ALDI’s online shopping plan, new stores and ski sale
Exclusive: Bargain supermarket chain ALDI will be moving into online sales of its popular Special Buys and alcohol in the future.
Chief executive officer Tom Daunt told News Corp the company would start with putting these items online before adding groceries.
"Online in grocery is something we have been watching very closely for a long time, it is still a small part of the industry today but it is growing," he said.
"COVID has obviously accelerated it, but I have no question that ALDI's future in Australia will include eCommerce.
"We are likely to start with something more exciting like wine or Special Buys online before we would entertain a full grocery offer."
The news comes as ALDI celebrates its 20th year in Australia where some of its biggest sellers have been simple everyday items.
"We've sold 62 million books, 24 million socks and seven million tea towels, and I chuckled when I heard we sold 42,000 unicycles," Mr Daunt said.
"Our Special Buys allow us to participate in every category you could imagine across the retail market.
"We just scout around and offer real value for things that people are already buying. The second part of what we do is we innovate … such as the sleeping bag onesies we invented."
Mr Daunt confirmed the supermarket's annual ski sale is back this year, and will arrive in stores in the second half of May.
"We had a little bit of a riot last year when we withdrew it, but I think we did so on very understandable circumstances," he said.
"At the time things were extremely uncertain, this year there is far more certainty even if our international borders remain closed. But it will be back and bigger than ever."
New data from PwC estimates ALDI has contributed a total of $30.2 billion to the Australian economy with new and upgraded stores, local business partnerships and jobs.
It also found it had produced $2.4 billion in savings a year for shoppers.
Mr Daunt said they have 20 more stores opening this year with some already listed for NSW, Victoria, South Australia and WA.
"We let the customers decide where the stores are growing, we will bring more stores as they demand," he added.
Roy Morgan data states ALDI holds a 12.4 per cent share of the grocery market, but Woolworths (32.9 per cent) and Coles (26.5 per cent) still dominate.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Retail Trade Survey found online sales rose for food (4.8 per cent), and non-food (0.3 per cent), month-on-month in January this year.
Mr Daunt also said the future experience of shopping at ALDI may change as their ability to tailor their service changes.
"While it's not a huge focus … I wouldn't discount that but it's a little bit like e-commerce, it's something we are watching very closely and I'm sure we will be able to further improve in the future," he said.
Professor Gary Mortimer, retail expert from Queensland University of Technology told News Corp it was a smart move to start with selling general merchandise online.
"There's less perishability when you can move outdoor furniture or a ukulele around Australia," he said.
"But once you go online you become the same as Catch, Amazon, Kmart online, and you lose a point of differentiation, and ALDI has positioned itself as selling quality special buy goods in store."
NEW ALDI STORES COMING IN 2021:
Inglewood (opened Feb 2021)
Originally published as ALDI's online shopping plan, new stores and ski sale