Aldi has made a success through challenging the traditional British supermarket with well-priced quality private label and provincially sourced products. By keeping things simple, and resisting the temptation to follow the Big 4 trend, it is now one of most disruptive grocery retailers in the country. The company decided in 2015 that the UK was a more mature market in which to test its online offering, rather than its home turf in Germany. Aldi.co.uk offers a clean website drawing attention to its fantastic wine selection and widely popular in Store Special buys. The focus on sustainable fresh produce, and its connection to Team GB, plays an important role in reassuring the British consumer of localisation. The range is however fairly poor and with delivery costs between £3-£4 there is no surprise that Aldi hasn’t attracted significant conversation in the digital world.
Notwithstanding Aldi’s success in UK grocery, the retailer is a real disappointment in terms of m-commerce. Although the in-app store locator works and there are links to its social media presence, there is a real lack of quality in layout or design. The deals are consistent with those in store but there is no way of leveraging the app to enhance the physical shopping experience. A loyalty scheme or some element of a digitally heightened promotional programme would drive customer traffic.
Overall the online move for Aldi shows a significant change in the retail landscape, where it is now legitimate for discounters to have an online offering. The idea of charging for all deliveries (a similar model to John Lewis) is a bold one, compared to Poundland, which only charge for deliveries under a certain value. The push on private label differentiates Aldi from its UK competitors, which have resorted to copying its tiered premium-to-value model and focus on quality over branding. Aldi’s low price points, combined with the benefits it has gained by being last-to-market in the ecommerce arena, could see the discounter being just as disruptive online as on the high street.