that there is now a little bit more online, happens almost under duress. For a long time, Aldi forced the traditional British supermarket chains to offer their customers high-quality own private label brands at better prices in order to be able to keep up with the challenger from Germany. Corona has ensured that it is now the other way around: While established retail chains benefit from having built up their own online business for the delivery of food over the years, Aldi suddenly saw itself forced to act in order not to lose customers.

Competitor Tesco reported an "unprecedented demand" in the food delivery market in the past few days. Over the Christmas season alone, seven million deliveries with 400 million products were made. In the previous quarter and over Christmas into January, sales in the online channel (including Click & Collect) rose by 80 percent to one billion pounds compared to the same period last year. Tesco new CEO promised: "We're in great shape to keep delivering in 2021 and beyond."

Competitor Sainsbury’s posted an increase of 128% for its delivery service; 18% of sales over Christmas were achieved with online orders (in the same period last year it was 7%). In the 10 days before the festival, twice as many deliveries were made as in 2019.

Aldi delivers

Even the most aggressive discounter can no longer simply ignore this. In a YouGov survey of Aldi-affine customers, 68% said that shopping online would make their lives easier.

And indeed: The Click & Collect initiative seems to be working. For the four weeks before Christmas, Aldi UK recently reported an increase in sales of 10.6%, to which the new pick-up service also played its part, according to the British trade magazine “Grocer” .

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