Aldi Süd is testing Amazon lockers in the car parks of several of its stores around Augsburg, Germany, Supermarkt.Blog reports. Confirming the report, the discounter has said that it is as yet unsure how many lockers will be installed going forward.
All of the lockers are located within easy reach of Aldi Süd’s regional distribution centre in Kleinaitingen, just a few kilometres away from Amazon’s new parcel distribution centre in Olching, near Munich.
The news follows reports of Amazon lockers being placed at four Edeka stores in Berlin as a pilot. Only last week, Amazon launched its Amazon Fresh home delivery service for groceries in Germany, also in Berlin.
Amazon keeps growing relentlessly, globally – and the entire industry has been waiting anxiously for it to kick-start in the grocery arena. But what is Aldi doing? Aldi seems to be inviting its enemy in by installing Amazon lockers in its car parks.
Is that right? Well, if Aldi (and Edeka) hadn’t done it, then Lidl (and Rewe) would have. Too often in recent years, Aldi has left new ideas to its rivals. With the discounters on the way to being a full-service shopping destination, pick-up lockers are a plausible addition.
The overlaps with Amazon’s range are minimal for the discounter, especially as these lockers are not suitable for chilled or frozen goods. With regards to non-food, one could even argue that the vast Amazon ranges could serve as an extension of Aldi’s weekly non-food promotions. What people don’t find at Aldi, they can order via Amazon. After all, the discounters’ non-food promotions were originally conceived to attract shoppers regularly; and more frequently.
Obviously, it is about footfall. Aldi is eagerly looking to find ways to make shoppers come back to its stores, even if it is just a by-product of Amazon customers picking up their orders. This approach is not new. For years Aldi, both Süd and Nord, have been offering DHL parcel pick-up stations in many of their car parks – so arguably Amazon lockers are just the latest iteration of this. Surely it puts the often-spacious car parks to good use. Another example of this is in Austria and Slovenia, where Aldi Süd’s Hofer has sub-let its premises to Diskont petrol stations, which are run by an external partner.
However, unlike DHL, Amazon is a retailer itself. So, is Aldi feeding a rival? Oh yes – but in this regard, Amazon is simply taking the role of an anchor tenant, or more precisely, Amazon is the new partner in the winning combination of a full-range retailer and a limited-assortment discounter.
Now that the discounters are evolving towards one-stop shops – and supermarkets (explicitly Rewe) have officially broken up the symbiotic togetherness of supermarket and discount store – Amazon could become the new complementary e-commerce partner to lure shoppers. In other words: when Rewe says goodbye to Aldi, Aldi says hello to Amazon.