Like a “treasure hunt”: It’s one way to describe the fun of shopping at Costco and Trader Joe’s. But another retailer, who just might surprise you, has joined the party — Aldi.
Over the more than 30 years I’ve been a student (and often customer) of Aldi, the efficiency of high inventory turns and labor saving handling of a small number of SKUs, i.e. under 1,500, allowed this hard discounter to generate strong return on assets, enough to fund much of the growth of the chain here in the U.S. — an impressive feat.
So over the last year or two, I watched Aldi begin to introduce more new products and, in the process, reduce some of its efficiencies. This made we wonder if they may have lost their way. It’s now clear, however, that they knew exactly what they were doing: balancing enough unique new items to attract shoppers with the treasure hunt thrill as well as very low prices.
Here’s a sneak peak at the three of the new items that prompted unplanned purchases on our last trip to Aldi:
- Frozen pumpkin spice waffles
- Apple cinnamon flavored pizzalle (Italian waffle cookies)
- Speculoos spice cookies (a product of Germany)
Interestingly enough, some or all of these items might have been available in the 50,000-square-foot supermarket we visited after Aldi, but if they were, we never saw them.
The shopping experience
Most customers like discovering and/or experiencing new products, but how do you make this easier to do in a busy supermarket or other type of food store? Who else do you see doing a good job of tapping into this positive element of shopping experience?