Even before COVID hit, online shopping was becoming more popular amongst time-poor and budget-driven consumers. And then the pandemic took over the world and grocery deliveries went through the roof.
Both Woolworths and Coles have been promoting their online shopping offerings, with Woolies nabbing 57.4 per cent of online grocery sales by the first quarter of 2020, according to figures released by Roy Morgan. Coles’ share of online shopping food sales is trailing behind at 26.1 per cent.
“Over the last three years, and particularly in the last 18 months, we’ve seen a really substantial increase in online [food] expenditure,” Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said.
IGA Online Shopping
Even IGA has dipped its toes into the online shopping environment and fast-tracked its online delivery platform.
“We were not really in [online] for IGA and the retailers weren’t that interested in it, but all of that changed at the beginning of the pandemic,” Mr Jeff Adams, CEO of IGA supermarkets’ supplier Metcash said. “And suddenly all the IGA operators became interested.”
What about Aldi?
But there is one major supermarket player that is totally silent when it comes to online shopping actions. While we would love our favourite Bao buns, Choceur chocolate bars or beef steaks delivered right to our door, Aldi is staying well away from the online world.
Just imagine being able to secure a Special Buy from the comfort of your couch? How amazing the world would be if you didn’t have to queue up for a TV deal or get elbowed out the way to grab a jar of Caviar face cream! Ah, we can only but dream.
Unfortunately, Aldi’s actions (or lack thereof) show that they are pretty adamant that they’re going to be sticking to the traditional way of shopping for the foreseeable future.
Point Of Difference
Professor Gary Mortimer, a retail expert from the Queensland University of Technology, spoke to Yahoo News Australia saying that Aldi has always prided itself on being different from its competitors.
He said that offering an online shopping option could lead to Aldi price hikes.
“There are costs involved in picking and packing and delivery, as well as setting up distribution centres,” Prof. Mortimer said.
Keep Prices Low
The Aldi model is built around cost savings. In many stores, you even have to pay to “hire” a trolley and there is certainly very minimal customer service, with shoppers having to speed-pack their own purchases.
Since supermarket online shopping, in reality, only represents about five per cent of the grocery retail market, it’s probably not worth the expensive outlay for Aldi to set up a delivery infrastructure.
“If Aldi were to go online it would literally be starting from scratch. While they do have the money to do that, it’s never been part of their model.” Prof Mortimer said.
Special Buys Online?
The professor did suggest that the discount retailer could consider offering their Special Buys online.
“That rocking chair or ski gloves could be sold online and that merchandise could be sent out using a third party like Australia Post or Toll. Distributing and moving food however is more challenging because they are perishables.”
Ah, how awesome would that be!
It May Not Be Too Far Off!
But while Aldi online shopping in Australia seems a far-off fantasy at the moment, on the other side of the world, Aldi is trialing an online shopping pilot program across 15 stores in the UK.
“We have to make sure that whatever we do fits with our low-cost model,” Giles Hurley, head of ALDI’s operations in the U.K. and Ireland, told the Financial Times. “That is absolutely critical.”
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