photo: getty images (upungato)
Aldi Renovations Coming in 2017
Discount grocer, Aldi, is known in the shopping world for its limited selection and unique business model. The German supermarket chain stays true to its European roots and requires shoppers to bring their own bags and package their own purchases. It also has traditionally presented its products in the most efficient way by keeping them in shipping containers, and it has kept stores purposely small.
However, this cult-favorite store plans to change a lot in 2017, thanks in part to a $1.6 billion initiative. Perhaps not-so-coincidently, those changes come at the same time as another flash point in the American supermarket experience. After spending years in the planning stages, another German grocer and rival, Lidl, will finally enter the U.S. market later this year. Lidl’s appearance in the American market promises increased competition from a company with many of the same business strategies as Aldi. As a result, Aldi is ready to remake its name ahead of Lidl’s arrival and its loyal shoppers are the direct beneficiaries.
What You Can Buy at Aldi Is Changing
The first step of the $1.6 billion investment from Aldi is already underway. While the chain traditionally focused on the limited inventory and efficiency standards of European grocers, the changing demands of the U.S. market has impacted what’s in Aldi’s aisles. Over the past few years, they have introduced a number of new private labels designed to meet those needs. These brands include:
- Elevation by Mellville – a new selection of energy bars, protein powder, and other health-related products
- liveGfree – a line of gluten-free foods
- Little Journey – an new brand of premium baby products
- SimplyNature – the now well-known list of organic and pure-product options, including a kids’ sub-label
One of the focus points of the new Aldi experience is highlighting these products for shoppers. By making its enhanced private labels more visible and easy to access, Aldi directly responds to consumers’ demands for healthier, higher-quality product lines.
In addition to these brands, Aldi also plans to expand its fresh offerings. This expansion include produce, meat, and baked goods. By adding more perishable selections to their aisles, Aldi hopes to increase traffic to their stores. Many shoppers go to the supermarket several times per week to purchase these perishable items. By increasing those offerings, Aldi invites more frequent visits.
A New Look and Experience
In order to fulfill the promise of its new and expanded brands and fresh products, Aldi plans to renew the look of its existing stores. They will start by brightening the aisles with more natural light, expanding space between products, and changing display cases. With these changes, each product is highlighted in a more friendly, open fashion. In addition, Aldi plans to renovate some 1,300 of its existing stores making their space bigger by 2,000-3,000 square feet. This would make the average Aldi 12,000 square feet and make those aforementioned renovations possible.
Some already-renovated stores preview the changes shoppers can expect. This includes an increased number of refrigeration cases and more attractive fresh foods displays. These changes all go hand-in-hand with the expansion and renewed focus of those products highlighted above.
These physical changes to Aldi’s stores also address many shoppers’ criticisms of the chain. The dim atmosphere, narrow aisles, and do-it-yourself model of Aldi turned off buyers looking for a more modern supermarket experience. By changing the literal look of its items, without altering the items themselves, Aldi invites new customers to give it another try – and hopes they will return.
An Ambitious Plan for Expansion
The final piece of this multi-billion-dollar puzzle for Aldi is widening its reach in the U.S. market. Currently, Aldi operates around 1,600 stores nationwide. However, it plans to expand that number to over 2,000 by the end of 2018. This represents a commitment of another $3 billion.
Like its other changes, the expansion of the already-prolific number of Aldi locations is in direct response to the emergence of a new European-based competitor on the market (Lidl). As a result, Aldi is anxious to set its roots into the communities it serves. It wants to make going to its stores even more convenient for shoppers. This plays into their new role as a fresh grocer and highlights their commitment to the American shopping experience.
Getting the Most Out of Your Aldi Shopping Experience
With Aldi set to change its look and appeal drastically over the next couple of years, devotees of the chain should be prepared. Between renovations and increased traffic to stores, shopping at Aldi will not be the same. It is still possible, however, to get the most out of the experience by taking advantage of its private labels and limited SKUs and the price advantage that comes with them.
Through planning and price comparison, shopping at Aldi may change in experience, but won’t change in value.
New to Aldi?
Check out Cindy’s video on How to Shop at Aldi