Aldi has become much more promotional lately. This surprised me, since their value is clearly evident in their everyday shelf prices, which typically run a third less than comparable items in non-discount stores.
So far, I’ve been watching them:
• Run their own version of a weekly circular, complete with temporary price reductions and every-Wednesday meat deals.
• Drop two coupons for $5 off a $30 purchase via direct mail and newspaper inserts in Minnesota — one before Thanksgiving and the other mid-December.
• Offer seasonal items that deliver the delight of discovery much like Costco or even Trader Joe's.
• Issue a photo-filled holiday catalog featuring recipes from a variety of chefs in the Aldi Test Kitchens.
• Conduct a test for accepting all major credit cards at stores in Minnesota and the Sycracuse, N.Y., area. Aldi started accepting credit cards in the UK in October 2014.
So what’s happening here that would be of interest to other food retailers? It looks like promoted prices are now part of Aldi’s effort to expand their assortment by offering a number of products that are “ins and outs.” In the circular, there’s a qualification that says ad prices apply for that week and “while supplies last.” Also, they have a number of the new items are explicitly labeled seasonal; for example, the holiday circular introduced more than a dozen “winter seasonal products,” and there were many more winter seasonal items in the store.
These merchandising tactics continue to increase Aldi’s appeal and no doubt its average ticket size. My guess is that the $5 coupon earns its keep by getting new and existing shoppers try more of their products.
Retailers need to start getting into Aldi stores and regularly check their website, promotions and mobile app too. It’ll become even more important to understand and appreciate all of the ways Aldi is delivering against their tagline “Simply Smarter Shopping.”