Discounter Aldi Süd is adding another service to its offer in Germany. From 26 June, selected bulky non-food goods can be ordered to be delivered direct to customers’ homes after being paid for in the Aldi Süd stores. Due to the size of the items, the products will not be available to take home from the store.
Following payment by cash, debit or credit card, a 16-digit pin will be generated that then needs to be inputted on Aldi-liefert.de (“Aldi delivers”). The purchaser will then be contacted by a forwarding agent within the next three days to arrange a shipping date. Shipping is also possible in Aldi Nord territory. The first product offered for delivery is a large-screen Medion TV set.
So, Aldi in Germany finally ventures into e-commerce? Oh no, not that fast. Mandatory instore payment and three days response time for a haulier to arrange delivery of a client’s order – that’s not exactly what we call online shopping, is it? It is also not that much about gathering online and logistics experience. It’s surely no coincidence that it’s Aldi’s long-time partner for electronics, Medion, that is the first to trial the delivery service, since Medion is very experienced at shipping goods of whatever size to whichever destinations.
The service isn’t new: over in Austria, Aldi Süd’s Hofer is offering an oversized American-style Medion fridge from next week, via a service that works in a similar way but has been offered for several years, previously including items as large as saunas. Another Hofer service offers home delivery and installation for instore non-food products within a certain radius around the store. The Hofer-managed Aldi Suisse division in Switzerland goes one better as it even offers transport via aerial tramway for an additional charge of just CHF25 (EUR23). Imagine your new sauna wafting away to the Matterhorn (you won’t need the fridge up there in the glaciers)!
Jokes aside, of course this new service could be seen as laying the groundwork for a wider offer of bulky, more expensive non-food offers that could eventually extend to the likes of Lidl’s online shop or even Amazon’s. However, the fact that the offer in the Hofer countries has never seen such an extension; and given Aldi’s generally holistic approach when doing new things; makes it unlikely that this is what a bigger e-commerce solution would look like.
In any case, it gives Aldi the opportunity for a non-food range extension by offering bulkier and more expensive goods. Let’s also not forget that it is another new service element that creates public awareness and makes its offering more attractive in a market where it finds itself on the back foot. It is quite likely that Aldi Süd is secretly working on an e-commerce operation of its own kind – but in our view it is far less likely that this kind of non-food delivery service is a major part of that.