Aldi has figured out how to give consumers what they didn't even know they wanted—and the "Big Four" can't keep upby Jessica Brown / February 22, 2018 / Leave a comment
When it comes to supermarkets, everyone hates the trollies, and we all feel our hungriest around the fresh bread aisle. Decades of carefully-honed strategy placed the sweets by the till and the vegetables by the entrance, and gave away free coffees and newspapers with loyalty schemes.
But recently, everything we thought we know about the psychology of the weekly shop has been upended, because one supermarket is challenging everything the industry thought to be true.
Brits, as it turns out, are far less enamoured by loyalty and choice than you might think, if a new Which? survey is anything to go by. Aldi passed Waitrose and M&S to the survey’s top spot.
While Aldi has a small share of the UK market, it has been growing steadily over the past few years. In the past 12 months alone, 76 new stores have opened in the UK and Ireland, and the retailer plans to open 70 more this year.
In the Which? survey, Aldi scored particularly highly on value for money—but it isn’t just value which sets it apart from the crowd. The supermarket is totally upending what bigger supermarkets have been doing for decades.
Despite being in fierce competition, the UK’s “big four”—Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s—all operate along similar lines. They offer endless choices stacked neatly on pristine, minimalist shelves: close to 40,000 products.
Aldi, on the other hand, offers roughly 1,750 items in its stores, slid onto shelves in “shelf-ready packaging.” And while the big four shower customers in BOGOFs, only eight per cent of Aldi’s products are on promotion at any given time.
Once the customer has navigated through all the choices and promotions in one of the big four, they’re rewarded for their custom with the quick flash of their loyalty card.
But while shoppers have been lured to Tesco since the birth of the Clubcard in 1995, Aldi doesn’t offer anything of the sort. Some experts argue that customers don’t actually care about loyalty.
Aldi has made it clear its eyes are on the long game—a game plan made easier because the retailer is a private company and doesn’t have to worry about pleasing shareholders—and it has consistently done things differently.
The Albrecht family opened a grocery store in the German town of Essen in 1913, and…